Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!


Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

New from Wiley!


We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at***

Review of  The Bloomsbury Companion to Discourse Analysis

Reviewer: Inas Youssef Mahfouz
Book Title: The Bloomsbury Companion to Discourse Analysis
Book Author: Ken Hyland Brian Paltridge
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (formerly The Continuum International Publishing Group)
Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
Issue Number: 25.3820

Discuss this Review
Help on Posting
Review's editor: Monica Macaulay


This book belongs to the Bloomsbury Companions series. It is a panoptic textbook that provides an overview of discourse analysis. The book consists of an introduction by the editors and two equal parts. “Part I: Methods of Analysis in Discourse Research” comprises nine chapters covering the main theoretical approaches and issues involved in discourse analysis. “Part II: Research Areas and New Directions in Discourse Research” comprises twelve chapters that cover different practical directions in discourse analysis.

The book begins with a short introduction where the editors define discourse as ''an overloaded term, covering a wide range of meanings'' (1) and discuss how discourse analysis has developed quickly over the past decades. Finally, they describe the subsequent chapters of the book and their purposes.

The first chapter, ''Data collection and transcription in discourse analysis'' by Rodney H. Jones, focuses on the collection and transcription of data from spoken interactions. Data collection and transcription are regarded as cultural practices that have changed over the years as a result of the development of several tools such as tape recorders, video cameras and computers. The chapter ends with an emphasis on observing ethical issues of data collection and transcription.

Data collection is typically followed by analysis and this is the topic of Chapter two, ''Conversation Analysis''. In this chapter Sue Wilkinson and Celia Kitzinger explore the six features of conversation or talk-­in­-interaction, namely: “turn­-taking, action formation, sequence organization, repair, word selection and the overall structural organization of talk” (p. 25). Then the chapter concentrates on turn­-taking systems to illustrate that regardless of the accumulated research on conversation analysis, much investigation is still needed.

In Chapter three, ''Critical discourse analysis'', Ruth Wodak traces the development of the different approaches to critical discourse analysis (CDA) and their similarities and differences. Wodak ends the chapter pinpointing the cornerstones of CDA, namely its reliance on diverse techniques, use of existing data, and emphasis on applying linguistic expertise to solving problems.

In ''Genre Analysis'', Chapter four, Christine M. Tardy investigates theory and research in genre analysis. Tardy focuses on grant proposals and analyzes 20 successful proposals to shed light on how rhetorical and linguistic choices impact a text.

Mike Baynham elaborates on different approaches pertaining to analyzing narratives in Chapter five, “Narrative Analysis”. Baynham discusses three approaches to narrative: discourse analysis, conversational analysis, and linguistic ethnographic approaches. The chapter also provides two case studies of narrative analysis and ends with some suggestions for future research.

In Chapter six, ''Ethnography and Discourse Analysis'', Dwight Atkinson, Hanako Okada and Steven Talmy investigate the complementarity between ethnographic research and discourse analysis. They show how ethnographic studies have been enriched with the addition of linguistic detail and vice versa.

In Chapter seven, ''Systemic Functional Linguistics,'' J.R. Martin surveys SFL and its development in Britain and Australia over the past six decades. The chapter provides a sample study of a magazine extract and pinpoints new directions to using SFL in discourse analysis at the end.

Chapter eight, ''Multimodal Discourse Analysis'', by Kay L. O’Halloran, explores multimodal discourse analysis (MDA) as an evolving approach to discourse analysis. MDA “extends the study of language per se to the study of language in combination with other resources, such as images, scientific symbolism, gesture, action, music and sound” (p.120). The chapter discusses different approaches to MDA, theoretical and practical issues involved, and a sample MDA text analysis.

The first part ends with a chapter on “Corpus Approaches to the Analysis of Discourse.” In this chapter, Bethany Gray and Douglas Biber preview the use of corpora to analyze language. The authors end their chapter with an emphasis on the new insights about language that corpus-based analysis can bring.

Part II, ''Research Areas and New Directions in Discourse Research,'' provides practical illustration which complements the theoretical foundation provided in Part I. This part includes 12 chapters about a wide variety of issues.

The first chapter in this part, Chapter ten, examines types of spoken discourse and their features. The author, Joan Cutting, pinpoints how certain social variables such as gender and social class can influence the selection of features for analysis.

