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Approaches to Discourse

Class at Faculty of Arts |


* Topics:

Ř Introduction (what is discourse?, approaches to discourse, units of discourse, views of language, context and co-text, discourse phenomena)

Ř Intro to different approaches: relationship btw structure and function, btw text and context, nature of communication

Ř Definitions of discourse (formal vs functional approaches), data collection + transcription conventions

Ř Speech Act Theory (the expressibility principle, taxonomies, conditions, multiple functions)

Ř Pragmatics: cooperative principle, maxims, entailment, presupposition, implicature, relevance

Ř Interactional Sociolinguistics (Gumperz, Goffman) - contextualization cues, Goffman - Politeness Theory

Ř Ethnography of Communication: components of speech

Ř Conversation Analysis: turn-taking, adjacency pairs, structure of conversation, a higher-level structure

Ř Variation Analysis, narrative structure

Ř Registers

Ř Cohesion, Rhetorical Structure Theory

Ř Discourse markers

Critical Discourse Analysis


This course provides an introduction to discourse analysis and the different approaches used in the analysis of discourse.

Discourse here is defined as the study of the organization of language above the sentence level, but also as any manifestation of language in context.

We will start with a general overview of the phenomena included in the study of discourse, and then proceed on to how a number of schools have approached those problems. The main textbook will be supplemented with additional book chapters and articles.

This is a tentative schedule of topics and readings. The schedule might change if we spend more or less time on certain topics, and according to the interests of the students: