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Introduction to

Discourse Analysis
Jonathan V. Gochuico, Ph.D.
Associate Professor 5

What is “discourse”?
language above the sentence or above the clause
a continuous stretch of spoken language larger than a
sentence, often constituting a coherent unit
a stretch of language perceived to be meaningful unified, and
purposive; language in use
(viewed) as social practice determined by social structures

Definitions of Discourse
A particular unit of language (above the sentence), or
discourse in structure;
A particular focus on language use, discourse as function.

.Discourse as structure Problem: you can have a unit which looks like a sentence but doesn’t mean anything Colourless green ideas sleep furiously.

Discourse as structure On the other hand the units in which people speak do not always look like sentences. Bow Chica Bow Wow That's what my baby said Bow Bow Bow And my heart starts pumpin' Chicka Chicka Chew-Op Never Gunna Stop Gitchi Gitchi Goo Means That I love you! .

Discourse as a System of functions Phatic function (opens a contact) Emotive function (conveys the need of the speaker) Conative function (asks something of the addressee) Referential function (makes reference to the world outside the language) .

Definition of Discourse Discourse – written and spoken Speaker/ writer Hearer/ reader Discourse Context .

style. audience) • According to whether it is monologic (one speaker/writer produces an entire discourse)/ or dialogic/ multiparty (two/more participants interact/ construct discourse together). .Types of Discourse There are many ways to classify discourse: • According to whether it is written or spoken • According to the register (level of formality) • According to the genre (communicative purpose.

. Hymes) or medium as speaking and writing involve different psychological processes.Distinction between Written and Spoken Discourse The distinction between speech and writing is often referred to as channel (D.

Distinction between Written and Spoken Discourse Spoken and written discourse differ for many reasons. written discourse can be referred to many times . Spoken discourse has to be understood immediately.

• Loudness/quietness. but it is generally faster than writing. .Distinction between Written and Spoken Discourse Features of spoken discourse: • Variations in speed.

Pausing and phrasing: .Distinction between Written and Spoken Discourse • • • • • • Spoken discourse: Gestures/ Body language Intonation Pitch range Stress: Rhythm.

Internet chat) . These texts can be: .oral texts (‘speech’/’talk’) .mixed written/oral texts (e.Objects of discourse ‘Discourse’ refers to any utterance which is meaningful.written texts .g.

It is a two-way process … • For this reason discourse analysis examines spoken and written texts from all sorts of different areas (medical.for example in analysing communication problems in medicine. power) • Discourse analysis has a number of practical applications . psychotherapy.The scope of discourse analysis • Discourse analysis is not a discipline which exists on its own. It is influenced by other disciplines and influences them as well. education. legal. advertising) and from all sorts of perspectives (race. . in analysing written style etc. gender.

Influences on discourse analysis sociolinguistics other nonlinguistic disciplines computational linguistics psycholinguistics Discourse Analysis other linguistic disciplines pragmatics .

• Functional definition of discourse: Discourse is a particular focus of language use. .Structural and functional definitions of discourse • Structural or textual definition of discourse: Discourse is a particular unit of language (above the sentence).

Referential. Contextual/ Situational . Metalinguistic (Focusing on meaning).Functional approach to discourse • Roman Jakobson: language performs seven functions: Expressive or Emotive Directive/ Conative/ Persuasive Poetic Contact (Physical or Psychological).

Fairclough • Discourse is characterised as:  produced/consumed/monitored by social actors (producers/receivers of social practices). shaped by social structures. . • M.Recent approach to DA • Discourse is no longer studies for its own sake. with social implications. N. reception and circulation). Foucault. socially valued and regulated (production. Discourse is viewed as a social practice.

• variationist approach. • the ethnography of communication. . • conversation analysis. • pragmatic approach. • interactional sociolinguistics.Approaches to Discourse Deborah Schiffrin “Approaches to Discourse”(1994) singles out 6 major approaches to discourse: • the speech act approach.

Approaches to Discourse (1) The Speech Act Approach Founders of the speech act theory: John Austin & John Searle. particular issues in speech act theory (indirect speech acts.g. There are different types of speech acts: • e. “speak louder” (directive) • “Oxford Street is a shopper’s paradise“ (assertive) Although speech act theory was not first developed as a means of analyzing discourse. multiple functions of utterances) led to discourse analysis .

