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Review of  The Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis

Reviewer: Amy Aisha Brown
Book Title: The Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis
Book Author: James Paul Gee Michael Handford
Publisher: Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
Discourse Analysis
Book Announcement: 23.3376

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EDITORS: Gee, James Paul; Handford, Michael
TITLE: The Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis
SERIES: Routledge Handbooks in Applied Linguistics
PUBLISHER: Routledge
YEAR: 2011

Amy Aisha Brown, International College, Ningbo University, China


The Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis contains an impressive 46 different
contributions (47 if the editors’ introductory chapter is included) from some 59
authors. Following the Introduction, the remaining 46 contributions are divided
into six loose parts. The contributions cover various aspects of Discourse
Analysis (DA), including introductions to the major approaches and
demonstrations of how DA is actualised in real-world contexts.

The Introduction skips a long-winded summary of the other contributions in the
volume in favour of a short introduction to the basic notion of DA and an
explanation of the social nature of discourse. By demonstrating the latter
point, the editors highlight the relevance of DA to both linguistics and the
wider social sciences, and in turn, establish the interdisciplinary approach of
the volume as a whole.

Part I: Approaches to Discourse Analysis

In Chapter 1, Norman Fairclough introduces critical discourse analysis. He
focuses on outlining the concepts and methodology of the particular version of
critical discourse analysis he has been using in his most recent research, and
by situating this within critical social analysis and arguing that this requires
critical discourse analysis to be integrated within trans-disciplinary research
frameworks, he immediately addresses the interdisciplinary focus of the volume
noted in the editors’ introductory chapter.

In Chapter 2, Mary J. Schleppegrell provides an overview of systemic functional
linguistics. She outlines the roots of systemic functional linguistics theory
and notes the kinds of research questions it can be employed to answer. She then
provides a synopsis of the two main branches of current research in the area,
stemming from the works of Ruqaiya Hasan and J. R. Martin. She follows with an
extensive survey of the contexts systemic functional linguistics has been used
to explore, and then with the contributions it has made to DA.

In Chapter 3, Gunther Kress follows with calls for a more inclusive view of what
is termed and analysed as discourse in his discussion of multimodal discourse
analysis. His use of salient examples demonstrates what a broader interpretation
of discourse can bring to DA. For example, with the simple comparison of two
signs that provide directions to supermarket car parks, Kress effectively
demonstrates, amongst other things, that the analysis of multiple modes is an
operational means of seeing meaning beyond the obvious functionality of the signs.

In Chapter 4, Joanna Thornborrow surveys the principles, methods, and findings
of narrative analysis from the fields of sociolinguistics, discourse pragmatics,
and conversation analysis. Her contribution starts with a discussion of
narrative as discursive activity. She then demonstrates the relevance of
narrative in institutional settings with examples from TV talk shows and legal
discourse, and concludes with the notion that “narrative is a primary discursive
resource across many contexts for human social interaction” (p. 64).

In Chapter 5, Suzie Wong Scollon and Ingrid de Saint-Georges write about
mediated discourse analysis. In a similar fashion to the preceding chapter, they
introduce the concept and key studies in the area, before discussing theoretical
underpinnings, the unit of analysis (social groups or classes), and their
reasoning for starting analysis based on instantiations of social action. With
an example of research undertaken on census enumeration, they demonstrate how
analysis is undertaken through engaging with, navigating, and changing the nexus
of practice.

In Chapter 6, Jay L. Lemke aims to “expand and complicate [the] sense of what is
involved in discourse and multimedia analysis” (p.85). He provides a personal
history of how his research into the discourse of science classrooms led him to
understand that the meanings being made within them were neither limited to the
texts of the classroom, nor understandable as separate from them. He aligns this
with the theoretical framework of social semiotics and the idea that “all
meaning making is … multimodal” (p. 82) and takes place across semiotic systems,
media, and texts.

