Standardizing language in corporate investigative reports: A case study in appropriated professional language practices Glen Michael Alessi, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia Adopting Gunnarsson's (2009) definition of professional discourse, and drawing on Bhatia's (2008) notions of intertextuality and interdiscursivity, this study examines generic and lexico-grammatical features found in a corpus of anonymised internal investigative reports produced by a large multinational company. It considers how insights gained from genre analysis (Bhatia 1993) and corpus-assisted discourse analysis (Partington 2008, 2013) may furnish the company with future recommendations in fine-tuning these reports for a previously unaccounted for external readership of lawyers and paralegals. On a more general scale, my interests attempt to illustrate how academic research findings, based on the study of existing communicative practices, might better inform, improve and shape future professional practice. My study addresses reports produced by a large multinational corporation which conducts internal investigations regarding problematic employee behaviour, such as misconduct, accidents, theft, complaints, and issues of compliance. These reports are based on investigator- employee interviews and are intended only for internal use only. They may however be unexpectedly required, at a future date, for legal purposes such as in litigation cases between an employee and the company. The company involved, expressed interest in employing external linguistic expertise - or mediation - in examining how individual reporting could be best standardized, in order to avoid detailed editing and re-writing. In an effort to establish more uniform lexical and grammatical choices amongst authors, the company hopes that the reports might create higher degrees of shared certainty and more objective evaluation of the circumstances between the various cases and investigators. A principle aim is to produce standardized documentation which foreseeably could be better defended in court. In linguistic terms, the company is intent on imposing register variation and re-contextualizing language of these internal reports in order to create documentation which can be legally defended while using English as a Lingua Franca. Corpus-assisted and genre-based approaches, together with Sketch Engine applications, will provide input into describing current report macrostructure, lexico-grammatical choices, and what suggestions can be made to standardize and render reports written by international agents legally resistant. Particular attention is given to prescribing choice of reporting verbs, contents and moves of the executive summary, vague versus explicit language, expressing factuality and allegations. References Alessi, G. M. 2013. The Language of Insurance Claims Adjustments: Interviews or Interrogations? In: Three Waves of Globalization: Winds of Change in Professional, Institutional and Academic Genres. Ed. F. Poppi & W. Cheng. Cambridge Scholars. 23-36. Bhatia, V. 2008. Genre Analysis, ESP and Professional Practice. English for Specific Purposes 27.2: 161-74 Partington A. 2008. The armchair and the machine: Corpus-Assisted Discourse Studies. In: Corpora for University Language Teachers. Ed. C. Taylor Torsello, K. Ackerley & E. Castello. Bern: Peter Lang. 189-213. Partington, A., Duguid A. & C. Taylor. 2013. Patterns and Meanings in Discourse: Theory and practice in corpus-assisted discourse studies (CADS). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
|Titolo:||Standardizing the Language of Corporate Internal Investigative Reports : A Case Study in Appropriated Professional Language Practices|
|Autori:||Alessi, Glen Michael|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2014|
|Data del convegno:||10-12 Settembre 2014|
|Luogo del convegno:||Geneva, CH|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Poster|
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