Introduction To Discourse Analysis

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1.4: An Introduction to Discourse Analysis: Defining discourse depends on the subject area and the contextual use of language. Definition of discourse and discourse analysis depends on the epistemological stance of the theorist. It is used in different disciplines, in different ways, with different contents or the meanings of the concept. Discourse studies both the text and the context. Discourse analysis is essentially multidisciplinary. It involves linguistics, poetics, semiotics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, history, and communication research. Discourse analysts study language in use in relation to social, political and cultural aspects. The term ‘Discourse’ is wide spread. Discourse is language and therefore discourse analysis…show more content…
Discourse analyst investigates what the language is used for. Broadly speaking discourse studies language in use. Discourse is more related with speech than with written document. The main focus in discourse analysis is the study of ‘text’- written and oral. It studies the ‘text’ used in a particular ‘context’. Language is always used in a situational or cultural context. The discourse analysts investigate the meaning in interaction because language is a system of signs and signs are arbitrary. The basic elements of a language for Saussure are signs. Signs unite a sound-image (signifier) and a concept (signified). Saussure is concerned with the arbitrary nature of the sign and it means that there is no natural relationship between signifier and signified. To understand the meaning Saussure insists on the identification of signs within the context. Language comprises a system of linguistic and conceptual forms whose identities are not fixed by reference to objects in the world, but by their internal difference. To understand the relational difference between signs Saussure has introduced the concept of linguistic…show more content…
The distinction we are making between historical narration and discourse does not at all coincide with that between written language and the spoken. Historical utterance is today reserved for the written language, but discourse is written as well as spoken. In practice, one passes from one to the other instantaneously. Each time that discourse appears in the midst of historical narration, for example, when the historian reproduces someone’s words or when [they themselves intervene] in order to comment upon the events reported, we pass to another tense system, that of discourse.” (Benveniste, Problems in General
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