Department of English Language and Literature
Professional e-mail communication in higher education in Hong Kong: A case study
E-mail has firmly established itself as a dominant channel of interaction for both social and professional purposes. Despite its importance as a communication tool, the influence of professional roles on discursive practices has yet to be thoroughly addressed, especially when e-mail is specifically used between academics, students, and other relevant stakeholders in the higher education setting, where English is a second or foreign language. Through the case study of an e-mail corpus containing messages received by an academic in one year, this paper investigates the general discursive patterns, discourse structures, and nonstandard linguistic features of e-mail discourse in higher education in Hong Kong. Specifically, it examines how such discursive practices are influenced by sender roles and sender-receiver relationships. Findings from the present study show traces of interdiscursivity in e-mail use in the academic domain and how sender roles influence the level of interdiscursivity between e-mail and genres of old and new. The similarities and differences in the discursive practices between academic professionals and students in e-mail communication also underscore the importance of having more fine-grained accounts of e-mail use in a wide range of settings in professional communication.
Computer-mediated communication, Discursive practice, E-mail, Institutional discourse, Professional communication, Register variation
Source Publication Title
Text and Talk
Link to Publisher's Edition
Lam, P. (2014). Professional e-mail communication in higher education in Hong Kong: A case study. Text and Talk, 34 (2), 143-164. https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2013-0041