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Approaches to Discourse

Analysis
Whats it all about?
Leaning to use the
analysis of language
to solve real-life
problems at work, at
school and at home.
Theory and Practical
Application
The D Word
Discourse
Discourse is: language above the sentence
level or above the clause.
Stubbs 1998
The study of discourse is the study of any
aspect of language use.
Fasold 1990
The analysis of discourse is the analysis of
language in useit cannot be restricted to
the description of linguistic forms independent
of the purposes or functions that they serve in
human affairs.
Brown and Yule 1983
Discourse
Discourse is for me more than just language
in use: It is language use, whether speech or
writing, seen as a type of social practice.
Fairclough 1992

Discourse constitutes the socialDiscourse


is shaped by relations of power, and invested
with ideologies.
Fairclough 1992
Big D and Little d
Discourse (non-count) vs.
Discourses
Saying, Doing, Thinking,
Behaving, Believing,
Valuing, Interacting
combinations that show
who we are
(Gee)
The Discourse of medicine
The Discourse of romance
Discourse is
How language reflects reality
How language creates reality
How language shapes our identities and
interactions
How language is used as to tool to
control people
What is the meaning of this
sentence?
Meaning depends on
How
Where
When
To whom
Why
The P Word
Pragmatics

From the Greek pragma meaning deed


How we do things with words
The study of meaning in different contexts of
use
How language is used to do things in real
world situations
Speech act theory
Conversational logic
Discourse Analysis

Multimodal
Discourse
Analysis
Critical Ethnography
Discourse Of
Analysis Speaking

Mediated
Discourse
Discourse
Analysis Analysis

Conversation Genre
Analysis Analysis

Pragmatics
Discourse analysis
An Example
Questions
Who are these people?
What is going on here? What are these people
doing?
What kinds of tools/language are they using to do
it?
Are they being successful/doing it well?
Who has more power in the conversation? How
can you tell?
What do the two people want? What strategies are
they using to get what they want?
Who wins?
Questions
Who are these people?
What is going on here? What are these people doing?
What kinds of tools/language are they using to do it?
Are they being successful/doing it well?
Who has more power in the conversation? How can you
tell?
What do the two people want? What strategies are they
using to get what they want?
Who wins?
The Ethnography of
Communication
Communication as a matter of cultural
competence
Focus on things like setting,
participants, mood, and other kinds of
behavioral rules
What are some of the rules for
complaining to your superior?
Genre Analysis
Communication as using the generic
conventions of a discourse community
Focus on the structure of the interaction
Do moves occur in a predictable way?
Pragmatics
Communication as doing things with
words
Sentence meaning vs. speaker meaning
Politeness Theory
Communication as a way of encoding
social relationships
Focus on Face threatening acts and
Face saving strategies
Conversation Analysis
Communication as joint activity
Attention to the sequential organization
of talk, turn-taking and topic
management
Interactional Sociolinguistics
Communication as a way of signaling social
activities and social identities
Attention to strategies speakers use to signal
activity and identity
Competing frames
Critical Discourse Analysis
Communication as a way of exercising
and resisting power
Focus on existing power relations and
how they are reinforced
Examines underlying assumptions
Asks, who really won?
Multimodal Discourse Analysis
Communication as a matter of
combining multiple modes
Focus not just on words but on
gestures, facial expressions, posture,
proxemics, gaze, object handling,
spatial layout, time and timing
Mediated Discourse Analysis
Communication as a tool for taking action
Focus on actions and the cultural tools that
make them possible
Conclusion
Communication is not just a matter of
words
Communication is a matter of action
Communication is a matter of
relationships and power
Communication creates and re-creates
our social worlds