What are the structures of discourse and what are the functions of these structures in the communicative context? This volume explains how and why discourse is organized at various levels. The multidisciplinary contributions illustrate that discourse analysis goes far beyond the linguistic answer of designing grammars and goes hand in hand with the study of their uses and functions in the social context. Comprehensive and accessible, the volume covers a huge variety of discourse genres, including written and spoken, and storytelling and argumentation. The chapters also illustrate the necessity to examine the mental processes of the language users: How do people go about producing, understanding and remembering text or talk? The book stresses that both discourse and its mental processing have a social basis and can only be fully understood in relation to social interaction.
Chapter 1: The Study of Discourse
The Study of Discourse
What is Discourse?
This two-volume introduction provides an elaborate answer to the simple question novices tend to ask when they note the ubiquitous presence of the term ‘discourse’ in the humanities, the social sciences and even in the mass media: ‘What exactly is discourse, anyway?’
It would be nice if we could squeeze all we know about discourse into a handy definition. Unfortunately, as is also the case for such related concepts as ‘language’, ‘communication’, ‘interaction’, ‘society’ and ‘culture’, the notion of discourse is essentially fuzzy. As is so often the case for concepts that stand for complex phenomena, it is in fact the whole discipline, in this case the new cross-discipline of discourse studies (also called ‘discourse ...