LINGUIST List 23.3376

Sat Aug 11 2012

Review: Applied Linguistics; Discourse Analysis: Gee & Handford (eds. 2011)

Editor for this issue: Anja Wanner <>

Date: 11-Aug-2012
From: Amy Brown <>
Subject: The Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis
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EDITORS: Gee, James Paul; Handford, MichaelTITLE: The Routledge Handbook of Discourse AnalysisSERIES: Routledge Handbooks in Applied LinguisticsPUBLISHER: RoutledgeYEAR: 2011

Amy Aisha Brown, International College, Ningbo University, China


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

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

Part I: Approaches to Discourse Analysis

In Chapter 1, Norman Fairclough introduces critical discourse analysis. Hefocuses on outlining the concepts and methodology of the particular version ofcritical discourse analysis he has been using in his most recent research, andby situating this within critical social analysis and arguing that this requirescritical discourse analysis to be integrated within trans-disciplinary researchframeworks, he immediately addresses the interdisciplinary focus of the volumenoted in the editors' introductory chapter.

In Chapter 2, Mary J. Schleppegrell provides an overview of systemic functionallinguistics. She outlines the roots of systemic functional linguistics theoryand notes the kinds of research questions it can be employed to answer. She thenprovides 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 anextensive survey of the contexts systemic functional linguistics has been usedto 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 whatis termed and analysed as discourse in his discussion of multimodal discourseanalysis. His use of salient examples demonstrates what a broader interpretationof discourse can bring to DA. For example, with the simple comparison of twosigns that provide directions to supermarket car parks, Kress effectivelydemonstrates, amongst other things, that the analysis of multiple modes is anoperational means of seeing meaning beyond the obvious functionality of the signs.

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

In Chapter 5, Suzie Wong Scollon and Ingrid de Saint-Georges write aboutmediated discourse analysis. In a similar fashion to the preceding chapter, theyintroduce the concept and key studies in the area, before discussing theoreticalunderpinnings, the unit of analysis (social groups or classes), and theirreasoning for starting analysis based on instantiations of social action. Withan example of research undertaken on census enumeration, they demonstrate howanalysis is undertaken through engaging with, navigating, and changing the nexusof practice.

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

In Chapter 7, Jennifer Coates introduces gender and discourse analysis, chartinghow our understanding of both language and gender has changed since the feministmovement of the 1970s and how methodologies have shifted with theoreticalframeworks. Looking at more recent work, she discusses how gender is understoodin the prevailing paradigm of social constructionism, looks at the position ofdiscourse in the field of queer linguistics, and examines recent work thatfocuses on how ideologies of gender and language feature in everyday interactions.

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

In Chapter 9, Steven E. Clayman and Virginia Teas Gill give an introduction tothe methods of conversation analysis. They start by outlining how data isoptimally gained, recorded, and transcribed. They then describe the process ofdata 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 theimportance of conversation analysis in applied contexts but also emphasise theimportance of general research on talk in interaction that often forms the basisof the former.

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

In Chapter 11, Graham Smart introduces two traditions to discourse-orientedethnography: interpretive ethnography and ethnography of communication. The twotraditions are outlined with regard to their theoretical bases, the kinds ofquestions they answer and the research they produce. The chapter ends with aninformative description of how Smart's own ethnographic study of practices atthe 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 closertogether. While noting exceptions, he suggests that DA usually aims todemonstrate what language tells us about society, whilst linguistic anthropologytakes the other side of the language--culture/society dialectic, looking more atwhat culture and society say about language. He provides an example of his ownresearch into the legal discourses and practices of the Hopi Indian Nation inorder to demonstrate how both sides of this dialectic might be given equalweighting.

In Chapter 13, Lynne Flowerdew closes the section with a discussion ofcorpus-based DA. She starts by noting the ontological and epistemologicaldifferences between traditional notions of corpus analysis and DA but seeks asher basis the examination of where the two have come to share common ground. Sheoverviews three approaches to corpus-based DA: textual, critical, andcontextual. To conclude, she looks at recent developments in the field, with afocus 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 aninitial 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 anexample of the register analysis of e-mails that illustrate how situationaldifferences (such as the relationship between participants) suggest registerswithin registers. He moves on to discuss register analysis at the macro level bylooking at multi-dimensional studies. That is, how variation across, rather thanwithin registers is studied through the quantitative analysis of co-occurrencepatterns in corpora.

