Genre of Texts

Definition and Analysis Method

In order to carry out a quantitative analysis of the genres of the texts, I required a definition and a categorisation of media genres. Establishing a categorisation involved a strategy for identifying media genre types. In presenting genre as one of Barthes’ semiotic “codes” in Chap. 3, I characterised text genres as being identified through any or all of the following: common communicative purpose, structural regularities, stylistic regularities and similarities in content. I have yet to find a systematic taxonomy of media genres, and it is possible that none such is available. According to Chandler (1997: 1), “There are no undisputed ‘maps’ of the system of genres within any medium”, no one text displays all the features of a genre and there is considerable overlap between genres. I required a genre categorisation that was suitable for my purpose, that was pragmatic and workmanlike. The two principles I used for genre categorisation were that, where possible, the genres should be recognised in scholarly literature, and, secondly, that they should be on the same level as each other in a notional taxonomy. By this I mean that they are (relatively) mutually exclusive, and one is never subsumed by the other.

Following these principles of previous recognition as a genre, and single hierarchical level, and using Bhatia’s (1993) terminology, I used the categorisation shown in Fig. 6.1.

The central column, “genres”, provided the basis for the genre analysis shown in Table 6.2.

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