New Applications of Genre Analysis to Technical Manuals

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In this study, a number of different approaches to genre analysis have been discussed, mainly those of Bhatia and Lassen, but considering also the pioneering contribution of John Swales. Both approaches offer important perspectives on the specific applications of genre models. Within this context, it is of particular relevance Inger Lassen’s developments on a genre analysis model for technical manuals and previous studies undertaken by Vijay Bhatia in the area of business and law. However, neither of the two may be statistically applied to all technical or specialized texts, due to the fact that specialized texts are continuously changing and evolving and, therefore, genre models must fit in these communicative changes. Consequently, it is suggested that genre models must be subject to flexibility during the process of text analysis, so that the communicative ideas that govern this type of discourse can be properly adapted. Lassen’s prototype has been applied to the sample technical manuals of a natural stone product, Silestone, in order to evaluate the occurrence of moves, steps or sub-steps in a different type of technical manuals and to find out relevant variations which might be applied to Lassen’s model as a result.


“Represents an original, carefully designed and well argued study within the scarcely researched field of technical communication. Its main contribution lies pointing out the need of a flexible model for analyzing technical manuals, and in suggesting an approach to identifying main problem areas in genre analysis models.”—Prof. Inger Lassen, Aalborg University

“Combines an excellent [theoretical] background and a practical proposal, methodologically well-founded.” – Prof. Maria Vittoria Calvi, Universitá Degli Studi di Milano

"... represents a solid contribution to the field of technical communication as well to genre analysis studies which will benefit teachers in ESP or professional communication courses as well as professionals themselves. ... provide[s] an insightful, carefully-designed analysis of the technical manual genre." -Prof. Concepcion Orna-Montesinos, Universidad de Zaragoza

Table of Contents


Foreword by Inger Lassen


Introductory Preface

General Objectives

Part I

Theoretical Framework

Some Remarks on Applied Linguistics
Interpretation of Discourse
Specialised and Professional Languages
Genres and Specialised Languages
Genre Analysis: Types and Theoretical Views

The Concept of Genre and Specialised Communication, Historical Contributions to the Definition of Genre
A Definition of Genre Analysis
The Model of Genre Analysis proposed by Vijay Bhatia and its Applications to Specialized Discourses

Key Concepts in Bhatia: Integrity, Systems of Genres and Genre Colonies

Instruction Manuals: General Aspects and Previous Studies

Characteristics of Technical Manuals

Author-Audience Relationship
The Factor of Time
Grammar and Organization
Communities of Discourse
Instructional Manuals: Syntactic, Semantic, Lexical and Discursive Characteristics
Recommendations for Writing Instructions

A New Proposal

Part II
Objectives and Hypotheses

Hypotheses and Basic Assumptions
Theories and Facts to be Determined

Part III

Genre Analysis of Silestone Technical Manuals

Inger Lassen’s Model of Genre Analysis in the Field of Technical Communication and her Contribution to Bhatia’s Theory

Methodology for the Genre Analysis of Technical Manuals

“Installation Guide”
“Care & Maintenance”
The Silestone Fabrication Manual

The Silestone Training Manual-Installation Guide

The Silestone Brochure Manual “Silestone Quartz Surfaces & You”

Parallels and Contrasts between Lassen’s Model for Technical Manuals and this Contribution


Part IV

Discussion and Conclusions



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