Skip to 0 minutes and 0 secondsI’ve been doing a lot of thinking this week and trying really hard to complete my assignment on time for the deadline, but since I’m from Syria, English is not my first language so writing a paper on genre analysis can be really slow. But what does genre analysis really mean? To be honest, I’m not really sure what a genre actually is. So, my first thought was to look up the word in a dictionary. I tried the bilingual dictionary on my phone first but it gave me five different translations with no real explanation of this word, so I didn’t know which one was the right one for this situation. Then I went to a mono-lingual dictionary to see what it would say.

Skip to 0 minutes and 0 secondsAfter a few tries, I found something that referred to types of art, music and novels with a particular style or content but that still didn’t really help me understand my assignment either. Finally, I tried

Skip to 1 minute and 41 secondsthe Learner Dictionary. Now this looks like we are going somewhere. First of all, I found the origin of the word. It has a very unusual pronunciation because it comes from French which is why it has the “juh” sound at the beginning. It showed me how to pronounce it using the phonemic chart. It also told me that it was a noun, that it was a formal word which means that it is mostly used in an academic or professional context and gave me examples of genre in different sentences. From all of this information, I can get the meaning to get me started.

Skip to 0 minutes and 0 secondsThen I had to do a lot of reading around as well to understand different authors’ views on this subject and their definitions of what genre is. So, my advice for you is to use a Learners Dictionary rather than your phone dictionary

Skip to 2 minutes and 39 secondsor other dictionaries. This will help you to choose the correct meaning if there are different uses of the same word. This dictionary is for students, just like you and me, whose first language may not be English. So, all that frustration I had at the start, was what my English landlady calls, “A storm in a teacup”.

Dictionaries in use

Watch Omar a Coventry University student, explain which type of dictionary he found the most useful.


Your task

While you are watching, try to note down the positives and negatives for each type of dictionary.

Do you agree with Omar about which dictionary to use?

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This video is from the free online course:

English for Academic Study

Coventry University