On 6 February at 14:15 Riina Reinsalu will defend her doctoral thesis "Instructive Administrative Texts in a Genre Theory Framework".
Associate Professor emeritus Reet Kasik
Professor Pirkko Nuolijärvi, Finland
Composing any text is always based on the choices of the writer. Some of these fulfil standard communication purposes developed in the cultural context, others are served by hidden purposes, i.e. personal communication intentions, influencing also the use of language. The aim of this thesis is to clarify the strategic text choices of writers which they make in administrative texts representing various genres in order to fulfil certain communicative intentions. It is evident from the research results that contracts for services, authorisation agreements, orders, decisions and directives have been standardised as to their structure, consisting of content elements listed on the basis of a specific structure scheme and established text patterns, which are used for achieving standard, well-known purposes. However, applications, requests for information and complaints submitted by private persons to public authorities vary from their structure and language use, making it possible to fulfil hidden as well as standard purposes, e.g. criticise the activity of public authorities. The texts studied also differ as to the way instructions are given in them. When modal verbs and non-modal declarative sentences are common in contacts and da-infinitive constructions representing demand strategy are characteristic of orders, decisions and directives, then writers approach a public authority with applications and requests for information by using mainly requests and wishes. Complaints stand out from other texts, as mainly asking strategy with ironic-emotional tonality is often used there. The results of structure and language analysis of administrative texts presented in the framework of genre and text type framework, give a reason to discuss the appropriateness of the purpose and acceptability of an administrative communication, incl. from the viewpoint of language studies. It is also possible to give practical recommendations to the authors of administrative texts about how to ensure that the texts comply with language principles and correct spelling and appropriate language practices.