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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 December 2002


In the last decade genre approaches have had a considerable impact on the ways we understand discourse and in transforming literacy education in different contexts around the world. This chapter reviews the main directions of recent literature in both these areas, showing how the concept of genre is beginning to offer applied linguists a socially informed theory of language and an authoritative pedagogy grounded in research on texts and contexts. In terms of language description, I describe recent studies which seek to elaborate our understanding of generic integrity and variation, the ways that genres are seen as similar and different in terms of their internal structures and as systems of social processes. This research focuses on the contexts, lexico-grammatical features, and rhetorical patterns of genres. In terms of pedagogy, the chapter considers how genre approaches address central issues of language education and critical literacy and the ways that genre is applied in classrooms.

Research Article
© 2002 Cambridge University Press

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My thanks are due to Ann Johns and Brian Paltridge for prepublication copies of their new books, to Fiona Hyland for comments on my draft, and to my Sydney Sisters, Susan Feez, Sue Hood, and Bev Derewianka, for their suggestions and patient efforts to initiate me into the mysteries of SFL.