Discourse analysis






Definitions of Discourse analysis on the Web:


What is Discourse Analysis? It is a term for a broad area of language study, containing a diversity of approaches with different epistemological roots, and very different methodologies, but, in general, can be defined as a 'set of methods and theories for investigating language in use and language in social contexts' (Wetherell et al. 2001: i). It focuses on the categorizing, performative, and rhetorical features of texts and talk (Antaki et al. 2003; Billig 1987; Billig et al. 1988; Edwards 1997; Potter 1996; Potter and Wetherell 1987). A major foundation of discourse analysis (DA) is in ethnomethodology (Garfinkel 1967), which, broadly, examines the methods used by ordinary folk to make sense of their everyday social world. From this perspective talk is not 'merely about actions, events and situations, it is also a potent and constitutive part of those actions, events and situations' (Potter & Wetherell 1987: 21).


---from http://www.lboro.ac.uk/research/mmethods/resources/links/da_primer.html



The links below will take you to a variety of resources on the topic of discourse analysis. The first two give particularly good background information, linking discourse analysis with a number of related fields of inquiry. You will also find an article where a researcher applies written discourse analysis to the examination of an EFL classroom in Japan. Finally, have a look at the last link for a discussion thread questioning the applicability of discourse analysis for teachers and/or students.





Tattoos, bus tickets, pay slips, street signs, time indications on watch faces, chalked information on blackboards, computer VDU displays, car dashboards, company logos, contracts, railway timetables, television programme titles, teletexts, T-shirt epigrams, 'on'/'off' switches, 10 notes and other bank notes, passports and identity cards, cheques and payslips, the Bible, receipts, newspapers and magazines, road markings, computer keyboards, medical prescriptions, birthday cards, billboard advertisements, maps, Hansard, graffiti on walls, music scores, church liturgies, drivers' licences, birth, marriage and death certificates, voting slips, degree certificates, book-keepers' accounts, stock inventories, cricket scoreboards, credit cards - these and countless other items that involve written language and diagrammatic forms indicate the immensely pervasive, widespread and institutionalised place of texts in our society.”






Like most other methods for the analysis of discursive data, Discourse Analysis is not a coherent paradigm of well-defined procedures, but a proliferated theoretical approach, which covers a broad range of methodological devices.”






“This digest focuses on the application of discourse analysis to second language teaching and learning. It provides examples of how teachers can improve their teaching practices by investigating actual language use both in and out of the classroom, and how students can learn language through exposure to different types of discourse. Detailed introductions to discourse analysis, with special attention to the needs and experiences of language teachers, can be found in Celce-Murcia and Olshtain (2000), Hatch (1992), McCarthy (1992), McCarthy and Carter (1994), and Riggenbach (1999).”







Discourse analysis has now been applied to the study of a wide range of aspects of social life. Indeed, in some areas, such as education, one can find different forms of discourse analysis deployed, and other approaches as well (see N. Mercer “The analysis of talk as data in educational settings’, in Masters Programme in Education: Research Methods in Education Handbook, Milton Keynes, The Open University, 2001). What exactly the ‘application’ of discourse analysis means can vary considerably.






“Connections between sentences and ideas are possible because all texts have

structure. This structure is created through an overall textual pattern, lexical signals,

inter-clause relations, and lexical and grammatical cohesive links (Cook 1989).

However, recognizing this structure and the relations found within the text can be problematic for second language (L2) learners, negatively affecting their language

acquisition. The ability to see how grammar and vocabulary contribute to the linking of

sentences and ideas not only helps in their comprehension of the language but helps

them to develop the ability to use the language in a more fluid manner.”






When efl students look at different texts and look for the similarities or differences they have, this may lead to more sensitivity to how language works at different contexts. I believe that advanced efl students need to develop their analytical skills for fuller understanding of language in context. To do that certain questions have to be raised; questions about the lexical, grammatical, rhetorical, social and cultural dimensions that appear in a text.”






Previous editions of the QUICK RESOURCE SHEET

#1 – Creating quizzes (and more) online                                                         

#2 – Vocabulary builders

#3 – Online discussion groups for English teachers                                    

#4 – Grammar headaches – and how to cure them

#5 – Resources for new teachers                                                     

#6 – International Education Week

#7 – Mentoring programs                                                                    

#8 – Education publications online

#9 – Applied Linguistics                                                                   

#10 – English for Young Learners

#11 – World AIDS Day                                                                      

#12 – Online writing guides

#13 – E-mail exchanges                                                                      

#14 – Free online English courses

#15 – Effective e-mail communication                                             

#16 – Libraries online

#17 – American Studies                                                                     

#18 – Teaching methodologies

#19 – Internet tutorials                                                                       

#20 – Using the newspaper – Part I

#21 – Making books                                                                           

#22 - Using the newspaper – Part II

#23 – Human rights in language teaching

#24 – Blogging

#25 – Poetry and language teaching

#26 – The communicative approach

#27 -  Idioms

#28 – Earth Day

#29 – Alternative assessment

#30 – Peer assessment

#31 – Self-assessment

#32 – Portfolio assessment – Part I

#33 -  Portfolio assessment - Part II (Online Portfolios)

#34 – Intercultural communication

#35 – Teaching Adults

#36 – Learning disorders / Special needs

#37 – Using computers in reading instruction

#38 – Use of authentic materials

#39 – English for Medical Purposes

#40 – Sources for authentic materials

#41 – Education and technology

#42 – Academic writing

#43 – Teaching and stress

#44 – Back to school

#45 – Motivating students

#46 – Action research

#47 – Internet terminology

#48 – Fluency

#49 – Curriculum design

#50 – Pragmatics

#51 - Podcasting for English teachers

#52 – Critical reading

#53 – Learner autonomy

#54 – Scaffolding

#55 – Holidays

#56 – English for Academic Purposes

#57 – Mixed-level classes

#58 – The brain and language learning

#59 – Book clubs/Readers’ groups

#60 – Teachers and technology

#61 – Using video in the language classroom

#62 – Internet-based classroom projects

#63 – Observing student teachers

#64 – Digital literacy

#65 – Group work

#66 – Giving feedback on student writing

#67 – Vlogging

#68 – Educational leadership

#69 – The first five minutes: How to get a class warmed up

#70 – Managing test anxiety

#71 – Developing listening comprehension