In Chapter 7, Jennifer Coates introduces gender and discourse analysis, charting
how our understanding of both language and gender has changed since the feminist
movement of the 1970s and how methodologies have shifted with theoretical
frameworks. Looking at more recent work, she discusses how gender is understood
in the prevailing paradigm of social constructionism, looks at the position of
discourse in the field of queer linguistics, and examines recent work that
focuses on how ideologies of gender and language feature in everyday interactions.

In Chapter 8, Jonathan Potter presents the topic of discursive psychology and
discourse analysis. He outlines the field and its relation to DA and psychology
in general, describes its main principles (discourse is action orientation, it
is situated, and it is constructed and constructive), and its methodological
procedures. He then focuses on three studies to demonstrate how discursive
psychology works as an approach before concluding with a discussion of
contemporary debates, situating discursive psychology in contrast to more
typical approaches.

In Chapter 9, Steven E. Clayman and Virginia Teas Gill give an introduction to
the methods of conversation analysis. They start by outlining how data is
optimally gained, recorded, and transcribed. They then describe the process of
data analysis by looking at ways into the data, ways of grounding the analysis,
and ways of building a collection of cases. They conclude by acknowledging the
importance of conversation analysis in applied contexts but also emphasise the
importance of general research on talk in interaction that often forms the basis
of the former.

In Chapter 10, Jürgen Jaspers introduces the function of DA in interactional
sociolinguistics, the study of “the language of people in face-to-face
interaction” (p. 135). Key studies in the area are highlighted and it is noted
that a central theme has been miscommunication in western workplace settings,
especially between people of different backgrounds in gatekeeping situations. He
goes on to explain how interactional sociolinguistics fits into a social
constructionist view of discourse and then gives a brief description of how it
is carried out and of the contributions it can make.

In Chapter 11, Graham Smart introduces two traditions to discourse-oriented
ethnography: interpretive ethnography and ethnography of communication. The two
traditions are outlined with regard to their theoretical bases, the kinds of
questions they answer and the research they produce. The chapter ends with an
informative description of how Smart’s own ethnographic study of practices at
the Bank of Canada evolved.

In Chapter 12, Justin B. Richland, following the work of others in the area,
seeks to bring the two traditions of DA and linguistic anthropology closer
together. While noting exceptions, he suggests that DA usually aims to
demonstrate what language tells us about society, whilst linguistic anthropology
takes the other side of the language--culture/society dialectic, looking more at
what culture and society say about language. He provides an example of his own
research into the legal discourses and practices of the Hopi Indian Nation in
order to demonstrate how both sides of this dialectic might be given equal

In Chapter 13, Lynne Flowerdew closes the section with a discussion of
corpus-based DA. She starts by noting the ontological and epistemological
differences between traditional notions of corpus analysis and DA but seeks as
her basis the examination of where the two have come to share common ground. She
overviews three approaches to corpus-based DA: textual, critical, and
contextual. To conclude, she looks at recent developments in the field, with a
focus on the challenges the multi-modal view to discourse presents.

Part II: Register and genre

In Chapter 14, Douglas Biber introduces the description of register. After an
initial explanation of how linguistic features, situational/contextual features,
and the interrelation of these two areas are looked at when analyzing register,
he discusses how corpora can be utilised in register studies. He follows with an
example of the register analysis of e-mails that illustrate how situational
differences (such as the relationship between participants) suggest registers
within registers. He moves on to discuss register analysis at the macro level by
looking at multi-dimensional studies. That is, how variation across, rather than
within registers is studied through the quantitative analysis of co-occurrence
patterns in corpora.

In Chapter 15, David Rose outlines the principles of the genre approach to DA of
the so-called Sydney School. He begins with an outline of how context is modeled
in the approach, followed by a discussion of some of the genres thus far
described by it: story genres; explanations, reports and procedures; arguments;
and text responses. He finishes with a brief discussion of how such research
relates to genre-based pedagogy.

