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Genre Variation in Business Letters

Second Printing


Paul Gillaerts and Maurizio Gotti

The focus of this volume is on the business letter genre, a seminal and widely used genre in business communication. Since the introduction of the Internet, interest in this genre has increased once again, because of the digital format of the letter. E-mail has partially taken over the multiple functions of the traditional business letter and bypassed, again partially, the fax. However, the letter has also survived in its written form.
Since the 1990s, genre theory has been receiving a lot of attention, both in academic and pedagogical circles. Discourse analysts have increasingly discovered the importance of the genre concept for the understanding of discourse. Not only do we get a better understanding of the linguistic characteristics (register, lexico-grammatical features) of texts, but we also become aware of their macrostructures which appear to be organised according to genre expectations and conventions rooted in the socio-cultural context. This evolution is also reflected in the different research approaches to the business letter, as shown by the various chapters of this volume.
Contents: Paul Gillaerts/Maurizio Gotti: Introduction – Vijay K. Bhatia: Interdiscursivity in Business Letters – Leena Louhiala-Salminen/Anne Kankaanranta: «Hello Monica, kindly change your arrangements»: Business Genres in a State of Flux – Hilkka Yli-Jokipii: An Integrated Analysis of Interactive Business Writing – Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini: In Memory of the Business Letter: Multimedia, Genres and Social Action in a Banking Website – Gabriella Del Lungo Camiciotti: «I perceive, my dear friend, by your letter of the 20th inst. that you are decided on entering upon the career of commerce»: Nineteenth-Century Business Correspondence – Poul Erik Flyvholm Jørgensen: The Dynamics of Business Letters: Defining Creative Variation in Established Genres – Giuliana Garzone: Letters to Shareholders and Chairman’s Statements: Textual Variability and Generic Integrity – Gina Poncini: Constructing an International Event in the Wine Industry: An Investigation of Emails in English and Italian – Julio C. Gimenez: Unpacking Business Emails: Message Embeddedness in International Business Email Communication – Philip Shaw: Purpose and Other Paradigmatic Similarities as Criteria for Genre Analysis: The Case of ‘419 Scam’ E-mails – Paul Gillaerts: A Sales Letter Post-tested: Implications for the Concept of Genre – Marina Bondi: People in Business: The Representation of Self and Multiple Identities in Business E-mails – Catherine Nickerson/Elizabeth De Groot: Dear Shareholder, Dear Stockholder, Dear Stakeholder: The Business Letter Genre in the Annual General Report – Yeonkwon Jung: The Rhetorical Structure of Korean Business Writing – Paul Gillaerts: A Bibliography on the Business Letter Genre.