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

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

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

In Chapter 18, Almut Koester and Michael Handford present the field of spokenprofessional discourse. By way of introduction they outline three mainapproaches to analyzing genre as well as detailing some studies that have usedcorpus analysis in undertaking it. They then discuss ways in which genre hasusefully been theorised before illustrating two contrasting approaches to spokenprofessional 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 thisthey provide an overview of a discourse intonation model, using examples from acorpus of spoken English to illustrate the four systems of the framework:prominence, tone, key, and termination. They conclude by emphasising thesituation-specific, rather than sentence-specific, nature of intonationalchoices speakers make, and that, while spontaneous, the patterns in thesechoices make its investigation valuable as a key to further understanding spokendiscourse.

In Chapter 20, Paula Buttery and Michael McCarthy introduce lexis in discourse.They first establish the function of lexis in register, overviewing how corporaare used to quantitatively demonstrate differences between the spoken andwritten lexicon. Noting that quantitative differences in distributions "do notaccount for contributions of lexis to discourse" (p. 288), they discuss thenotion of lexical chunks (multiword items with integrated meanings) in relationto discourse as well as the functions of lexis in the creation of cohesion indiscourse.

In Chapter 21, Paul J. Hopper focuses on emergent grammar, a theory that positsthat "linguistic structure is a process that unfolds in real time" (p. 301). Hestarts with an historical overview of the theory, explaining that emergentgrammar grew out of paradoxical issues with conceiving grammar as a fixedsystem. This is followed by an explanation of the points in favour of viewinggrammar from the emergentist's perspective. Examples of emergent grammar arethen provided followed by discussions of what the perspective has brought tolight, such as the idea that traditional linguistic categories appear to betransitory, emerging from use rather than a priori. The chapter concludes bysituating emergent grammar within the context of recent language theories.

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

In Chapter 23, Mary M. Juzwik discusses narrative in spoken discourse. The needto be explicit in defining the everyday term narrative is the focus of the firstsection, and this is highlighted again in the introduction to some methods oftranscribing spoken narrative. The following sections introduce areas informingcurrent narrative DA (literary studies, psychology, folklore and anthropology,and sociolinguistics respectively), with each section highlighting the kinds ofanalyses 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 anhistorical perspective of ideas about metaphor, and an extract from her data setis examined to illustrate some of the features of metaphor in spontaneous spokendiscourse. A survey of issues brought to light through the analysis oflinguistic metaphor is given followed by an outline of the approach and methodused in some of Cameron's recent research into social science problems.

In Chapter 25, Wallace Chafe discusses the association between sounds andthoughts. Using examples from a previous study, he explains the independence ofthoughts from language, discusses evidence for the nature of thoughts, and thenlooks at the processes by which thoughts become semantic structures and semanticstructures become syntactic. The argument presented is that the lack ofone-on-one correspondence of semantic and syntactic structures means thatanalyses focusing on syntax alone are insufficient. The final part of thechapter discusses two areas where a move towards the author's perspective mightbe beneficial.

Part IV: Educational applications

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

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

In Chapter 28, Karen Thompson and Kenji Hakuta focus on bilingual education.They introduce various issues surrounding bilingual education in the UnitedStates, India, and Guatamala respectively as a way of reminding the reader thatclassroom talk "is a microcosm in which societal struggles about language andnational identity play out (p. 399). They discuss important theoreticalframeworks that have been used for analysis in the area, with a focus onexplaining the contribution DA can make as a means of connecting bilingual talkto wider socio-cultural factors, and they overview work on language, power, andcode switching in bilingual education.

In Chapter 29, Ken Hyland closes the section with a discussion of DA withreference to English for academic purposes (EAP). He introduces the development,goals, and scope of teaching EAP, summarizing it as "specialized Englishlanguage teaching grounded in the social, cognitive and linguistic demands ofacademic target situation and informed by an understanding of texts and of theconstraints of academic contexts" (p. 414). The chapter explores some of themain contributions DA has made to the area of EAP, discuss Hyland's work in thisarea, provides an analysis of self mention in academic texts to provide anillustrative example, and presents areas in which DA research is likely toimpact on EAP in the future.

Part V: Institutional applications

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

In Chapter 31, Anne O'Keeffe takes up the topic of media discourse. Thediscussion begins by outlining the nature of media discourse and the reasons whyit is valuable as an object of study. The chapter progresses to discuss howprint and spoken media have respectively been studied before a demonstration ofthe benefits of using a corpus-based approach to aid analyses, includingcritical discourse analyses, is provided. Considering the changes that arecurrently taking place in how and who dictates media, the final part of thechapter provides some ideas for a reconceptualisation of media participationframeworks.

