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DISCOURSE ANALYSIS Discourse analysis – the study of language in use. The Hallidayan model of language Maxims of conversation. Implicatures of discourse.
Text and Discourse Text as a unit of the highest level manifests itself as discourse in verbal communication. Therefore actual text in use may be defined as discourse. Discourses are formed by sequence of utterances. It is obvious that many utterances taken by themselves are ambiguous. They can become clear only within a discourse.
His soup is not hot enough the semantic representation of the sentence ? he ? Hot? very warm or spicy? his food?
You’re not leaving its explicit propositional content ? a statement, a question or an order ? Utterances have not only propositional content but illocutionary force
A: Would you like some coffee? B: Coffee would keep me awake. Does B want any coffee or not? Utterances have not only explicit content but also implicit import.
Discourse analysis or utterances interpretation involves a variety of processes, grammatical and pragmatic. By pragmatic processes we mean the processes used to bridge up the gap between the semantic representations of sentences and the interpretation of utterances in context.
The Hallidayan model of language The analysis has evolved primarily from the thoughts and ideas of Michael Halliday (1985, 1994), The model was built upon Firth's (1957) development of Malinowski's (1923, 1935) concepts of context of situation and context of culture . The model was developed by Derewianka (2001). It shows the way in which a text is created from context of culture , context of situation and the language system .
Context of culture Any actual context of situation, the particular configuration of field, tenor and mode that has brought the text into being, not just a random jumble of features but a totality – a package, so to speak, of things that typically go together in the culture. People do these things on these occasions and attach these meanings to them; this is what culture is. Halliday and Hasan (1985)
Context of situation Halliday defines its constituent parts, field , tenor mode .
Field refers to the nature of the social action: what it is the interactants are about. refers to what is going on, where what is going on is interpreted institutionally, in terms of some culturally recognized activity. Examples of fields are activities such as tennis, opera, linguistics…When people ask you what you do when first getting to know you, you tend to answer in terms of field
Tenor refers to the statuses and role relationships: who is taking part in the interaction. refers to the way you relate to other people when doing what you do. One aspect of tenor is status…people have power over one another.’ In some particular discourses tenor is of most significance as it is concerned with the power and status of the participants.
Mode refers to ‘the rhetorical channel and function of the discourse: what part the text is playing.’ refers to the channel you select to communicate…speech and writing…e-mail, telephone, radio, television, video, film and so on.’ (Halliday, 1994)
Genre The term has been defined by most writers engaging in text analysis of any kind It is ‘a socially ratified way of using language in connection with a particular type of social activity.’ Fairclough (1995). ‘ [A] genre is a staged, goal oriented, purposeful activity in which speakers engage as members of our culture.’ Martin (2000).
Register is ‘the set of meanings, the configuration of semantic patterns, that are typically drawn upon under the specified conditions, along with the words and structures that are used in the realization of these meanings’ (Halliday, 1978). ‘ The notion of register proposes a very intimate relationship of text to context: indeed, so intimate is the relationship, it is asserted, that the one can only be interpreted by reference to the other. Kress (1985).
Meaning is realised in language (in the form of text), which is thus shaped or patterned in response to the context of situation in which it is used.
Maxims of conversation. It was Paul Grice who attempted to explain how, by means of shared rules or conventions , language users manage to understand one another. He introduced guidelines necessary for the efficient and effective conversation. He defined these guidelines as Cooperative Principle . Cooperative Principle presupposes that conversation is governed by four basic rules, Maxims of Conversation . There are four of them.
Maxims of Conversation 1. The Maxim of Quality Do not say what you believe to be false Do not say for what you lack adequate evidence 2. The Maxim of Quantity Make your contribution as informative as required Do not make your contribution more informative than is required
Maxims of Conversation 3. The Maxim of Relevance Be relevant 4. The Maxim of Manner Be clear Be orderly
Implicatures of discourse. Communicative maxims make it possible to generate inferences which are defined as conversational implicatures conventional implicatures.
Conversational implicatures are such components of an utterance that are not expressed semantically but are understood by communicants in the process of communication: Was it you who broke the cup? Conversational implicatures are universal , they do not depend on the language used.
Conventional implicatures are derived from a definite lexical or grammatical structure of an utterance: I saw only John (conventional implicature – I didn’t see anyone else ), Even Bill is smarter than you ( Everybody is smarter than John, John is stupid ).
Implicatures and indirectness. Both kinds of implicatures are of great interest for discourse analysis. When there is a mismatch between the expressed meaning and the implied meaning we deal with indirectness. Indirectness is a universal phenomenon: it occurs in all natural languages.
Polonius: What do you read, My Lord? Hamlet: Words, words, words. Hamlet deliberately gives less information than is required by the situation and so flouts the Maxim of Quantity. At the same time he deliberately fails to help Polonius to achieve his goals, thereby flouting the Maxim of Relevance.
Law is law, woman is woman, students are students. The Maxim of Quantity is also flouted. This makes us look for what these utterances really mean.
You’re being too smart! the Maxim of Quality is flouted and the hearer is made to look for a covert sense. He is made of iron The same maxim is flouted with metaphors.
A: Can you tell me the time? B: The bell has gone. The Maxim of Relevance can also be responsible for producing a wide range of standard implicatures.
The lone ranger rode into the sunset and jumped on his horse The utterance violates our expectation that events are recounted in the order in which they happen because the Maxim of Manner is flouted.
Politeness Principle Minimize the expression of impolite beliefs; Maximize the expression of polite beliefs. According to G.Leech, the Politeness Principle is as valid as Cooperative Principle because it helps to explain why people do not always observe Maxims of Conversation. A: Would you like to go to the theatre? B: I have an exam tomorrow.
