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5. Discourse Analysis


Subject Linguistics » Applied Linguistics, Discourse Analysis

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405138093.2005.00010.x


Discourse analysts do what people in their everyday experience of language do instinctively and largely unconsciously: notice patternings of language in use and the circumstances (participants, situations, purposes, outcomes) with which these are typically associated. The discourse analyst's particular contribution to this otherwise mundane activity is to do the noticing consciously, deliberately, systematically, and, as far as possible, objectively, and to produce accounts (descriptions, interpretations, explanations) of what their investigations have revealed. Since the study of language in use, as a goal of education, a means of education, and an instrument of social control and social change, is the principal concern of applied linguistics, indeed its raison ďêtre, it is easy to see why discourse analysis has such a vital part to play in the work that applied linguistics does, and why so much of the work that has been done over the last few decades on developing the theory and practice of discourse analysis been done by applied linguists (Widdowson, Candlin, Swales, for example) or by linguists (notably Holliday and his followers) for whom the integration of theory and practice is a defining feature of the kind of linguistics that they do. Much of the work, but not by any means all. A great deal of discourse analysis is done by linguists who would not call themselves applied ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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