Formal idioms and action: Toward a grammar of genres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Bakhtin tells us that speech genres organize speech similar to the way that grammatical forms do. This essay takes Bakhtin at his word, and it explores the way this idea works out in one contemporary theory of grammar. The essay draws an analogy between the way rhetoricians have considered generic form in action-based theories of genre and the formal idiom constructions-i.e. form-meaning-function complexes-of construction grammar. It concludes that the constructional analogy provides a clear empirical guide for discussion of generic form that is both shared and unique and stable and unstable, in addition to facts regarding the learning and acquisition of generic form.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-224
Number of pages14
JournalLanguage and Communication
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Construction grammar
  • Formal idiom
  • Genre
  • New rhetoric

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Formal idioms and action: Toward a grammar of genres'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this