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Discourse Analysis 133
5 Discourse Analysis
5.1 Who Does Discourse Analysis, and Why?
Discourse analysts do what people in their everyday experience of language
do instinctively and largely unconsciously: notice patternings of language in
use and the circumstances (participants, situations, purposes, outcomes) with
which these are typically associated. The discourse analyst's particular con-
tribution to this otherwise mundane activity is to do the noticing consciously,
deliberately, systematically, and, as far as possible, objectively, and to produce
accounts (descriptions, interpretations, explanations) of what their investiga-
tions have revealed.
Since the study of language in use, as a goal of education, a means of
education, and an instrument of social control and social change, is the
principal concern of applied linguistics, indeed its raison d'être, it is easy to
see why discourse analysis has such a vital part to play in the work that
applied linguistics does, and why so much of the work that has been done
over the last few decades on developing the theory and practice of discourse
analysis been done by applied linguists (Widdowson, Candlin, Swales, for
example) or by linguists (notably Halliday and his followers) for whom the
integration of theory and practice is a defining feature of the kind of linguistics
that they do.
Much of the work, but not by any means all. A great deal of discourse
analysis is done by linguists who would not call themselves applied and
much by scholars in other disciplines ­ sociology, psychology, psychotherapy,
for example ­ who would not call themselves linguists. Discourse analysis
is part of applied linguistics but does not belong exclusively to it; it is a
multi-disciplinary field, and hugely diverse in the range of its interests.
For many the interest in discourse is beyond language in use ( Jaworski &
Coupland, 1999, p. 3) to "language use relative to social, political and cultural
formations . . . , language reflecting social order but also language shaping
social order, and shaping individuals' interaction with society."

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Hugh Trappes-Lomax
That this is no overstatement may quickly be demonstrated by indicating
something of the range of discourse-related books published in recent years:
discourse and politics (Schäffner & Kelly-Holmes, 1996; Howarth et al.,
2000); ideologies (Schäffner, 1997), and national identity (Wodak et al.…read more

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Discourse Analysis 135
A: You THREW it so you GET it
B: MOIra + I'll call my MUM
Linguist 1 sees a text ­ the verbal record of a speech event, something
visible, palpable and portable, consisting of various bits of linguistic meaning
(words, clauses, prosodic features, etc.). This linguist is mainly interested
in the way the parts of the text relate to each other to constitute a unit of
meaning.…read more

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Hugh Trappes-Lomax
1 the linguistic, cognitive and social processes whereby meanings are
expressed and intentions interpreted in human interaction (linguist 3);
2 the historically and culturally embedded sets of conventions which
constitute and regulate such processes (linguist 4);
3 a particular event in which such processes are instantiated (linguist 2);
4 the product of such an event, especially in the form of visible text, whether
originally spoken and subsequently transcribed or originally written
(linguist 1).
5.…read more

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Discourse Analysis 137
or less as they intend.…read more

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Hugh Trappes-Lomax
The knowledge that members of communities have of ways of speaking
includes knowing when, where and how to speak, what to speak about,
with whom, and so forth. The idea that we need, in addition to a theory of
grammatical competence, a theory of communicative competence (Hymes,
1972) arises from this fact. Speakers need knowledge not only of what is
grammatically possible but also of what is appropriate and typically done.…read more

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Discourse Analysis 139
(from the teacher). This "IRF" pattern can be detected in other domains, includ-
ing not only other unequal-power institutional domains such as doctor­patient
consultations but also casual conversation (Stubbs, 1983; Tsui, 1994; Eggins
& Slade, 1997, pp. 45­7). In the latter case, the third move (renamed follow-up)
is likely to involve some kind of interpersonally motivated evaluation, for
example a positive gloss on a respondent's declining the initiator's invitation.
Text-linguistics (de Beaugrande & Dressler, 1981; Levinson, 1983, p.…read more

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Hugh Trappes-Lomax
· concerns itself with issues of identity, dominance and resistance, and with
seeking out evidence in text ­ especially (to date) media and advertising
texts, and political documents and speeches ­ of class, gender, ethnic and
other kinds of bias;
· distinguishes crucially between two senses of the word discourse: what
Gee calls "discourse" and "Discourse": the former refers to instances of lan-
guage in use, actual speech events; the latter to (far more abstract) ways of
using language: configurations of things that…read more

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Discourse Analysis 141
from this; predominantly, in that very little quantitative research is actually
done. (Lazaraton, 2002 looked at publications in applied linguistics journals
over the last five years and found very few purely quantitative studies.) The
main exceptions to this statement are the variationist studies of discourse,
especially narrative, associated with Labov, a growing body of corpus-based
discourse studies (see Conrad, 2002 for an overview), and some discourse-
related work in second language acquisition.
Discourse research is mainly qualitative because it is inherently interpretive.…read more

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Hugh Trappes-Lomax
A third way is mechanization. This involves the use of concordancing and
other programs to analyze large corpora of textual data. "When correctly
instructed, computers make it more difficult to overlook inconvenient instances,
and are to that extent a move towards descriptive neutrality. We select what to
look for but should then accept as evidence what the computer finds" (Stubbs,
1994, p. 218; Stubbs, 1996).
When all else fails vigorous debate may help to stimulate reflection and to
clarify contentious issues.…read more


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