Forey, Gail
Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Gail Forey
English Department,
Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Hung Hom

Strand: discourse English

Title: Learning How and What to Teach from Looking at the Context

The context in question is the workplace, specifically the contextual restraints controlling written discourse in the workplace. This paper will discuss two research projects which have collected data on written discourse in both the UK and Hong Kong. The aim of both research projects was to conduct an investigation of written discourse, analysing the texts produced, the processes involved, the elements determining an effective document and the extent and nature of training needs. This investigation would ultimately be used to inform the development of pedagogic materials.

A wealth of data concerning written discourse in the workplace has been collected from questionnaires, interviews and a corpus of authentic texts. This paper will give a brief background to the two projects involved and will summarise some of the findings from the questionnaires and interviews. The paper will then move on to discuss how a linguistic analysis of authentic texts can be exploited in the creation of teaching material. This paper attempts to emphasise the practical consequences of linguistic analysis within a contextual framework.