Hi everyone. Have you ever heard the word, genre, being used and wondered what it meant? What is a genre anyway? In this lecture I'll be talking specifically about genres, so the aim is by the end of this video lecture you will be able to hopefully explain what a genre is and identify what kinds of written genres are common in the business context. So let's go back to our original question. What is a genre? Well, in linguistics a genre is defined as a socially agreed upon and recognized form of communication that's been developed over time to communicate more effectively and efficiently. There are both speech genres and writing genres. Let's talk about speech genres first. A telephone conversation is an example of a speech genre. A conversation on the phone usually has expected and generic beginnings and endings in terms of how the phone conversation is organized, and the typical register or language used. A speech genre, like a phone conversation, also has expected ways to develop the conversation, and ways to end the conversation, in terms of organization and language used. Different written genres exist as well; for example think of a greeting card, the kind you buy or receive for your birthday. the kind of writing, and the organization of this writing, is definitely expected and generic in terms of how the writing is organized and delivered. That makes it a genre. There are different genres of communication in many areas of our lives. For example, different professions have genres that are typical of writing or speaking that takes place in that field. And of course this includes the business world. Most individuals don't invent a genre of speaking or writing. What happens is that you become a member of a certain profession or group and you learn the habits and conventions the group uses to communicate. If you want to become a doctor, you probably need to learn how to write up a medical chart. Or If you want to become a lawyer, you need to know how to write up a legal brief. It's very important to know the typical genres of writing and speaking used by the members of your chosen profession, since this shows you're a member of the group, and that you know how to communicate in the expected fashion. Each of these genres has a specific format and structure that's recognized by other members of the business community. By format, I'm referring to how a document is typically designed on a page. For example, here is the typical format of a business letter, with the receiver's address, the date, the greeting, and the closing, all arranged conventionally on a page. This is part of what makes business letters a specific genre of business writing. Different genres also have a specific structure, that's distinct to each. By structure, I mean the set of topics that the readers of a particular genre would really expect to find in the document. Using the example of a business letter, there are a distinct set of topics we'd expect to find in a business letter. For example, you could write a business letter to a client, briefly introducing a new product or service. Or you might write a business letter inviting the CEO of the company you've been doing business with to dinner when she comes to town. In fact, there are a wide variety of topics that are expected to form the structure of a business letter, but they do not include personal topics, such as gossip or personal secrets and discussions. In addition to the format and structure, earlier I mentioned that each genre also has an expected register, or formality, and type of language used by the group of people who share similar work or interests, such as business people or doctors. So, in a real sense, a register can be thought of the type of vocabulary and the degree of formality that's used in different contexts and for specific genres within specific domains. So in the remainder of this lecture, I'll talk about four different genres in business writing that are typically found around the world: business contracts, reports, proposals, and letters. Let's briefly talk about the conventional usage and purpose of the four business writing genres I've identified, and let's start with business contracts. A business contract, such as a sales contract, or a contract of employment, is a legal document. A contract is an agreement between two or more people or groups, that creates a legal duty or responsibility. You can think of contracts in business as the rules of the game, as it gives everyone a clear definition of what's expected and sets the parameters for the business relationship. Business contracts are a genre of their own. For example, all readers of business contracts expect they will find certain fundamentals, such as the date of the contract, the names of all parties involved, the payment amounts and due dates, contract expiration dates, any potential damages that can be expected for any breach of contract, any missed deadlines or any incomplete services. A business report is a document which is written to provide information so a business can make effective decisions. These reports could be formal, such as a product survey, or informal, such as a brief daily progress report, summarizing the status of a project. Both formal and informal reports have similar characteristics, though they have different purposes and would be of different lengths and complexity. For example, a financial statement is a type of formal report written to provide information. Another type of formal report is a product survey. A product survey is written to provide information and interpretation. There are also formal business reports commonly written that offer information, analysis and recommendations. On the other hand, an informal report will simply be something like a short summary in a letter or memo format, with minimal headings, which is created exclusively for internal review within a company. Business proposals are another genre of business writing. They're documents written to sell a service or idea to a business that hopefully has an unsolved problem or unrealized opportunity. As explained by Professor Dave Duceau, proposals are documents which anticipate the future. When you write a proposal, you need to be defining a clear problem, need or opportunity that exists within an organization. Then you need to anticipate the best solution to this problem and the methods of solving the problem. This process of anticipating and planning something that does not exist yet involves analytical and imaginative skills. A good proposal must be persuasive, accurate and complete, though it's often noted that many business writers invert this and create documents that are full of boring detail and very little persuasion. Business letters are one of the most commonly produced and read forms of business writing. They are formal, persuasive documents written in the business workplace. Examples of business letters include employment recommendation letters, inquiries for information, maybe compensation letters written to ask for price adjustments or reimbursement claims. All of the genres I've just briefly described are distinct genres within business writing. Within each genre there may be variations in content, each remains consistent in terms of its format, structure and register, which is what makes it a specific genre. If you're taking all of the courses in the specialization, please note, we'll be explaining more about these written genres in course two: English for Effective Business Writing. After this lesson, I hope you feel a bit more confident in your ability to to be able to explain and identify what a genre is, and what some of the different genres are in the business community and in business writing. Thank you for watching this lecture.