Tuesday, June 30, 2009

English for Specific Purposes


Reading :
Dudley-Evans, T., and St. John, M.J. (1998). Developments in English for Specific Purposes: A multy-disciplinary approach. Cambridge, England: ambridge University Press
Discourse Analysis of Business Letters Written by Iranians & Native Speaker. (ESP Journal)

Topic Discussion:
Defining what genre is and operationally identifying different types of Genre.

Assignment: Find written text/ abstract & research article/ acknowledgments for analysis and conduct genre analysis by partner.

Some notes of Discourse/Genre Analysis

A discourse community is a group of people who have texts and practices in common, whether it is a group of academics, or the readers of teenage magazines. In fact, discourse community can refer to the people the text is aimed at; it can be the people who read a text; or it can refer to the people who participate in a set of discourse practices both by reading and writing.

Essentially, genre is a term for grouping text together, representing how writers typically use language to respond to recurring situations.
Halliday’s (1994) Systemic Functional Linguist (SFL) model define genres grouping text which have similar formal features.Genres also seen as guiding frameworks.
Allison (1999) mention that a genre is understood to be a class of language use and communication that occurs in particular communities.

Genre theory seeks to explain the texts used by groups or communities by reference to the functions of those groups or communities and their outlook on the world. For example, typical functions of academic communities include dissemination of research findings, provision of description and explanation of phenomena. These functions lead to certain forms of communication including the conference presentation and the research report.

Whereas genre analysis had been concerned with categorizing text types in relation how they are formatted or according to surface level textual features.

At the core of genre-based ESP teaching has been a concern to identify the genres that students will use in the target situation and then help students to deconstruct them in order to understand how they are structured, how the structure relates to the objectives ( or communicative purposes) of the target group, what content the genres contain, and the linguistic devices and language use typical in them. Thus in ESP, if our students are a group of medical researchers, we try to establish which genres are important for them in their work ( such as articles reporting research, research proposals and grant applications) and then highlight the structures and features that typify those genres.

Genres are specific to the communities in which they arise. Each academic discipline, each workplace group and professional community serves a different function in society and thus their purposes vary, with resulting impact on the genres that arise in them. A research proposal in mathematics is different from a research proposal in history. A case study report in business is different from one in social work.

Melvina, M.Ed
Teachers’ Training and education Faculty
University of Lancang Kuning

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