Speech Acts • Austin (1962) • An utterance in dialogue is an ACTION • Speech acts • Performative sentences uttered by an authority (they change the state of the world) • Any sentence in real speech contains • Locutionary act • Illocutionary act • Perlocutionary act .

– performatives (state-changing) . etc. vowing. – thanking. ordering. apologizing. etc. inviting. deploring. – promising. etc. etc.Speech Acts • Searle (1975) • All speech acts classified as • • • • • Assertives Directives Commissives Expressives Declarations – suggesting. – asking. concluding. planning. boasting.

he is kneeling down. • Perlocutionary act (the effect of the utterance on the hearer). • Illocutionary act (the intention of the speaker).Speech act theory Each speech act consists of 3 components: • Locutionary act (the actual words which the speaker is saying). . Example 3 (From "Sense and Sensibility") Wait.

. • different speech acts initiate and respond to other acts.’ . • they create options for a next utterance each time they are performed. • An utterance can perform more than one speech act at a time . • a piece of discourse (what is said) is chunked/segmented into units that have communicative functions. Acts to a certain degree specify what kind of response is expected. • Deborah Schiffrin: ‘this flexibility has an important analytical consequence: it means that a single sequence of utterances may actually be the outcome of a fairly wide range of different underlying functional relations.Speech act theory • Compare Austin’s classification with other classification of speech acts Conclusions for DA: • speech act theory is concerned with what people do with language or it is concerned with the function of language. • there is more than one option of responses for a next utterance. • these function are identified and labelled..

bring them down here. and linguistics. sociology. Focuses on how people from different cultures may share grammatical knowledge of a language but contextualize what is said differently to produce different messages. e. I’ll flog them for you” (Australian English) . “yeah.g.Approaches to Discourse (2) Interactional sociolinguistics Represents the combination of three disciplines: anthropology.

Women Asians . Men .Westerners Teachers .Approaches to Discourse (3) The ethnography of communication The way we communicate depends a lot on the culture we come from.Students .

Approaches to Discourse (4) Pragmatics H. P. Grice: the cooperative principle and conversational maxims. . People interact by using minimal assumptions about one another.

What is implied varies according to the context of an utterance. Conventional implicatures do not require any particular context in order to be understood (or inferred). Two types of implicatures: conventional and conversational. .Pragmatics • • • • Based primarily on the ideas of Paul Grice: People interact having minimal assumptions (implicatures) about one another. • Conversational implicatures are context – dependant.

by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged. .Pragmatics • To explain HOW we interpret implicatures Grice introduced the Cooperative Principal: • Make your contribution such as required. at the stage at which it occurs.

. Do not make your contribution more informative than required. Do not say something if you lack adequate evidence. • Maxim of Quality: Do not say what you believe to be false.Pragmatics • There are four conversational maxims which help us to realize the implicit meaning if an utterance: • Maxim of Quantity: Make your contributions as informative as required (for the current purposes of the exchange).

. • Maxim of Manner: Be perspicuous (or express your ideas clearly) Avoid obscurity of expressions (= do not use expressions which are not clear or easy to understand). Be brief (avoid unnecessary usage of too many words). Be orderly.Pragmatics • Maxim of Relation: Be relative. Avoid ambiguity (= presence of more than one meaning).

Pragmatics • The contribution of Gricean pragmatics to DA is a set of principles that constrains speakers’ sequential choices in a text and allows hearers to recognize speaker’s intentions. .

not in what people say but in how they say it .Approaches to Discourse (5) Conversation analysis • e.g. Smith • B: Smith. i. A: This is Mr. Conversational analysis is particularly interested in the sequencing of utterances.e. Smith may I help you • B: I can’t hear you • A: This is Mr.

Summary of approaches to discourse Approaches to Studying Discourse Focus of Research Research Question Structural CA Sequences of talk Why say that at that moment? Variationist Structural categories within texts Why that form? Speech Acts Communicative acts How to do things with words? Ethnography of Communication Communication as cultural behaviour How does discourse reflect culture? Interactional Sociolinguistics Social and linguistic meanings created during communication What are they doing? Pragmatics Meaning in interaction What does the speaker mean? Functional .


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