English Language Discourse

the basics of discourse

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  • Created by: Shauni
  • Created on: 15-05-12 21:00

Narrative Categories:

six key categories developed by Labov which appear in narrative- generally in a set order.

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External Evaluation:

an evaluative comment outside the narrative sequence.

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Internal Evaluation:

an evaluative comment occurring at the same time as events in the narrative sequence.

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Intensifying Evaluation:

adding detail and vividness.

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Explicative Evaluation:

explaining reasons for narrative events.

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Conversation Analysis:

the analysis of structure and features of conversation.

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Adjacency Pair:

two utterances by different speakers which have a natural and logical link, and complete an idea together; a simple structure of two turns.

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Exchange Structure:

 a series of turns between speakers.

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the sharing of speaking roles, usually cooperatively.

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Initiation-Response-Feedback (IRF)

a triadic structure in speech that allows the first speaker to feed back on the response of a second speaker.

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Insertion Sequence:

 an additional sequence in the body of an exchange structure.

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Transition Relevance Point:

a point at which it is natural for another speaker to take a turn.

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Topic Management:

the control of the conversation in terms of speaking and topic.

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Powerful Participant:

those who hold some degree of status in a conversation and can to some extent control its direction and the potential of speakers to contribute.

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Discourse Structure:

The way texts are organised and put together.

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List/ Instructions:

logical progression through stages, use of imperative verbs to instruct, guide.





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Identifies a problem


Product advertisement

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Breaks down key ideas into constituen parts

evaluates and explores


Academic articles

Newspaper editorials

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Details a series of events, can be chronological or non-chronological



Witness accounts

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Six-part structure for oral narrative-

Abstract- indication narrative is about to start and the speaker wants the listeners attention.

Orientation- the 'who', 'where', 'what' and 'why' of the narrative. This set the scene and provides further contextual information for the listener.

Complicating action- the main body providing a range of narrative detail.

Resolution- the final events and 'rounding off' to give the narrative closure.

Evaluation- additions to the basic story, to highlight attitudes or to command the listeners' attention at important moments.

Coda- a sign that the narrative is complete. This might include a return to the initial time frame before the narrative.

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