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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

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Volume 2010, Issue 182


A semiotic interpretation of genre: Judgments as an example

Le Cheng
Published Online: 2010-11-04 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.2010.053


Genre has been a critical issue in discourse analysis as well as in other disciplines. Based on a literature review of the concept of genre and taking judgments as one type of genre in legal settings, the present study provides a corpus-based insight into the nature of genre. The literature review per se reveals that genre has one typical feature of a sign, that is, being subject to multiple and alternative interpretations; in other words, genre as a sign may have various interpretants. The present study unravels the actual generic structures, distinguishes different types of generic structures within the given genre, and then defines the dominant generic structure of judgments in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China. This study also examines and contrasts the generic structure potential of judgments in each jurisdiction. In addition, the variation of Mainland China's judgments over time is briefly discussed. Comparing the generic structures of judgments among the three jurisdictions, as well as the structures of judgments in Mainland China over time, the paper argues that genre also has the essential features of a sign, that is, the characteristics of temporality and spatiality.

Keywords:: genre; generic structure; legal settings; judgment; semiotic interpretation

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Published Online: 2010-11-04

Published in Print: 2010-10-01

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2010, Issue 182, Pages 89–113, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.2010.053.

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