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ERIC Number: EJ789805
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 18
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0889-4906
Convention and Inventiveness in an Occluded Academic Genre: A Case Study of Retention-Promotion-Tenure Reports
Hyon, Sunny
English for Specific Purposes, v27 n2 p175-192 2008
Among Swales' (1996) list of occluded academic genres, retention-promotion-tenure (RPT) evaluations have been little studied. These evaluative reports, however, can inform EAP researchers, teachers, and students about ways that writers both follow and transgress discourse conventions to fulfill various purposes through an institutional text. Drawing on a corpus of 34 RPT reports from one university context, this study examines report writers' use of "inventive" strategies, i.e., those that playfully deviate from RPT report conventions, and factors that may encourage inventiveness. Analysis of the reports reveals that writers' playful strategies include hyperbole, irony/humor, and informal language features. These elements may fulfill not only the reports' conventional function of evaluating faculty but also unofficial purposes such as entertaining and showing solidarity with readers. Inventiveness is used more frequently by some report writers than others, possibly due to their individual writing styles and/or greater familiarity with the evaluated faculty member. Writers also receive license to be playful through the "uptake" (Freadman, 2002) between different levels of reports in the university's RPT genre chain. The paper considers applications of these findings for EAP graduate writing classes.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A