“A very big thank you to…”
Letters of gratitude in local newspapers from Australia and Chile
Letters to the Editor (LTEs) in the local press are a relatively formalised everyday genre in which readers’ opinions appear in a publication. In this article 20 Chilean and 20 Australian LTEs which contained the macro communicative intention of ‘thanking’ were analysed and compared with regard to the structural moves and Politeness Strategies (PS) they presented. The results show that addressers in both cultures follow a highly schematic way of constructing their Letters of Gratitude. This is evident not only in the sharing of most of their obligatory moves but also in that some of these moves present similar lexico-syntactic compositions to establish their limits. With regard to PS, the Chilean group showed the exclusive presence of strategies that acknowledged the role of the editor as a letter mediator directly. This suggests that the similarities found are genre-defining aspects. Conversely, the differences are connected to the cultural context of publication. The results also suggest that expressing gratitude in the written form may functionally differ from the way it is expressed orally. This type of contrastive study helps to identify both the genre- and culture specific aspects of discourse, which deepen our understanding of cultural, everyday manifestations and their realization in different settings.
Keywords: Structural Moves, Genre Analysis, English/Spanish, Letters of Gratitude, Politeness Strategies
Published online: 19 November 2015
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