Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2542-9477
  • E-ISSN: 2542-9485
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This study explores how email is partly shaped by writers’ positions within a corporate structure. This stylistic variation is measurable at scale and can be described by messages’ rhetorical organizations and orientations. The modeling was carried out on a subset of the Enron email corpus, which was processed using the dictionary-based tagger DocuScope. The results identify four stylistic variants (Trained/Technical Support, Decision-Making, Everyday Workplace Interaction, and Engaged Planning), each realizing distinctive combinations of features reflective of their communicative functions. In Trained/Technical Support emails, for example, constellations of words and phrases associated with informational production and facilitation are marshaled in fulfilling routine guidance-seeking and guidance-giving tasks. While writers’ positions motivate stylistic tendencies (e.g., members of upper-level management compose a majority of their messages in the Decision-Making style), all writers avail themselves of a variety of styles, depending on audience and purpose, suggesting that learners might benefit from developing adaptable communicative repertoires.


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