Norman Fairclough Theory

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British linguist Norman Fairclough is one of the founders of critical language study, CLS, where he attempts to show that language is very closely interconnected to power. Language has two ways in which it connects to power - it both arises out of and reinforces certain types of power and showcases different types of power (Fairclough, 2001, p. 1). Norman Fairclough however distances himself from the likes of previous theorists like Saussure. Fairclough strays away from the terms langue and parole in favor of discourse. He claims that in his eyes language is beyond a doubt socially determined (Fairclough, 2001, p. 5). In this theory language can play different types of roles in relations to social practice; as a part of society, social…show more content…
This basically means that language is a social practice which is determined by social structures (Fairclough, 2001, p. 14). The term discourse, entails that whilst looking at that exact language part of language but the emphasis must lie on the fact that language use is socially determined. Further distancing himself from the likes of Saussure, Fairclough distinguishes that conventions of language are not unitary and homogenous. They are on the contrary determined by diversity and power struggle (Fairclough, 2001, p.…show more content…
The whole is society, and language is one strand of the social. And whereas all linguistic phenomena are social, not all social phenomena are linguistic – though even those that are not linguistic (economic production, for instance) typically have a substantial, and often underestimated, language element” (Fairclough, 2001, p. 19). Apart from the linguistic and social codependence another way of looking at language as a social practice is looking at what distinguishes discourse from the term text. To approach this Fairclough uses text in much the same way as linguist Michael Halliday. In general, his consensus is that “a text is a product rather than a process – a product of the process of text production” (Fairclough, 2001, p. 20). As opposed to this discourse is the entirety of the process in which the text is just a part. There are three factors when looking at this particular process, besides text there is the process of production and the process of interpretation. When looking at the specific text it can have two main functions; “The formal properties of a text can be regarded from the perspective of discourse analysis on the one hand as traces and on the other hand as cues in the process of interpretation” (Fairclough, 2001, p. 20). This goes to show that text analysis is merely part of discourse
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