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Discourse Analysis 10

Discourse Analysis 10

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Published by: IwanHariyanto on Apr 24, 2013
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03/27/2014

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Discourse
Analysis
for
Language Teachers
Michael
McCarthy
CAMBRIDGE
UNIVERSITY
PRESS
 
'I only said
"if"!'
poor
Alice
pleaded in a piteous tone.The two Queens looked ateach other, and the Red Queenremarked,
with
a little shudder,'She
says
she only said "if"-'
'But
she said
a
great dealmore than that!' the WhiteQueen moaned, wringing herhands.'Oh, ever so much morethan that!'
Lewis Carroll:
7?1tvugh
he
Looking
018m
1.1
A
brief
historical
overview
Discourse analysis is concerned with the study of the relationship betweenlanguage and the contexts in which it is used. It grew out of work indifferent disciplines in the 1960s and early 1970s, including linguistics,semiotics, psychology, anthropology and sociology. Discourse analystsstudy language in use: written texts of all kinds, and spoken data, fromconversation
to
highly institutionalised forms
of
talk.At a time when linguistics was largely concerned with the analysis
of
single sentences, Zellig Harris published a paper with the title 'Discourseanalysis' (Harris 1952). Harris was interested in the distribution
of
linguis-
tic
elements-in extended texts, and the links between the text and its socialsituation, though his paper is a far cry from the discourse analysis we are
hsed
to
nowadays. Also important in the early years was the emergence ofstmiotics and the French structuralist approach to the study of narrative. In
the
1960s, Dell Hymes provided a sociological perspective with the study of
speech
in its social wmng (e.g. Hymes 1964). The linguistic philosophers
sudr
as Austin (1962), Searle (1969) and Grice
(1975)
were also influential in
tbe
study
of
language as social action, reflected in speech-act theory and
the
formulation of conversational maxims, alongside the emergence of
 
1
What
is discourse analysis?
pragmatics, which is the study of meaning in context (see Levinson 1983;Leech 1983).British discourse analysis was greatly influenced by
M.
A.
K.
Halliday'sfunctional approach to language (e.g. Halliday 1973), which in turn hasconnexions with the Prague School
of
linguists. Halliday's frameworkemphasises the social functions of language and the thematic and infor-mational structure
of
speech and writing. Also important in Britain wereSinclair and Coulthard (1975) at the University of Birmingham, whodeveloped a model for the description
of
teacher-pupil talk, based on ahierarchy of discourse units. Other similar work has dealt with doctor-patient interaction, service encounters, interviews, debates and businessnegotiations, as well as monologues. Novel work in the British traditionhas also been done on intonation in discourse. The Bfitish work hasprincipally followed structural-linguistic criteria, on the basis of the iso-lation of units, and kts of rules defining well-formed sequences of dis-course.American discourse analysis has been dominated by work within theethnomethodological tradition, which emphasises the research method ofclose observation of groups of people communicating in natural settin~s.texamines types of speech event such as storytelling, greeting rituals andverbal duels in different cultural and social settings
(e.g.
Gumperz andHymes 1972). What is often called
conversation analysis
within theAmerican tradition can also be included under the general heading
of
discourse analysis. In conversational analysis, the emphasis is not uponbuilding structural models but on the close observation of the behaviour ofparticipants in talk and on patterns which recur over a wide range ofnatural data. The work of Goffman (1976; 1979), and Sacks, Schegloff andJefferson (1974) is important in the study of conversational norms, turn-taking, and other aspects of spoken interaction. Alongside the conversationanalysts, working within the sociolinguistic tradition, Labov's investi-gations of oral storytelling have also contributed to a long history ofinterest in narrative discourse. The American work has produced a largenumber of descriptions
of
discourse types, as well as insights into the socialconstraints
of
politeness and face-preserving phenomena in talk, overlap-ping with British work in pragmatics.Also relevant to the development
of
discourse analysis as a wholeisthework
of
text grammarians, working mostly with written language. Textgrammarians see texts as language elements strung together in relationshipswith one another that can be defined. Linguists such
as
Van Dijk (1972), DeBeaugrande (1980), Halliday and Hasan (1976) have made a significantimpact in this area. The Prague School of linguists, with their interest in thestructuring of information in discourse, has also been influential. Its mostimportant contribution has been
to
show the links between grammar andiscourse.'

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