The papers in this collection are all concerned with a rather special type
of discourse: they deal with either spoken or written language which was
produced in what could be called an "institutional", professional context.
Despite the growing interest within discourse pragmatics for language
produced within an institutional framework, existing publications tend to
concentrate either on one specific type of institutional setting (e.g.
business negotiations) or on one specific research tradition (e.g.
The present book is rather different in concept, in that the subject matter
is approached from a variety of functional research traditions and methods,
and in doing so cuts right across the spoken-written distinction. First of
all, the contributors scrutinize a variety of discourse types, such as
business interaction, business letters, classroom talk, political
interviews, press releases, and pharmacist-patient interaction. Secondly,
they show a variety of research traditions and methods at work, including
systemic-functional linguistics, conversation analysis, social semiotics,
ethnography, and cognitive grammar. Thirdly, since institutional
communication takes place in various modes of speaking and writing, the
present collection includes work on discourse in such varied modes as
face-to-face interaction, media interviews, group interaction, news
reports, and letters.
This collection also offers an introductory overview of the field, as well
as a selective bibliography of past research on institutional discourse,
subdivided into seven major categories: business, medical, legal,
classroom, media, political, and scientific/acedemic. Elements of all seven
domains can, in various forms, be found in the present volume.
1st printing 1999. 2nd printing 2006.