33149 Discourse Analysis

Course Description

Discourse Analysis is the study of language use in actual situations of social interaction. This can be in spoken, face-to-face interaction or through the written medium (spoken or textual analysis). Unlike approaches to linguistic analysis that emphasize structural components of language use, the focus in discourse analysis is on how social interaction is done in and through the use of particular language features. Thus, discourse analysis focuses on how people do things with language. The structural features of language are important to the analysis of discourse, but their importance is related to how they contribute to carrying out particular kinds of interaction. Discourse analysis approaches language use as a way of accomplishing particular social objectives within social institutions. In this sense, discourse analysis is the study of social interaction and social structure. The course, therefore, discusses how discourse is interpreted (cohesion, coherence, speech events), conversation analysis, the co-operative principle, background knowledge (schemas and scripts).

Learning Objective

  • • Define the key terms used in the study of discourse analysis
  • • Describe the how language is used in social situations
  • • Explain the relationship between language and social structures • Demonstrate the central role of language in social interaction