In Chapter 32, Hiromasa Tanaka and Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini discuss the newbody of research that falls under the label Asian business discourse(s) (ABDs).The chapter starts by introducing the study of business discourse before turningmore specifically to characterising ABDs analysis for the reader. Drawing onresearch into Japanese business interaction, they survey some of thecontributions ABDs and DA have made to one another, arguing, "themulti-dimensionality of ABDs requires a commensurate epistemological andmethodological response" (p. 459). After further explanation of this, theyprovide an illustrative analysis of a Japanese business before concluding withfour key issues for researchers to reflect upon.

In Chapter 33, Kevin Harvey and Svenja Adolphs engage with the interrelationbetween discourse and healthcare. They define health communication and provide abrief survey of significant studies in the area, noting that most research hasfocused on medical exchanges between professionals (usually doctors) andpatients. With reference to examples, they demonstrate what analyses of suchinteractions can reveal about discursive practices. Prior to the concludingremarks that stress the potential for such analyses to help bring about "moreequitable and humane practices in healthcare" (p. 479), the benefits ofcomplementing more usual qualitative methods with a corpus-based approach arediscussed.

In Chapter 34, Edward Finegan examines legal discourse. He starts with anexplanation of the many areas that fall under the term and then, in order todemonstrate what the analysis of legal discourse can reveal about the impactsuch discourse has on the lives of ordinary people, he focuses on three types ofit: lay litigants courtroom talk; talk from the cross-examination of a rapevictim in a trial; and the discourse of appellate courts. While highlighting thesocial importance of such discourse, and thus its analysis, the chapter alsopoints 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 therelationship between ethnicity and humour in the workplace. They ground thediscussion 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 ofresearch that looks at ethnicity and humour in the workplace, and illustrate howa DA approach can be utilised in understanding humour in workplace contextsthrough their own study of discourse in a Māori workplace.

In Chapter 36, Louise Mullany concludes the section with a consideration ofapproaches to studying gender and discourse in professional communication as ameans of explaining gender-based social or political problems. She underlinessome of the issues that have been the focus of previous research and explainskey theoretical concepts. Utilising examples from her own and additionalresearch, Mullany demonstrates how the aforementioned theoretical concepts andapproaches 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 politicsbefore delineating the one aspect of political discourse practice that shefocuses on in the chapter, the day-to-day activities of politicians in thevarious institutions in which they work. A discussion of relevant approaches tostudying the area is presented before Wodak puts forward an illustrated exampleof her own integrated approach to the study of behind-the-scenes politics, whichtakes from various other approaches such as the critical discourse studiesrelated discourse historical approach.

In Chapter 38, Yueguo Gu contends with discourse geography, which is the studyof 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 othersalient terms are defined before the ways in which space and time have featuredin previous linguistics research is outlined. The main body of the chapter seeksto summarise land-borne situated discourse and human spatial-temporal behaviourfrom the viewpoint of individual actors and from the system's or collectivestandpoint, respectively.

In Chapter 39, William L. Leap turns to highlighting contributions queerlinguistics-based analyses of sexuality and related issues can make. The chapteroffers a brief introduction to the field of queer linguistics, before an examplefrom the author's study of Cape Town's sexual geography is used to demonstratethat texts need to be read not only with issues of sexuality in mind, but alsowith consideration to how those issues interplay with broader discursivepractices and power structures. Projects using queer linguistics-basedapproaches are surveyed and the some of the understandings gained from them arehighlighted.

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

In Chapter 41, Teun A. van Dijk discusses the relationship between discourse andknowledge. He summarises properties of knowledge relevant to the sociocognitivetheory of natural knowledge the chapter outlines and provides a briefexplanation of the theoretical notions of mental and context models, and adigest of the strategies involved in discourse construction and comprehensionhighlights the importance of contextual knowledge. The pervasiveness ofknowledge in discourse structures, production and comprehension is thendemonstrated through an epistemic analysis of Presidents Obama's inaugural speech.

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

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

In Chapter 44, Peter K. W. Tan's discussion of literary discourse is basedaround a series of questions. The first question deals with whether there is anysuch thing as literary language. The second question contends with literarydiscourse from the viewpoint of fictionality, questioning whether literary textspresent different discourse situations. The remainder of the chapter thendiscusses the possibility that different literary genres may require differentapproaches, asks which DA approaches are useful for their analysis, andconcludes by pointing to areas of literary DA that are likely to receive moreattention in the future.

In Chapter 45, Shi-xu takes the perspective that current trends towardsdiscourse studies lauding multi-disciplinary standpoints largely fail to attendto issues of cultural context and uses the chapter to outline a multiculturalapproach to discourse studies. The cultural nature of critical discourse studiesis examined, followed by an argument for an alternative view to knowledgeconstruction and an explanation of some of the implications for themulticultural researcher and the resultant theory. The chapter closes byoutlining some strategies researchers can use to put the alternative system intopractice.

