Workplace texts: Do they mean the same for teachers and business people?

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Although in recent years there has been an increase in the research and development of resources for workplace English, work in this field is still rather limited. This article reports a study which combined a text analytical approach with a social perspective to consider the ways in which certain thematic choices construe different meanings for different types of reader. The study analysed Theme in two sample workplace texts, and contrasted this with informant interpretations drawn from focus group interviews with 12 business people and 15 EFL teachers. The findings not only identified some of the functions that Theme performs in workplace texts, but showed that the differing interpretations of Theme from the perspectives of teachers and business persons respectively are due to the interpersonal meanings carried by the texts. The findings concerning Theme, especially how thematic choices create different interpretations in workplace genres, could be used to inform and improve the pedagogy of writing in the workplace.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-469
Number of pages23
JournalEnglish for Specific Purposes
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Informants
  • Text analysis
  • Theme
  • Workplace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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