'Managing expectations': Some reflections on a hybrid genre

Peter Mcdowell

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Paper published in Proceedingspeer-review


    Through a sociosemiotic analysis of two, brief, illustrative texts drawn from the discourse of professional English language teaching—one text being a private language school’s teacher recruitment advice, the other a governmental handbook’s statement on quality teaching—the paper presents the principal grammatical features of an important, hybrid genre that might be termed ‘managing expectations’.

    Formally manifesting itself as a hybrid of Report and Exposition, with hortation and analysis as variable rhetorical elements, this composite genre is shown to be both heteroglossic and tenor-oriented, with language users able to invoke noticeably different interpersonal resources to manipulate their respective audiences in comparable ways.

    Variability in the use of the interpersonal metafunction (demonstrated through register analysis) is then correlated with opposing ideological standpoints, ideology being an important but relatively underdeveloped model of context within the systemic functional linguistic approach to discourse analysis.

    The interrelationship between shared genre and the specific, tenor-based difference in register becomes enough to validate Martin’s early model of ideological crisis: in ‘managing expectations’, the governmental text is creating an issue to preserve its dominant power base, while the private language school’s text is resolving (or diffusing) an issue to enhance its emergent power base.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRefereed Proceedings
    Subtitle of host publicationApplied Linguistics Association Annual Conference 2012
    EditorsC Conlan
    Place of PublicationPerth, WA
    PublisherSchool of Education, Curtin University
    Number of pages27
    ISBN (Print)978-0-9874158-2-0
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    EventApplied Linguistics Association of Australia National Conference (ALAA 2012): Evolving Paradigms: Language and Applied Linguistics in a Changing World - Perth, WA, Perth, Australia
    Duration: 12 Nov 201214 Nov 2012
    Conference number: 2012


    ConferenceApplied Linguistics Association of Australia National Conference (ALAA 2012)
    Abbreviated titleALAA


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