• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

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.

Discourse and Grammar
Discourse and grammar

This chapter deals with the relation of discourse to grammar, setting forth what we will call a ‘discourse-functional approach’ to grammatical phenomena. Discourse-functional grammarians view discourse – that is, spoken, signed or written language used by people to communicate in natural settings – as the primary locus for the grammars of the world's languages, not only as the place where grammar is manifested in use, but also as the source from which grammar is formed or ‘emerges’ (Hopper, 1988). In this view, grammar originates in recurrent patterns in discourse, and these patterns continually shape it. This approach to grammar is distinct from what might be called the ‘autonomist’ approach, which views grammar as having an existence entirely independent of its ...

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