Genres are not just forms. Genres are forms of life, ways of being. They are frames for social action. They are environments for learning. They are locations within which meaning is constructed. Genres shape the thoughts we form and the communications by which we interact. Genres are the familiar places we go to create intelligible communicative action with each other and the guideposts we use to explore the unfamiliar. (Bazerman, 1997: 19)

As we have discussed preliminarily in Chapter 1, discourse is not reducible to language and how it is used in texts. Certainly, the topic of how language is used by speakers or writers to converse, narrate, theorize, and rhetoricize enjoys a good bit of attention by scholars in academic disciplines that are speech-and language-central-disciplines like applied linguistics, communication, media studies, education, anthropology, English, foreign languages, marketing, business, and philosophy. But a focus solely on language does not provide a complete picture of any discursive event. To this, one must add perspectives concerning the myriad other semiotic features of discourse, from paralanguage and voice quality to gestures and punctuation, from clothing style and posture to font size and type style, colors, lighting, artwork, and music-all as relevant to and concomitant with the messages conveyed through linguistic means.