In Chapter 16, Charles Bazerman provides a perspective of genres as a part of
social action. He focuses on the written form, suggesting that it holds little
intrinsic meaning but is able to bear the weight of meaning and bring order to
communication when the social action for which it is utilised is understood.
Genres, it is suggested, hold an important role in this process. He discusses
the typification of genre as a process of category formation, demonstrates how
these categories play a role in the creation and transmission of knowledge,
outlines issues of socialisation and cognitive development, and summarises
implications of the perspective for DA.

In Chapter 17, Vijay Bhatia, again with a focus on writing, looks at the
analysis of professional genres in the pursuit of understanding professional
practice and culture. He provides an overview of research in the area but also
(re)presents his multiperspective genre analytical framework as a way of
expanding on traditional practice by taking into account both internal features
of the text and external factors such as the socio-pragmatic space in which the
texts work. The framework is illustrated with an analysis of a letter.

In Chapter 18, Almut Koester and Michael Handford present the field of spoken
professional discourse. By way of introduction they outline three main
approaches to analyzing genre as well as detailing some studies that have used
corpus analysis in undertaking it. They then discuss ways in which genre has
usefully been theorised before illustrating two contrasting approaches to spoken
professional genres: genre as communicative purpose and genre as staged practice.

Part III: Developments in spoken discourse

In Chapter 19, Winnie Cheng and Pheonix Lam focus on prosody. To outline this
they provide an overview of a discourse intonation model, using examples from a
corpus of spoken English to illustrate the four systems of the framework:
prominence, tone, key, and termination. They conclude by emphasising the
situation-specific, rather than sentence-specific, nature of intonational
choices speakers make, and that, while spontaneous, the patterns in these
choices make its investigation valuable as a key to further understanding spoken

In Chapter 20, Paula Buttery and Michael McCarthy introduce lexis in discourse.
They first establish the function of lexis in register, overviewing how corpora
are used to quantitatively demonstrate differences between the spoken and
written lexicon. Noting that quantitative differences in distributions “do not
account for contributions of lexis to discourse” (p. 288), they discuss the
notion of lexical chunks (multiword items with integrated meanings) in relation
to discourse as well as the functions of lexis in the creation of cohesion in

In Chapter 21, Paul J. Hopper focuses on emergent grammar, a theory that posits
that “linguistic structure is a process that unfolds in real time” (p. 301). He
starts with an historical overview of the theory, explaining that emergent
grammar grew out of paradoxical issues with conceiving grammar as a fixed
system. This is followed by an explanation of the points in favour of viewing
grammar from the emergentist’s perspective. Examples of emergent grammar are
then provided followed by discussions of what the perspective has brought to
light, such as the idea that traditional linguistic categories appear to be
transitory, emerging from use rather than a priori. The chapter concludes by
situating emergent grammar within the context of recent language theories.

In Chapter 22, Sarah Atkins and Ronald Carter examine linguistic creativity and
the identification of it in everyday language. As is explained at the start of
the chapter, they see creative language not only as something that resides in
conventional literary domains, but as a feature of everyday, co-constructed
language. Through a specific case study of the casual conversation of a group of
friends, they show how the analysis of striking examples of linguistic
creativity such as puns and re-formed song lyrics can shed light on the social
functions of creativity.

In Chapter 23, Mary M. Juzwik discusses narrative in spoken discourse. The need
to be explicit in defining the everyday term narrative is the focus of the first
section, and this is highlighted again in the introduction to some methods of
transcribing spoken narrative. The following sections introduce areas informing
current narrative DA (literary studies, psychology, folklore and anthropology,
and sociolinguistics respectively), with each section highlighting the kinds of
analyses that might be undertaken with the tools of the tradition being described.

In Chapter 24, Lynne Cameron, outlines the analysis of metaphor in spoken
(especially spontaneous) discourse from a discourse perspective. She provides an
historical perspective of ideas about metaphor, and an extract from her data set
is examined to illustrate some of the features of metaphor in spontaneous spoken
discourse. A survey of issues brought to light through the analysis of
linguistic metaphor is given followed by an outline of the approach and method
used in some of Cameron’s recent research into social science problems.

