What are the structures of discourse and what are the functions of these structures in the communicative context? This volume explains how and why discourse is organized at various levels. The multidisciplinary contributions illustrate that discourse analysis goes far beyond the linguistic answer of designing grammars and goes hand in hand with the study of their uses and functions in the social context. Comprehensive and accessible, the volume covers a huge variety of discourse genres, including written and spoken, and storytelling and argumentation. The chapters also illustrate the necessity to examine the mental processes of the language users: How do people go about producing, understanding and remembering text or talk? The book stresses that both discourse and its mental processing have a social basis and can only be fully understood in relation to social interaction.
Chapter 9: Genres and Registers of Discourse
Genres and Registers of Discourse
Definition and Delimitation of Topic
This chapter introduces register and genre theory (R>), a label which can be applied to a range of linguistic approaches to discourse which seek to theorise how discourses, or texts,1 are like and unlike each other, and why. The kinds of questions R> ask can be outlined by comparing the following texts:
Although the term postmodern had been in cultural circulation since the 1870s, it is only in the 1960s that we see the beginnings of what is now understood as postmodernism. In the work of Susan Sontag and Leslie Fiedler we encounter the celebration of what Sontag calls a ‘new sensibility’, a new pluralism following the supposed collapse of the distinction ...