Genre of the Academic Lecture

Valerija Malavska, Latvia, ID LLCE2016-325;     

The lecture is one of the most common forms of instruction in universities throughout the world. All educational institutions use it as a form of studies, with the aim of conveying knowledge to a large number of students (Buckley, 2000; Custers and Boshuizen, 2002; Pettu, 2001). The academic discourse is not purely monological, neither fully dialogical; it is oriented towards the audience as well as expects the audience interaction. The move analysis of lecture extracts can allow finding out the successes and possible reasons of failures of the lecturer-student interaction in the course of a lecture. Academic lecture as a separate genre within the pedagogic register may be attributed to the secondary genre (Bakhtin, 1986:62), since a modern lecture is a combination of written and spoken genres – the text in the Power Point presentation often includes quotations from other texts (written or oral); the lecturer uses theoreticians’ quotations while delivering the lecture; thus, he bases his discourse on the texts of other authors.

    On the other hand, each lecture is an example of the individual style of a lecturer, each new lecture is unique and cannot be reproduced word for word by any other lecturer, even by the same author, because the cognitive and communicative processes are dynamic, ever-changing, and situative (occurring in relation to a specific situation) that may be dependent on such circumstances as target audience (e.g. students), setting (lecture room), time of the lecture, et cetera.  

The present work investigates the nature of the academic lecture genre, its specific characteristics in comparison to other types of written or spoken modes of different genres. It explores the peculiarities of the university lecture as a separate genre, looks at the structure of the academic lecture and studies the characteristic features of note-taking as a process occurring during a lecture.

Key words: Academic lecture genre, core and secondary genres, interdiscursivity, intertextuality, interdisciplinarity, note-taking, perception, working memory.