In Chapter 25, Wallace Chafe discusses the association between sounds and
thoughts. Using examples from a previous study, he explains the independence of
thoughts from language, discusses evidence for the nature of thoughts, and then
looks at the processes by which thoughts become semantic structures and semantic
structures become syntactic. The argument presented is that the lack of
one-on-one correspondence of semantic and syntactic structures means that
analyses focusing on syntax alone are insufficient. The final part of the
chapter discusses two areas where a move towards the author’s perspective might
be beneficial.

Part IV: Educational applications

In Chapter 26, James Paul Gee opens this section with an introduction to the
field of new literary studies. He starts by outlining how dissatisfaction with
the idea of literacy as the knowledge of reading and writing lead to
re-evaluations of it in a sociocultural light. He outlines the basic argument of
new literary studies by demonstrating that reading and writing have little
meaning if taken outside of the contexts in which they are used. As a means of
presenting the key arguments and approaches in the field, three founding studies
from the field are surveyed.

In Chapter 27, Amy B. M. Tsui follows with an account of ethnographic studies of
classroom discourse. The chapter introduces ethnography and then turns to
explore characteristics of the more recent practice of using ethnographic
approaches to study classroom discourse. Major themes of such studies are
surveyed and a number of issues (mostly methodological relating to ethnography
as a whole) that need to be addressed for ethnographic studies to be viewed as
significant are highlighted.

In Chapter 28, Karen Thompson and Kenji Hakuta focus on bilingual education.
They introduce various issues surrounding bilingual education in the United
States, India, and Guatamala respectively as a way of reminding the reader that
classroom talk “is a microcosm in which societal struggles about language and
national identity play out (p. 399). They discuss important theoretical
frameworks that have been used for analysis in the area, with a focus on
explaining the contribution DA can make as a means of connecting bilingual talk
to wider socio-cultural factors, and they overview work on language, power, and
code switching in bilingual education.

In Chapter 29, Ken Hyland closes the section with a discussion of DA with
reference to English for academic purposes (EAP). He introduces the development,
goals, and scope of teaching EAP, summarizing it as “specialized English
language teaching grounded in the social, cognitive and linguistic demands of
academic target situation and informed by an understanding of texts and of the
constraints of academic contexts” (p. 414). The chapter explores some of the
main contributions DA has made to the area of EAP, discuss Hyland’s work in this
area, provides an analysis of self mention in academic texts to provide an
illustrative example, and presents areas in which DA research is likely to
impact on EAP in the future.

Part V: Institutional applications

In Chapter 30, Elsa Simões Lucas Freias seeks to illustrate the rewards of
studying the discourse of advertisements. The chapter starts with an overview of
why ads have been overlooked as a discourse type in the past and an explanation
of some of the insight studying them can provide. A background to studies into
advertising discourse is then provided followed by an examination of issues that
arise in ad analyses, such as the problems of capturing their
multimodal/multimedia nature. How such issues might be taken into account is
then addressed through the analysis of a language school advertising campaign.

In Chapter 31, Anne O’Keeffe takes up the topic of media discourse. The
discussion begins by outlining the nature of media discourse and the reasons why
it is valuable as an object of study. The chapter progresses to discuss how
print and spoken media have respectively been studied before a demonstration of
the benefits of using a corpus-based approach to aid analyses, including
critical discourse analyses, is provided. Considering the changes that are
currently taking place in how and who dictates media, the final part of the
chapter provides some ideas for a reconceptualisation of media participation

In Chapter 32, Hiromasa Tanaka and Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini discuss the new
body of research that falls under the label Asian business discourse(s) (ABDs).
The chapter starts by introducing the study of business discourse before turning
more specifically to characterising ABDs analysis for the reader. Drawing on
research into Japanese business interaction, they survey some of the
contributions ABDs and DA have made to one another, arguing, “the
multi-dimensionality of ABDs requires a commensurate epistemological and
methodological response” (p. 459). After further explanation of this, they
provide an illustrative analysis of a Japanese business before concluding with
four key issues for researchers to reflect upon.

