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Glossary of Some Terms of Critical Discourse Analysis

Glossary of Some Terms of Critical Discourse Analysis

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Published by Farooq Khan
Some key terms used in Critical Discourse Analysis
Some key terms used in Critical Discourse Analysis

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Farooq Khan on Nov 10, 2012
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 Agentless passive construction
 Along with 
 , the agentless passive construction is a linguistic structure which hasreceived much attention in CDA, espeically in Critical Linguistics. It involves a 'transformation'whereby the affected takes the subject position of the sentence and the agent is left out of theojbect position. In syntactic terms, the agentless passive voice means there is no direct reference towho performed the action designated by the verb, thus causing a separation of agent and action(Trew1979: 98). The construction is therefore said to conceal or 'mystify' responsbility for theaction or process described, particularly for readers unwilling to invest the extra effort required torecover the relevant information.However, there is now some doubt as to the significance of the agentless passive. For example,O'Halloran (2003) argues that pragmatic principles of relevance mean that readers can be expectedto recover the 'concealed' information automatically based on background assumptions.Consequently, agent exclusions may not be mystificatory at all but simply based on a co-operativeprinciple of economy.
'Text' is used to refer to particular language usages with an identifiable beginning and end situatedin time and place. Texts can be considered the outcome of  
.That is, discourse is a processthat produces text (Brown and Yule 1983: 25; Widdowson 1979: 71). On this definition, texts are a'trace' of the communicative act, or 
(Brown and Yule 1983: 6). They may be spokenor written, where written texts represent a (semi)permanent record. Of course, written texts maybe records of spoken texts. For some scholars, such as Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen(2001) text is conceived as multimodal rather than limited to linguistic form. Texts are also concreterealisations of discourses (Lemke 1995), which is to say that discourses find their expression in text(Kress 1985: 27).
Discourse Event
For Norman Fairclough (1989, 1995) each discourse event is made up of three dimensions orfacets. There is the 
 itself and the 
 practice of producing and interpreting the text. Inaddition, every discourse practice is seen to be an instance of social practice. Fairclough illustratesthese layers in a 
 in which the connection between text and socialpractice is mediated by discourse practice (Fairclough 1995: 133). Against this framework,discourse is seen as a site of social action and as constitutive of social relations and identities.The view of language as action, embodied in the title of Austin's (1962) posthumouslypublished
 How to do Things with Words,
is inspired by both ordinary language philosophy (Austin1962; Searle 1969; Wittgenstein 1953) and Critical Theory. According to Habermas, for example,
 ‘language is also a medium of...social force' (1977: 259).
Fairclough's three-dimensional framework 
Corresponding with the three dimesions of a 
,Norman Fairclough proposes threedimensions of discourse analysis. These are linguistic
of the text,
of therelationship between discursive processes (production and interpretation) and the text,and
of the relationship between the discursive process and social phenomena (Fairclough1995: 97).CDA has mainly been concerned with linguistic description and social explanation. It has paidcomparatively little attention to interpretation-stage analysis and especially the cognitive processesinvolved in discourse (O'Halloran 2003).
Texts also belong to different 'genres'. In contrast to'
'. what captures the genre of a text isnot its lexicogrammatical features but the context itself in which the text is produced (van Dijk 2008,2009). This context can be defined according to the three aspects of situation that determineregister - field, tenor and mode. So for example, newspaper reports and political speeches are twodistinct text genres. Producing a newspaper report and a political speech are two different socialactivities (field). In each case, there are different social and power relations held between the text-producer and text-consumers (tenor). And both are delivered via different mediums: written versusspoken respectively (mode). Genre (or type of 'speech event') has also been modelled by DellHymes (1972) using the following mnemonic:
S. Setting
P. Participants
E. Ends
A. Act
K. Key
I. Instrumentalities
N. Norms
G. Genre
The concept of intertextuality is based on Bakhtin and Voloshinov. 
 are produced within an'intertextual context'. That is, texts 'have histories, they belong to historical series' (Fairclough1989: 127). Texts are related to other texts within their intertextual context through intertextuality,whereby a current text contains elements of a previous text. Intertextuality often involves reportedspeech, which Voloshinov characterises as 'speech within speech, utterance within utterance, and atthe same time also speech about speech, utterance about utterance' (1973: 115) Reported speechis especially common in news discourse. According
to Monika Bednarek, ‘one of the most
characteristic features of newspaper language is its "embededness": much of what features in the
news is actually reported speech' (2006: 59). For example, as John Richardson (2007: 102) notes, 'anews report may contain elements of a press release, or a quote from a source either involved inthe reported action/event (information) or commenting on it (evaluation)'.
Interdiscursivity refers to the phenomenon whereby elements from different 
 are combinedin 
resulting in new hybrid or nodal discourses. Interdiscursivity can also refer to thecombination in text of context and 
 features associated with different 
 resulting in new
hybrid genres. For example, Milonas (2007: 100) notes that television genres are flexible enough tomix and provide new creative possibilities. With reference to a documentary film on the Londontransport attacks of 7 July 2005, Milonas states that the film's hybrid genre 'has strong elements of the traditional foundations of documentary, enriched by new stylistic choices, performance, thefilmmaker's presence and entertainment' (ibid.). Another example, given by Blackledge (2007: 11),would be the use of conversational features of language in the formal context of a speech toParliament. According to Fairclough (2003), interdiscursivity in text creates a hybridity of socialpractices characteristic of the blurring of social boundaries.
In Systemic Functional Grammar, language is seen as a social system of semiotic resources, whichexists as a
meaning potential
. The system is organised into 'strata' at different levels of abstraction.They are related by means of realization. The semantic strata is realised in lexicogrammar - thenetwork of lexical and grammatical options available for the expression of meaning. In the semanticstrata, three basic elements of a semantic configuration are identified:
 process, participant 
These are realised in lexicogrammar as verbs, nominals andadverbials. CDA is often concerned with 
 choices at the level of lexicogrammar. The
availability of choice in lexicogrammar means linguistic representation is always necessarilyideological.
Metaphor is a linguistic and conceptual structure which has received growing attention in CDA. whole approach dedicated to metaphor now exists under the bannar of Critical Metaphor Analysis(Charteris-Black 2004). According to Charteris-Black, metaphor is 'central to critical discourseanalysis since it is concerned forming a coherent view of reality' (2004: 28).Critical Metaphor Analysis applies metaphor theory from Cognitive Linguistics. Here, metaphor isseen as a conceptual structure in which one domain of experience provides the basis for ourunderstanding of another more abstract social domain (Lakoff and Johnson 1980).These
metaphors are an important part of ideology since they 'provide the cognitive

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