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The Map and the Landscape

Norms and Practices in Genre


Paul Gillaerts and Philip Shaw

This volume explores the complex relations between norms and exemplars of genres from business and technical communication. Contributors compare a variety of types of norm with textual practices in a variety of ways. The genres examined are typical of the range of audiences and media of workplace and business communication: product withdrawal notices, press releases, job ads, oral presentations, sales letters and tenders, chairman’s reports, and technical reports. They are compared with norms set by teachers, by unimaginative practice, by more or less self-appointed experts, or by practitioners who may not share the national or professional culture of their colleagues. However accurate these may be they never do justice to the complexity of ‘reality’. The contributors to this volume use a wide variety of methods in their attempt to capture this reality. Many analyse texts, but all combine this procedure with at least one other approach and often more: questionnaires, experiments assessing the effect of manipulated texts, analysis of practitioner comments, and use of natural sources of practitioner judgements like awards for good practice.
Contents: Paul Gillaerts/Philip Shaw: Introduction: Genre and Norm – Paul Gillaerts: Direct Mail: Generic Integrity and Genre Norms – Birgitte Norlyk: Clashing Norms: Job Ads or Job Narratives – Elizabeth de Groot: The Genre Context of English Annual General Reports Published by Dutch and British Corporations – Frank van Meurs/Hubert Korzilius/Adriënne den Hollander: Testing the Effect of a Genre’s Form on its Target Group – Brigitte Planken/Dennis van Mierlo/Frank van Meurs: Testing the Effect of Genre Content – Dorien van de Mieroop: The Implications of Identity and Fact Construction for the Genre of Informative Speeches – Bas Andeweg/Jaap de Jong: Start with a Story: Theory versus Practice of the Anecdote as Speech Introduction Technique – Geert Jacobs: The Dos and Don’ts of Writing Press Releases (and how Learners Act upon them) – Richard Nordberg/Philip Shaw: Norms and Power in Learner Genres and Workplace Genres – Miguel F. Ruiz-Garrido: Conceptualising and Teaching Business Reports.