In Chapter 33, Kevin Harvey and Svenja Adolphs engage with the interrelation
between discourse and healthcare. They define health communication and provide a
brief survey of significant studies in the area, noting that most research has
focused on medical exchanges between professionals (usually doctors) and
patients. With reference to examples, they demonstrate what analyses of such
interactions can reveal about discursive practices. Prior to the concluding
remarks that stress the potential for such analyses to help bring about “more
equitable and humane practices in healthcare” (p. 479), the benefits of
complementing more usual qualitative methods with a corpus-based approach are

In Chapter 34, Edward Finegan examines legal discourse. He starts with an
explanation of the many areas that fall under the term and then, in order to
demonstrate what the analysis of legal discourse can reveal about the impact
such discourse has on the lives of ordinary people, he focuses on three types of
it: lay litigants courtroom talk; talk from the cross-examination of a rape
victim in a trial; and the discourse of appellate courts. While highlighting the
social importance of such discourse, and thus its analysis, the chapter also
points out some of the difficulties associated with conducting DA in the area.

In Chapter 35, Janet Holmes and Julia de Bres provide an insight into the
relationship between ethnicity and humour in the workplace. They ground the
discussion with an overview of research in the area of humour in the workplace,
look at what falls under the term ethnic humour, discuss the small body of
research that looks at ethnicity and humour in the workplace, and illustrate how
a DA approach can be utilised in understanding humour in workplace contexts
through their own study of discourse in a Māori workplace.

In Chapter 36, Louise Mullany concludes the section with a consideration of
approaches to studying gender and discourse in professional communication as a
means of explaining gender-based social or political problems. She underlines
some of the issues that have been the focus of previous research and explains
key theoretical concepts. Utilising examples from her own and additional
research, Mullany demonstrates how the aforementioned theoretical concepts and
approaches play out in analyses and what such analyses can illuminate.

Part VI: Identity, culture and discourse

In Chapter 37, Ruth Wodak starts the section by introducing political discourse.
She briefly outlines significant issues in studies of politics and/in politics
before delineating the one aspect of political discourse practice that she
focuses on in the chapter, the day-to-day activities of politicians in the
various institutions in which they work. A discussion of relevant approaches to
studying the area is presented before Wodak puts forward an illustrated example
of her own integrated approach to the study of behind-the-scenes politics, which
takes from various other approaches such as the critical discourse studies
related discourse historical approach.

In Chapter 38, Yueguo Gu contends with discourse geography, which is the study
of the interplay between discourse (as language-in-action), and space and time.
The focus of the chapter is on land-borne situated discourse, and this and other
salient terms are defined before the ways in which space and time have featured
in previous linguistics research is outlined. The main body of the chapter seeks
to summarise land-borne situated discourse and human spatial-temporal behaviour
from the viewpoint of individual actors and from the system’s or collective
standpoint, respectively.

In Chapter 39, William L. Leap turns to highlighting contributions queer
linguistics-based analyses of sexuality and related issues can make. The chapter
offers a brief introduction to the field of queer linguistics, before an example
from the author’s study of Cape Town’s sexual geography is used to demonstrate
that texts need to be read not only with issues of sexuality in mind, but also
with consideration to how those issues interplay with broader discursive
practices and power structures. Projects using queer linguistics-based
approaches are surveyed and the some of the understandings gained from them are

In Chapter 40, Helen Spencer-Oatey, Hale Işik-Güler, and Stefanie Stadler
discuss issues related to intercultural communication. The first section focuses
on message construction between interlocutors in intercultural discourse, the
second section turns to the management of rapport in intercultural interaction,
and the third part focuses on ways identity and intercultural discourse are
theorised. The chapter ends with a call for more cross-disciplinary work, a
greater focus on the nature of successful rather than problematic interaction,
and more close corroboration with professionals to increase insights and social
relevance of intercultural communication research.

