A rhetorical genre theory perspective on L2 writing development

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

33 Scopus citations


Genres, or socially situated ways of communicating, have great relevance to the study of L2 writing, because they represent the privileged forms of communication that writers must learn to use successfully. Theories of genre have outlined characteristics of genres and genre knowledge and their inextricable relationships to the communities in which they are developed and used. This chapter specifically explores the concept of genre knowledge and its development as a way to understand writing development for L2 writers. The chapter begins with an overview to main tenets of genre theory and an outline of a multi-dimensional and dynamic model of genre knowledge integrates formal, rhetorical, process, and content knowledge. Next, the chapter illustrates a genre theory perspective on writing development through a two-year longitudinal study of four advanced L2 writers within an ESL academic writing context. The study examines these writers' genre knowledge in instructional and non-instructional settings, through analysis of their own writing, oral reflections on their writing and on specific genres, feedback from mentors, and the texts and tasks in which the writers engaged. The chapter concludes by considering aspects of writing development that a genre theory perspective can effectively illuminate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationL2 Writing Development
Subtitle of host publicationMultiple Perspectives
PublisherDe Gruyter Mouton
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781934078303
ISBN (Print)9781934078297
StatePublished - Apr 26 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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