A Cognitive Model for Recognition of Genre

  •  Huijun Chen    


This paper discusses the cognitive process (es) in recognizing instances of genre and the effects of generic features have on recognition of genre. Following the ESP tradition, the paper takes the communicative purpose as the defining feature of a genre and follow Martin’s stratified model of language and context in for the analysis. Based on a preliminary study conducted among three geologists, this paper proposes a model revealing the cognitive process (es) in recognition of instances of genre. According to the model, the cognitive recognition of a genre basically goes from the bottom up, and the effects that the generic features have on recognition of instances of genres decrease from the top down. However, as the cognitive processes are very complicated, the top-down and bottom-up processes may sometimes interweave. Even at each stratum alone, the reader may have to experience a complicated interactive process. The schema theory is an important theory that works as a general thread throughout the model proposed. Apart from the general schema-matching processes at the beginning and the end of the whole processes, there might exist a schema-matching process at each processing stratum, too.

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