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Researching Discourse in Business Genres

Cases and Corpora


Edited By Sylvain Dieltjens, Paul Gillaerts, Priscilla Heynderickx, Geert Jacobs and Elizabeth de Groot

The contributions of this volume approach the genres of employee, CEO and organizational communication from different angles. They analyze how the author’s position in the company influences the construction of these genres, what content and linguistic style characterize them, and how the discourse of these genres is related to other resources. They look at linguistic and rhetorical strategies in a range of communicative settings: email correspondence among (male versus female) co-workers, collaborative writing of formats in the workplace, leadership messaging by the CEO, financial disclosures for (non-)financial audiences and expressions of the corporate philosophy. Two methodologies in particular are prominent in the genre-based chapters: corpus analyses and case studies.


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Section 1: Internal Discourse 13


Section 1: Internal Discourse PAUL GILLAERTS E-mail Use in a Belgian Company: Looking for the Hybridity of the Genre 1. Introduction In this chapter I shall investigate internal e-mail use of the com- munication department of the Belgian branch of a multinational engi- neering company operating in the industrial, energy and health care sectors1. The corpus covers 124 e-mails in total. They are all written in Dutch. 1.1. Three lines of approach and trends Within genre studies three lines of approach can be distinguished: one focusing on the characteristics, another on the structure and a third on the context. Focusing on e-mail research we see that most attention has been paid to the characteristics of e-mail (a.o. Ferrara et al. 1991; Uhlirova 1994; Horowitz/Barchilon 1994; Handler 1995; Gains 1999; Gimenez 2000; Frehner 2008; Cho 2010), especially at the intro- duction of the new internet medium. Much less attention has been given to the structure, except to the rather evident header information. But apparently, a move analysis is hard to find (Mulholland 1999; Gimenez 2005; Frehner 2008). This is an interesting point, since move analyses are widely seen as an inte- gral part of genre analysis. The relative absence of move analyses in 1 Due to the confidential character of e-mail communication, the name of the company is not revealed. I also want to thank Nadine Van den Eynden and her students for the e-mail corpus. 16 Paul Gillaerts research literature seems to point to a possible absence of moves in...

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