DISCOURSE ANALYSIS. Topics in Applied Linguistics [email protected] M. Stubbs' textbook (Stubbs 1983:1),. discourse analysis is defined as concerned with language use beyond the boundaries of a sentence/utterance ,
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Text analysis is the study of formal linguistic devices that distinguish a text from random sentences.
Discourse analysts study these text-forming devices with reference to the purposes and functions for which the discourse was produced, and the context within which the discourse was created. The ultimate goal is to show how the linguistic elements enable language users to communicate.
I will use it in this book to refer mainly to the linguistic analysis of naturally occurring connected speech or written discourse.
Roughly speaking, it refers to attempts to study the organisation of language above the sentence or above the clause, and therefore to study larger linguistic units, such as conversational exchanges or written texts.
It follows that discourse analysis is also concerned with language use in social contexts, and in particular with interaction or dialogue between speakers.
Centrally concerned with the importance of context in the production and interpretation of discourse.
Units of analysis: grammatical and prosodic features in interactions.
Gumperz demonstrated that interactants from different socio-cultural backgrounds may “hear” and understand discourse differently according to their interpretation contextualisation cues in discourse. E.g. intonation contours, ‘speaking for another’, alignment, gender.
Concerned with understanding the social context of linguistic interactions: ‘who says what to whom, when, where. Why, and how’.
Prime unit of analysis: speech event.
Definition: ‘The speech event is to what analysis of verbal interaction what the sentence is to grammar … It represents an extension in the size of the basic analytical unit from the single utterance to stretches of utterances, as well as a shift in focus from … text to … interaction’.
Analysis of these components of a speech event is central to what became known as ethnography of communication or ethnography of speaking, with the ethnographer’s aim being to discover rules of appropriateness in speech events.
Formulates conversational behaviour in terms of general “principles” rather than rules.
At the base of pragmatic approach is to conversation analysis is Gricean’s co-operative principle (CP).
This principle seeks to account for not only how participants decide what to DO next in conversation, but also how interlocutors go about interpreting what the previous speaker has just done.
This principle is the broken down into specific maxims: Quantity (say only as much as necessary), Quality (try to make your contribution one that is true), Relation (be relevant), and manner (be brief and avoid ambiguity).
Major problems: a) lack of systematicity- thus quantitative analysis is impossible; 2) limited I its ability to deal comprehensively with complete, sustained interactions; 3) though offers a powerful interpretation of conversation as dynamic interactive achievement, it is unable to say just what kind of achievement it is.
L & W argue that fundamental narrative structures are evident in spoken narratives of personal experience.
The overall structure of fully formed narrative of personal experience involves six stages: 1) Abstract, 2) Orientation, 3) Complication, 4) Evaluation, 5) Resolution, 6) Coda where 1) and 6) are optional.
The major concern: discourse analysis can turn out into a more general and broader analysis of language functions. Or it will fail to make a special place for the analysis of relationships between utterances.