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date: 04 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter gives a critical survey of research traditions and findings in the study of genre variation, both from a grammar and a text linguistic perspective. After introducing foundational concepts, the chapter discusses the dimension of spoken versus written language, including the question of medial versus conceptual orality, the distinction between narrative and non-narrative genres as well as characteristics of computer-mediated communication, weaving in data and insights from studies in both linguistics and rhetoric. Shifting to a focus on specific grammatical constructions, the chapter then moves on to three areas of syntactic inquiry that are illuminated by genre considerations: variation in grammatical complexity, the representation of agents, and word order variation. The chapter ends with reflecting on the competence/performance distinction and thoughts on the idea that spoken language follows a different grammar than written language.

Keywords: computer-mediated communication, complexity, genre, narrative, register, rhetoric, spoken versus written, text linguistics, syntactic variation, word order

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