How Do Writers Engage Their Readers?
This chapter examines how writers use language to engage their readers, as well as how genre influences writers’ choice of engagement strategies. The strategies discussed are reader pronouns, directives, questions, and narratives. In exploring the relationship between engagement strategies and genre, the functions of questions in self-improvement books are also considered. The most frequent function of questions in this genre is to prompt readers to reflect on their life experiences. This function reflects the values and expectations of members of this community. Similarly, the way writers use narratives in self-improvement books also reflects assumptions that readers and writers share.
KeywordsDirective Engagement Narrative Question Reader pronouns Values
- Biber, D., Johansson, S., Leech, G., Conrad, S., & Finegan, E. (1999). Longman grammar of spoken and written English. Essex: Longman.Google Scholar
- Holmes, J., & Chiles, T. (2010). “Is that right?” Questions and questioning as control device in the workplace. In A. Freed & S. Ehrlich (Eds.), “Why do you ask?” The function of questions in institutional discourse (pp. 187–210). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Labov, W., & Waletzky, J. (1967). Narrative analysis: Oral versions of personal experience. In J. Helme (Ed.), Essays on the verbal and visual arts: Proceedings of the American Ethnological Society (pp. 12–44). Seattle: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar