Discourse Analysis: What is Discourse?

 Language in use, which is used to

investigating language functions along with its forms, produced both orally and in writing.
∞ It is the identification of linguistic

communicate and is, felt to be coherent.

qualities of various genres; vital for their recognition and interpretation, together with cultural and social aspects which support its comprehension, is the domain of discourse analysis.
∞ It

is the branch of linguistics dealing with the examination of discourse attempts to find patterns in communicative products as well as their correlation with the circumstances in which they occur, which are not explainable at the grammatical level. (Carter 1993:23)

Types of Discourse:

 A continuous stretch of language

Φ Compound – contains sections belonging to two or more kinds of discourse. Φ Expository – explains or describes a topic.
Φ Hortatory – an attempt to persuade

larger than a sentence, often constituting a coherent unit, such as sermon, argument, joke or narrative.’ (Crystal:1992)  Cook (1989) defines discourse as stretches of language perceived to be meaningful, unified and purposive. Origin of Discourse: ∞ Discourse analysis is primarily (a) linguistic study examining the use of language by its native population whose major concern is

the addressee to fulfill commands that are given in the discourse. It typically consists of (1) one or more commands that are logically related to each other and (2) expressions offering motivation in support of the respective commands. Φ Narrative – an account of events, usually in the past, that employs verbs of speech, motion and action

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to describe a series of events that are contingent (to) one another.
Φ Procedural


– used to tell the addressee how to do something presents a series of steps leading to a goal and centers on events that are contingent (to) one another. -

Φ Repartee – used to recount a series of speech exchanges.

It is a form of discourse analysis that focuses on psychological themes. It was developed in the 1990’s by Jonathan Potter and Derek Edwards at Loughborough University. It also focuses on talk as action (Edward 1997), rather than a reflection of action. Discourse psychology is concerned with that memory does in interaction – how a version of the past is constructed in order to sustain an action.

Why discourse analysis?

It is a way of understanding social interactions. According to M. Stubbs, it is language use beyond the boundaries of a sentence. It is interrelationships between language and society and, interactive or dialogic properties or everyday communication. Discourse analysis foregrounds language use as a social action, language use as a situated performance, language use as tied to social relations and identities, power, inequality and social struggle, language use as essentially a matter of “practices” rather that “structures”.

b) Critical Linguistic and Critical Discourse Analysis

They focus on the following: The participants, what their relationships, their goals and what writers and speakers mean (interpretation).

Within Critical Linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), the central concern is with the social conditions, rather that discursive action. (Roger Fowler, 1991:5), in a discussion of the “different goals and procedures” of different branches of linguistics, describes Critical Linguistics as an ‘enquiry into the relations between signs, meanings and the social and historical conditions which govern the semiotic structure of discourse.’ CDA is concerned with ‘understanding the nature of power and dominance’ and how ‘discourse contributes to their production’ (van Dijk 2001: 301-302). For both approaches, textual context is crucial. Suitable


Approaches To Analyze Discourse:

a) Discourse Psychology

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data for analysis, examining how language legitimates social control, include documents, textbooks, media texts and broadcasts. c) Conversation Analysis

An approach to study of natural conversation especially with a view to determining the participants method on: o Turn-taking

It broadly examines the methods people use to make sense of their everyday social world. It explains ‘the minutiae of naturally occurring conversations represented in verbatim transcript’ (Potter & Wetherell 1987:81), looking at accounts in context, and in terms of sequential organization, in order to identify systematic properties in talk.

Constructing sequences of utterance across turns and problems

o Identifying repairing and,

o Employing gaze and movement (how conversation works in different conversational setting)

d) Sociolinguistics

A method which tends to be disconnected from ordinary talk and social context (de Beaugrande 1996). Within linguistics different strands of the discipline have different aims and different procedures. Traditional approaches treat language as a set of precise rules which must be followed in order to facilitate efficient communication. This view focuses on the structure of language units (including sounds), and conventionally involves using invented sentences to illustrate how these rules work.

Basic Structure:
a. Turn-taking organization –

set of practices by which a conversation is done in and through turns. Turn0taking is one of the fundamental organizations of conversation. Accordingly, the turntaking system consists of two components:
i. Turn-Constructional

component: describes basic units known as TCU’s (Turn-Constuctional Units)
 Unit


Focus on Conversation Analysis:


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lexical, clausal, phrasal and sentential. (Note: They are grammatically and pragmatically complete units, meaning that in a particular context they accomplish recognizable social actions. ii. Turn-Allocational Components: describes how turns are allocated among participants in a conversation. There are three ordered options:  Current speaker selects Next speaker.  Next speaker selects self as next speaker or
 Next

Reported by: SERINO, Alain Delon L. English 42 EDE Summer 2010-2011

speaker continues being Current Speaker.

b. Sequence Organization –

concerns how actions are ordered in conversation.

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