The two main analytical methods employed in the present study derive from two conceptually distinct traditions of discourse analysis. The first is the tradition of rhetorical text analysis, which has a well-established history of use in university English departments in the United States and Britain. This approach has found a contemporary place in nonliterary studies of written language with the advent of rhetoric/composition as a more or less distinct academic discipline (Lauer, 1984; Phelps, 1988), and a “rhetorical turn” in the humanities and social sciences. The second main tradition of discourse analysis informing the present study is that of sociolinguistic register research (e.g., Biber & Finegan, 1994a; Ferguson, 1983; Halliday, 1988). In particular, this study adopts the Multidimensional (MD) approach to register analysis developed by Douglas Biber (Biber, 1986, 1988), and subsequently used in a number of synchronic and diachronic studies of discourse variation and change (e.g., Biber, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994; Biber & Finegan, 1988, 1989, 1992; Besnier, 1988; D.Atkinson, 1992, 1996; Kim & Biber, 1994; Biber & Hared, 1994).