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Linguistics In philosophy of language, figuring very prominently in the works of philosopher and literary scholar Mikhail Bakhtin. Bakhtin's basic observations were of "speech genres" (the idea of heteroglossia), modes of speaking or writing that people learn to mimic, weave together, and manipulate (such as "formal letter" and "grocery list", or "university lecture" and "personal anecdote"). In this sense genres are socially specified: recognized and defined (often informally) by a particular culture or community. The work of Georg Lukács also touches on the nature of literary genres, appearing separately but around the same time (1920s–1930s) as Bakhtin. Norman Fairclough has a similar concept of genre that emphasizes the social context of the text: Genres are "different ways of (inter)acting discoursally" (Fairclough, 2003: 26).

However, this is just one way of conceiving genre. Charaudeau and Maingueneau determine four different analytic conceptualizations of genre.
A text's genre may be determined by its:

  1. Linguistic function.
  2. Formal traits.
  3. Textual organization.
  4. Relation of communicative situation to formal and organizational traits of the text (Charaudeau and Maingueneau, 2002:278–280).

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