LINGUIST List 18.2120

Fri Jul 13 2007

Review: Discourse Analysis: Paltridge (2006)

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Message 1: Review: Discourse Analysis: Paltridge (2006)
Date: 13-Jul-2007
From: Randall Eggert <>
Subject: Review: Discourse Analysis: Paltridge (2006)

Announced at Author: Paltridge, BrianTitle: Discourse AnalysisSubtitle: An IntroductionSeries: Continuum DiscoursePublisher: Continuum International Publishing Group LtdYear: 2006

Mohammad Rasekh Mahand, Linguistics Department, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran.

DESCRIPTIONThis book is an introduction to discourse analysis written in nine chapters. The first chapter is an overview of discourse analysis which begins by presenting the origins of the term and goes on to introduce the topics which are of interest to it. It talks about the relationship between language and social context, culture specific ways of speaking and writing, and ways of organizing texts in particular social and cultural situations. This chapter also introduces different views of discourse analysis, from textually oriented views to socially oriented ones.

The second chapter discusses important aspects of the social and cultural settings of spoken and written discourse. It talks about the notions of discourse and speech community and how they influence the language variety we use. Other factors affecting our language use are social class and social networks. The chapter also includes some parts on the relations of discourse to gender, sexuality and ideology.

Discourse and pragmatics is the topic of the third chapter. It introduces an overview of research in the area of pragmatics which is also related to discourse. Discussions on the relationship between language and context, speech acts, the cooperative principle, implicatures and politeness are included in this chapter.

The study of genre from a discourse analysis viewpoint is the subject of chapter four. Genre is defined as a type of discourse that occurs in a particular setting. The author talks about the relationships between genres, written and spoken genres across cultures, genre analysis, the social and cultural contexts of genres, the discourse structure of genres and the application of genre analysis.

The fifth chapter is on discourse and conversation. Conversation analysis looks at ordinary everyday spoken discourse and aims to understand how people manage their interactions. This chapter covers topics like conversation transcriptions, sequence and structure in conversations, preference organization, feedback, repair, gender, and criticisms of conversational analysis.

The study of grammar from a discourse-based perspective is the topic of chapter six. The discourse grammar consists of a collection of features, such as the texture of a text, cohesion, reference, collocation, conjunction, substitution and ellipsis, theme and rheme, and related matters.

Chapter seven looks at corpus approaches to discourse analysis. There are a number of advantages in using corpora to look at the use of language from a discourse perspective. The chapter introduces different kinds of corpora, their design and construction, and criticisms of corpus approaches.

Chapter eight is on critical discourse analysis. Critical discourse analysis explores the connections between the use of language and the social and political contexts in which it occurs. It explores issues like gender, ethnicity, cultural differences, ideology, and identity and how these are both constructed and reflected in texts.

The last chapter is on doing discourse analysis. It discusses issues that need to be considered when planning and carrying out a discourse analysis project. A number of sample studies are discussed to give an idea of previous research.

EVALUATIONThe present textbook covers most of the issues related to discourse analysis and gives a brief account of each. It is written in a simple manner and the author has tried to make his writing interesting by giving lively examples. The discussion questions and further reading sections at the end of each chapter are useful.

ABOUT THE REVIEWERMohammad Rasekh Mahand is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran. His research interests include syntax, the syntax-pragmatics interface and typology.