Multilingual Genre Practices in International Relations
Keywords:LSP, multilingualism, genre repertoire, genre ecology, genre practice, international relations
Globalisation has produced not only denser, but also linguistically more complex communication networks. Multilingual practices have transformed the academic and professional lives of language learners, and imposed new requirements on LSP teaching. This article foregrounds genres in multilingual globalised contexts. Genres have been recognised as one of the key focuses of LSP. Although previous research highlighted the importance of developing relevant field-specific genre practices, little attention has been paid to the nature of genre repertoires in the field of International Relations (IR). We report on the findings of a qualitative study into genre practices of the IR community. We set out to examine the typical genres of IR in academic and in professional settings. We focus on the languages in which these genres are enacted, and on the transformation of genre practices that occurs as a result of the community members’ trajectories through different academic and professional or institutional contexts. The analysis of genre collections and of the data collected through semi-structured interviews with IR students, professors, and graduates, reveals the rich, diverse, and asymmetrical patterns of genre use in three languages: French, Slovene, and English. The study suggests that the informants’ disciplinary communication has changed considerably over the past twenty years, and that the changes in the genre ecologies require new approaches to teaching about genres. Based on the findings of the study, the paper discusses the challenges of multilingual realities for LSP teachers and genre analysts.
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