In Chapter 41, Teun A. van Dijk discusses the relationship between discourse and
knowledge. He summarises properties of knowledge relevant to the sociocognitive
theory of natural knowledge the chapter outlines and provides a brief
explanation of the theoretical notions of mental and context models, and a
digest of the strategies involved in discourse construction and comprehension
highlights the importance of contextual knowledge. The pervasiveness of
knowledge in discourse structures, production and comprehension is then
demonstrated through an epistemic analysis of Presidents Obama’s inaugural speech.

In Chapter 42, David R. Olson argues for a reinstatement of narrative to a place
of prestige in the human sciences in his discussion of the relationship between
narrative, cognition, and rationality. After introducing basic concepts, the
remainder of the chapter focuses on the contrast between narrative and
paradigmatic discourse, with a basis in the claim that different modes of
discourse require distinct modes of thought, and that rationality need to be
reconceptualised through a recognition of these distinctive modes. Flaws in the
way rationality has been conceived in previous research are established before a
discourse model of reasoning is presented.

In Chapter 43, Adrian Blackledge’s contribution contends with the theme of
discourse and power. The chapter first surveys important studies in the area,
focusing particularly on critical discourse analysis and the ways it and other
discourse and power research has been critiqued. Linguistic ethnographic
approaches and how notions of voice have been utilised in recent discourse and
power research are also discussed. Putting voice at the fore of discourse and
power investigations is proposed as a means of moving analyses of discourse and
power forward. The analysis of a section of classroom discourse is provided as
an illustration.

In Chapter 44, Peter K. W. Tan’s discussion of literary discourse is based
around a series of questions. The first question deals with whether there is any
such thing as literary language. The second question contends with literary
discourse from the viewpoint of fictionality, questioning whether literary texts
present different discourse situations. The remainder of the chapter then
discusses the possibility that different literary genres may require different
approaches, asks which DA approaches are useful for their analysis, and
concludes by pointing to areas of literary DA that are likely to receive more
attention in the future.

In Chapter 45, Shi-xu takes the perspective that current trends towards
discourse studies lauding multi-disciplinary standpoints largely fail to attend
to issues of cultural context and uses the chapter to outline a multicultural
approach to discourse studies. The cultural nature of critical discourse studies
is examined, followed by an argument for an alternative view to knowledge
construction and an explanation of some of the implications for the
multicultural researcher and the resultant theory. The chapter closes by
outlining some strategies researchers can use to put the alternative system into

In Chapter 46, Andy Kirkpatrick and James McLellan provide a comparative
discussion of world English and English as a lingua franca. To start, they posit
three hypotheses along the following lines: 1) any variety of world English will
have specific characteristics that tie it to the particular environment from
which it arises, 2) lingua franca English, being primarily a common
communication medium, will involve fewer culturally specific references, and 3)
successful communication does not depend on adherence to notions of standardised
native-speaker norms. With analyses of authentic texts from world Englishes and
lingua franca encounters, the authors outline and illustrate the respective
areas of world Englishes and lingua franca English, and test the hypotheses
presented at the start of the chapter.


