How should speech genres be described?
It is assumed in the paper that speech genres, i.e. patterns of text construction, are present in the whole universe of speech; therefore, a case is made for genology as an integral discipline, without division into literary and linguistic. A juxtaposition is made of speech genres listed in the December 2008 “educational basis” requirements of the Polish Ministry of Education. Two methods of description of speech genres are distinguished: from the point of view of the researcher or the language user. The former is an external outlook and results in matrix classification, the latter is an internal “natural” outlook that respects the competences of the participant in culture and makes use of typological concepts. It is proposed that the genological diversification of the universe of speech be performed with the methodology developed for the reconstruction of the linguistic worldview. A short overview of genological studies (by Stefania Skwarczyńska, Antoni Furdal, Mikhail Bakhtin or Anna Wierzbicka) is followed by a discussion of the colloquial conceptualization of speech genre. This is proposed on the basis of an etymological analysis (onomasiological grounding) of the names of a few selected genres, an analysis of connotational schemata of a few verbs of speaking, and an analysis of current lexicographic definitions of genological names. In conclusion, the criteria for distinguishing genres are proposed: (1) the communicative situation, (2) the speaker, (3) the hearer/receiver, (4) the intention, (5) the subject matter, (6) the way the message is framed, (7) the form of the message, (8) the ontology (modality) of the represented world.