DISCOURSE ANALYSIS Initial analysis Conversation Analysis Critical Discourse Analysis and its levels
Initial analysis Holborow (1991) provides six factors that help to initially assess the context of situation: Setting; Topic/subject/theme; Activity/activities of speech participants (equal or dominating); Addressor/addressee identities (social, personal, age, sex, etc.); Addressor/addressee relationships (boss/employee, mother/child, teacher/student, etc.); Socio-cultural context (shared assumptions about behaviour, rules and norms, seen to be appropriate by the interlocutors ).
Conversation Analysis (CA) is an ethnomethodoligical approach to analysing discourse, has its origins in sociology. Eggins and Slade (1997) list three major drawbacks of CA: ‘its lack of systematic analytical categories, its “fragmentary” focus, and its mechanistic interpretation of conversation.’
Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) Fairclough (1995) is the study of often opaque relationships of causality and determination between (a) discursive practices, events and texts, and (b) wider social and cultural structures, relations and processes; to investigate how such practices, events and texts arise out of and are ideologically shaped by relations of power and struggles over power; to explore how the opacity of these relationships between discourse and society is itself a factor securing power.
Eclectic analysis Eggins and Slade (1997) is essential in dealing with the complexities of casual talk. has three main stages of analysis which respectively look at three different levels of discourse: mood choice at the lexico-grammatical level, Appraisal analysis at the semantic level and exchange structure analysis at the ‘discourse’ level.
Semantic or Appraisal analysis represents an attempt to analyse texts at the discourse semantic level, Halliday (1985, 1994), is used to address how interpersonal meanings are constructed within a text and between the participants. is used to examine the different values within a text that work to create interpersonal meanings. These values are considered to be Appraisal item s
An Appraisal item i s any item that carrie s some degree of interpersonal meaning, expressing attitude towards the world or the other participant in the text. is ‘the semantic resources used to negotiate emotions, judgements, and valuations, alongside resources for amplifying and engaging with these evaluations.
The stages of Appraisal analysis to identify all of the Appraisal items in the text to divide t he Appraisal items into one of three main categories.
ATTITUDE Values of Judgement are categorised as assessments of human behaviour by reference to social norms. The system of Judgement is ‘concerned with language which criticises or praises, which condemns or applauds the behaviour – the actions, deeds, sayings, beliefs, motivations etc – of human individuals and groups.’ White, 2002 .
Judgement S ocial esteem S ocial sanction N ormality T enacity C apacity V eracity P ropriety
But you still want a full public inquiry, don’t you? Yes. I do, yes. These culprits need to be brought to justice. The culprits who sent the racist hate mail? The culprits who sent the racist hate mail and the people who covered up for them.
ATTITUDE Affect items are described as being those which describe the speaker’s attitude towards emotional states. The category of Affect is ‘concerned with emotional response and disposition and is typically realised through mental processes of reaction’ White (2002)
Affect items can be of two main types: irrealis Affect and realis Affect . Values of Affect , like all ATTITUDE items may be positive or negative in their evaluation.
Affect Irrealis Affect is concerned with the future and unrealised actions and ‘states rather than present ones.’ White (2000). It has only one sub-category, dis/inclination . Realis Affect values can be described as reactions to a stimulus, and have three sub-categories, which are: un/happiness, in/security and dis/satisfaction .
And then when constables started saying ‘well hang on, we’re fearing what’s going to happen.’ And I just want to move forward and get on with my career. At, at the time I wasn’t bitter at all. I mean I was quite happy with my career.
ATTITUDE Values of Appreciation are defined as those which refer to the speaker’s ‘evaluation of objects and products…by reference to aesthetic principles and other systems of social value.’ White (2001). Appreciation are concerned with positive and negative assessments of objects, artefacts, processes and states of affairs rather than with human behaviour.
Appreciation R eaction C omposition V aluation I mpact Q uality B alance C omplexity
GRADUATION is defined by White (2002) as ‘Values by which (1) speakers graduate (raise or lower) the interpersonal impact, force or volume of their utterances, and (2) by which they graduate (blur or sharpen) the focus of their semantic categorisations.
Three sub-categories of AMPLIFICATION/ GRADUATION Enrichment , which ‘involves a speaker adding an additional colouring to a meaning when a core, neutral word could be used.’ Augmenting , which ‘involves amplifying attitudinal meaning’ Mitigation , which attempts, as it suggests, to mitigate attitudinal meaning.
It MUST have a corrosive effect on you, doesn’t it, after a while? You’re putting in for application after application, job after job, course after course. I applied for a driving course, just a SIMPLE, BASIC, driving course.
ENGAGEMENT Values of ENGAGEMENT are ‘concerned with the linguistic resources which explicitly position a text’s proposals and positions inter-subjectively. is ‘the name given to a range of semantic systems which offer interactants ways to realize, construct and vary the level of intimacy of an interaction.’
Four subsystems of INVOLVEMENT “ naming” ; technicality ; swearing ; slang or anti-language . These factors are more common in multi-party talk .
Tim Sebastian: Gurpal Virdi, a very warm welcome to the programme. Gurpal Virdi: Thank you very much, Tim. The INVOLVEMENT items are: ‘I mean’, ‘That’s like’, ‘You know’ ‘I’ll be honest with you’, and ‘Let’s’.
Exchange structure analysis is the most suitable for assessing the effects of context on register. The model has forty-four possible speech function codings . The model is used to separate the text into moves of various natures, and these moves are then further divided into speech functions. The end of a move is a point of possible turn transfer, that is a place where a speaker could stop without turn transfer being seen as an interruption.
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