Professional e-mail communication in higher education in Hong Kong: A case study

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-164
Number of pages22
JournalText and Talk
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Discursive practice
  • E-mail
  • Institutional discourse
  • Professional communication
  • Register variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language

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