Language Use in Computer-Mediated Communication: An Investigation into the Genre of Workplace Emails

Mohammad Awad AlAfnan


This study investigated the moves and communicative purposes used in 522 email messages that were exchanged in a Malaysian private educational institute. Using Swales’s (1990) move approach, this study revealed that email writers used fourteen moves that are mainly six framing and eight content moves. Content moves included four main, one intertextual, one supporting and two follow-up moves. The four main content moves reflected the main communicative purposes of the emails that are discussing issues, enquiring about issues, couriering (delivering) documents and informing about organizational and academic issues. The four communicative purposes varied in their structural organization, number of recipients and reaction to receiving the email.

Keywords: Genre analysis; Email communication; Rhetorical moves; Communicative purposes; Discourse community

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