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Varieties of Business English: A linguistic analysis of written texts

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Title: Varieties of Business English: A linguistic analysis of written texts
Author(s): Morrow, Phillip Robert
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Kachru, Yamuna
Department / Program: Linguistics
Discipline: Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Language, Linguistics Education, Business
Abstract: The analysis investigates the following questions: What is the basis for identifying Business English as a distinct variety of English? How should Business English be classified typologically--as a register, genre, or otherwise? Who are the users of Business English and for what purposes do they use it? What pedagogical implications follow from an analysis of the structure of Business English texts?A macroscopic/microscopic methodology is used to analyze business texts and determine whether they vary in a systematic way from non-business texts. The macroscopic part of the analysis involves a large-scale analysis the frequency of occurrence of 26 selected syntactic features in the texts. Computer technology is used to identify and tabulate the occurrence of the selected features in a 42,000 word text corpus. Based on the patterns of distribution of these features, four factors are identified using Factor Analysis. These factors are shown to be associated with certain communicative functions.Texts from three sources were used: newspaper, magazine and letter texts. The results of analyses showed no (statistically) significant differences between the business and non-business texts in terms of the frequency of the 26 features.Chapter 4 reports on a microanalysis of some of the features and the rhetorical structures in each type of text. The analysis of letter texts is the most extensive, and it is framed largely in terms of Brown and Levinson's theory of politeness. It is shown that the newspaper, magazine and letter texts each have their own characteristic patterns of rhetorical organization and use of syntactic features.The theoretical and applied implications of these findings are examined in Chapter 5, the conclusion. Regarding the typological classification of Business English I have suggested that the concepts of genre and register as developed by Ventola can be used to obtain a more insightful description of Business English (and, by implication, of other varieties of English). Further, I have contended that the concept of Business English as presented (implicitly) in pedagogical materials needs to be modified. Suggestions are made regarding the design of pedagogical materials and future directions for research are indicated.
Issue Date: 1989
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/19507
Rights Information: Copyright 1989 Morrow, Phillip Robert
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog: AAI8924906
OCLC Identifier: (UMI)AAI8924906
 

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