Although there is any number of books on DA, there can be little doubt that this
volume is still an important contribution to the field because, in just one
volume, it manages to provide an up-to-date coverage of a vast range of work
from the perspectives of some of the most highly influential researchers in the
field. It also adds to the existing body of literature on DA in that it takes a
more inclusive view as to what falls beneath the DA umbrella. For example, the
multimodal nature of discourse(s) and the need for it to be recognised in DA is
a recurring theme in the volume, as is the benefit of taking a combination of
micro-level linguistic data as well as macro-level contextual information into

While no one short contribution can be expected to provide a great deal of
depth, another important feature of this volume is the breadth of contributions,
resulting in a well-rounded view of DA studies. For example, the benefits of a
multi-disciplinary approach are lauded in a number of chapters, but an
interesting challenge to the status quo is presented by Shi-xu in Chapter 45.
Contributions such as Tsui’s (Chapter 27), which problematizes the ethnographic
approaches under discussion, also assist in making this a well-balanced volume.
The inclusion of lists and explanations of other works the reader may wish to
consult in every chapter as well as cross-references to other chapters by some
authors, also makes the book a valuable stepping stone to the other important
works in DA.

In one way, however, the volume could be criticised for a lack of consistency
across the contributions. Take Part 1, for instance. All of the contributions
introduce approaches to DA but they are undertaken in some very different ways.
Schleppegrell (Chapter 2), for example, takes a traditional, literature
review-style approach to outlining systemic functional linguistics. On the other
hand, Fairclough (Chapter 1) provides a very personal view in his introduction
of critical discourse analysis, he does not provide a general outline of the
field but focuses on his own, most recent variant of it and how it is
operationalised within his own research. Lemke (Chapter 6) provides a very
different kind of contribution still. He continues the personal emphasis found
in Fairclough’s contribution, but calls for a reconceptualisation of multimedia
and DA with the utilisation of his own tale of how he came to the field, which
stemmed from his curiosity as to how ideas w途中ere transmitted whilst a junior
researcher in theoretical physics. This variety in style makes for interesting
reading, and each contribution is easily understood without much reference to
the rest of the volume needed; however, with no prior introduction to each
contribution, either by the editors or through abstracts, for those only seeking
to look into certain topics it might be difficult to find relevant chapters with
only chapter titles and the index as a guide. This problem is amplified by the
lack of comprehensive introductory sections in some of the chapters. The most
obvious example of this is probably Lemke’s contribution (discussed above)
because it is not until his journey has been detailed that that the real
connection to the chapter title becomes apparent, and yet the problem raises its
head in a number of other chapters, many of which introduce the field they are
writing about but fail to detail what will be discussed in the remainder of the
chapter (Jaspers (Chapter 10), Bazerman (Chapter 16), and Finegan (Chapter 34)
being just some examples of this). The opportunity to link between chapters was
also taken up by fewer authors than one might wish.

The lack of explanation of key terms is also something that could be rectified
in future editions. The issue is nowhere more evident than in the absence of any
introductory discussion of the fundamental notion of discourse itself. A number
of contributors do discuss the fact that discourse can be understood in
different ways or usefully explain what they mean by the term. However, given
the multitude of ways it is used in different contexts, across different
disciplines, and across contributions in the volume, it seems logical that this
is a term that should be explored, especially if this book is to be accessible
to the wide audience the editors intend. In the case of discourse, this issue
could be addresses with a fuller explanation in the Introduction (see Schiffrin,
Tannen & Hamilton’s (2003) introduction to a similar volume), while for other
terms, the inclusion of a glossary as a complement to the index would be helpful.

Despite the issues outlined above, there is little doubt that the volume will be
of use for both students and researchers alike. For those new to DA, the variety
of approaches and applications discussed should help the researcher better
understand approaches to DA and how they might be useful in specific contexts.
Moreover, because of the wide variety of outlooks presented, and the inclusion
of remodelled approaches, new research, and arguments for more traditional
approaches to be modified, there are likely to be interesting discoveries to be
made for even those with a strong background in DA.


Schiffrin, Deborah, Deborah Tannen & Heidi E. Hamilton (eds.). 2003. The
Handbook of Discourse Analysis. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER Amy Aisha Brown studied Applied Linguistics at the University of Nottingham Ningbo, China and she is currently teaching in the International College of Ningbo University, China. Her main interest is in the analysis of discourse in the service of understanding the sociolinguistics of English in the world today.

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