Bringing reality to the classroom : Exercises in intertextuality

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

4 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Journal / PublicationEnglish for Specific Purposes
Online published2 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


The ability to handle intertextual relations in email is an important component of workplace writing competence that is, for the most part, overlooked in classroom contexts because of a tendency to treat emails as independent texts. This study reports on a series of email assignments that required students to read and process a collection of texts before composing emails themselves, with the aim of examining how students dealt with the demands made by the intertextual nature of workplace writing. The findings suggest that the management of multiple texts and their intertextual relations poses considerable challenges for student writers, specifically relating to the amount of information to include, the degree of explicitness needed in referring to other texts, and the management of the dialogue and writer-reader relationship. The study concludes that there is a need to demonstrate to students the centrality of intertextuality and the ways in which it contributes to the coherence of workplace communication. Students need to understand, too, that managing intertextuality is not simply a question of textual manipulation, but of understanding the communicative context and of considering how they want their relationship with the reader to develop.

Research Area(s)

  • email, Intertextuality, Professional communication, Student writing, Task design