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 10: Discourse Semiotics
Definition and Delimitation of the Field
The common-sense notion that language is the medium of representation and communication is still deeply entrenched in Western literate societies. It is common sense both in theory and in the lives of our everyday. In the humanities nothing matches the prestige of the academic disciplines founded on language or concerned with its investigation. They resist even now considering non-language materials as essential sources and materials for their activities.
Over the last two decades or so this common sense has come under sustained attack from two sources, one theoretical and one empirical. The former originated in the broad field of postmodernism, with the writings of Jacques Derrida (1976) particularly important. Feminist theory has launched a sustained attack on ...