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 8: Argumentation
What is Argumentation?
Argumentation uses language to justify or refute a standpoint, with the aim of securing agreement in views. The study of argumentation typically centers on one of two objects: either interactions in which two or more people conduct or have arguments such as discussions or debates; or texts such as speeches or editorials in which a person makes an argument (O'Keefe, 1977). An adequate theoretical approach to argumentation should have something to say about both the process of argumentation and the arguments produced in that process. Consider the following passage, adapted from a syndicated newspaper story (Associated Press, 1993):
- A recent study found that women are more likely than men to be murdered at work. 40% of the women who died ...