In Chapter 46, Andy Kirkpatrick and James McLellan provide a comparativediscussion of world English and English as a lingua franca. To start, they positthree hypotheses along the following lines: 1) any variety of world English willhave specific characteristics that tie it to the particular environment fromwhich it arises, 2) lingua franca English, being primarily a commoncommunication medium, will involve fewer culturally specific references, and 3)successful communication does not depend on adherence to notions of standardisednative-speaker norms. With analyses of authentic texts from world Englishes andlingua franca encounters, the authors outline and illustrate the respectiveareas of world Englishes and lingua franca English, and test the hypothesespresented at the start of the chapter.


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

While no one short contribution can be expected to provide a great deal ofdepth, 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 amulti-disciplinary approach are lauded in a number of chapters, but aninteresting challenge to the status quo is presented by Shi-xu in Chapter 45.Contributions such as Tsui's (Chapter 27), which problematizes the ethnographicapproaches under discussion, also assist in making this a well-balanced volume.The inclusion of lists and explanations of other works the reader may wish toconsult in every chapter as well as cross-references to other chapters by someauthors, also makes the book a valuable stepping stone to the other importantworks in DA.

In one way, however, the volume could be criticised for a lack of consistencyacross the contributions. Take Part 1, for instance. All of the contributionsintroduce approaches to DA but they are undertaken in some very different ways.Schleppegrell (Chapter 2), for example, takes a traditional, literaturereview-style approach to outlining systemic functional linguistics. On the otherhand, Fairclough (Chapter 1) provides a very personal view in his introductionof critical discourse analysis, he does not provide a general outline of thefield but focuses on his own, most recent variant of it and how it isoperationalised within his own research. Lemke (Chapter 6) provides a verydifferent kind of contribution still. He continues the personal emphasis foundin Fairclough's contribution, but calls for a reconceptualisation of multimediaand DA with the utilisation of his own tale of how he came to the field, whichstemmed from his curiosity as to how ideas were transmitted whilst a juniorresearcher in theoretical physics. This variety in style makes for interestingreading, and each contribution is easily understood without much reference tothe rest of the volume needed; however, with no prior introduction to eachcontribution, either by the editors or through abstracts, for those only seekingto look into certain topics it might be difficult to find relevant chapters withonly chapter titles and the index as a guide. This problem is amplified by thelack of comprehensive introductory sections in some of the chapters. The mostobvious example of this is probably Lemke's contribution (discussed above)because it is not until his journey has been detailed that that the realconnection to the chapter title becomes apparent, and yet the problem raises itshead in a number of other chapters, many of which introduce the field they arewriting about but fail to detail what will be discussed in the remainder of thechapter (Jaspers (Chapter 10), Bazerman (Chapter 16), and Finegan (Chapter 34)being just some examples of this). The opportunity to link between chapters wasalso taken up by fewer authors than one might wish.

The lack of explanation of key terms is also something that could be rectifiedin future editions. The issue is nowhere more evident than in the absence of anyintroductory discussion of the fundamental notion of discourse itself. A numberof contributors do discuss the fact that discourse can be understood indifferent ways or usefully explain what they mean by the term. However, giventhe multitude of ways it is used in different contexts, across differentdisciplines, and across contributions in the volume, it seems logical that thisis a term that should be explored, especially if this book is to be accessibleto the wide audience the editors intend. In the case of discourse, this issuecould be addresses with a fuller explanation in the Introduction (see Schiffrin,Tannen & Hamilton's (2003) introduction to a similar volume), while for otherterms, 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 beof use for both students and researchers alike. For those new to DA, the varietyof approaches and applications discussed should help the researcher betterunderstand approaches to DA and how they might be useful in specific contexts.Moreover, because of the wide variety of outlooks presented, and the inclusionof remodelled approaches, new research, and arguments for more traditionalapproaches to be modified, there are likely to be interesting discoveries to bemade for even those with a strong background in DA.


Schiffrin, Deborah, Deborah Tannen & Heidi E. Hamilton (eds.). 2003. TheHandbook of Discourse Analysis. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.


Amy Aisha Brown studied Applied Linguistics at the University of NottinghamNingbo, China and she is currently teaching in the International College ofNingbo University, China. Her main interest is in the analysis of discoursein the service of understanding the sociolinguistics of English in theworld today.

Page Updated: 11-Aug-2012