In Chapter 11, Ken Hyland probes into the nature of “Academic Discourse,” its importance, methods of analyzing it, and the amount of information available about this type of discourse. The chapter ends with a sample study on citations to illustrate the ways in which academics interact with their students and how this interaction is grounded on the repertoires of their disciplines.

Janet Holmes investigates “Discourse in the Workplace” in Chapter 12. The chapter focuses on spoken workplace discourse; the author begins by discussing current research in three categories: types, power and solidarity, and gender and ethnicity. Holmes provides a sample study, which focuses on a senior manager who enacts leadership to his team and constantly provides directions while maintaining a consultative style. Holmes ends her chapter with some pointers for future research.

''Discourse and Gender,'' Chapter 13, examines the role of discourse in gender and language research. Paul Baker skillfully sums up recent research and analyzes the concept of the ''cougar'' (''an emerging identity category used to describe women who have younger male partners''). The chapter ends with insights on using discourse to develop the field of language and gender.

Chapters 14, 15, and 16 focus on trends in discourse analysis studies that appeared towards the end of the twentieth century. Chapter 14 investigates “News Discourse,” whether written (as in newspapers) or spoken (as in broadcasted interviews). Furthermore, the author, Martin Montgomery, sheds some light on considerations of power and ideology in news discourse. In Chapter 15, ''Discourse and Computer-Mediated Communication'', Julia Davies tackles online discourse. The chapter adopts a multimodal approach to analyzing online texts by examining their fabric, nature, and context. John Olsson focuses on “the interface between language, crime and law, where ‘law’ includes law enforcement, judicial matters, legislation, … and even disputes which only potentially involve some infraction of the law” (Olsson n.d.) in chapter 16, ''Forensic Discourse Analysis: A work in progress''. The chapter discusses the origins of forensic discourse analysis, its focus, and the structure of forensic discourse. The chapter ends with a clear emphasis on the cross disciplinary cooperation between linguists and those working in the legal profession.

The remaining chapters in this part focus on discourse in a variety of contexts. Tope Omoniyi investigates “Discourse and Identity” in Chapter 17. The chapter discusses the definition of 'minority' and synthesizes current research in this area. The author ends by emphasizing the impact of globalization in creating new contextualizations of 'minority'.

Chapter 18, ''Discourse and Race,'' by Angel Lin and Ryuko Kubota, examines the idea of race in discourse. The authors pinpoint key studies in this field and provide some pointers for future research.

Jennifer Hammond investigates “Classroom Discourse” in Chapter 19. The author sheds light on analyses of turns, sequences and meanings in classroom talk along with the theoretical, methodological, practical issues and procedures involved. She provides a sample study which describes pedagogical practices used with ESL students in mainstream schools. The author ends her chapter with some procedures for future research.

In chapter 20, ''Discourse and Intercultural Communication,'' John Corbett highlights the different approaches to researching intercultural communication: questionnaires, group interviews and analyses of actual interaction. The author concludes that all three approaches should be interwoven together to reach accurate results.

The last chapter of the book, ''Medical Discourse,'' by Timothy Halkowski, investigates the different participants involved in medical discourse, i.e. doctors, patients, nurses and the role played by each to unravel the how 'illness-ing', 'patient-ing', and 'doctor-ing' may affect interaction. The chapter concludes with a note on expanding the scope of research on medical discourse to include how medical teams manage their daily work.


“The Bloomsbury Companion to Discourse Analysis” is a rich all-encompassing textbook which succeeds in covering all concepts, movements, and approaches related to discourse in one invaluable volume. The book includes two parts with 21 chapters tackling discourse analysis from both theoretical and practical perspectives. The different theoretical methods of doing discourse analysis are presented in the first part of the book. The second part of the book includes 12 chapters that provide practical analyses of the different theoretical approaches to doing discourse analysis discussed in the first part. The almost symmetrical structure of the two parts of the book reflects the meticulous choices editors have made to put this volume in its current state.

The internal organization of the chapters makes them easy to read and understand. In part one, each chapter discusses a certain approach to researching discourse, assumptions underlying it, and the instruments and tools related to it. Each chapter ends with a short list of key readings for those who want to expand their knowledge of the approach discussed. In the second part, each chapter focuses on a key area in discourse analysis and provides a sample analysis, pointers for future research, as well as a list of key readings. The topics of the chapters in both parts of the book are varied, ranging from traditional approaches to discourse analysis such as conversation analysis, genre analysis, and narrative analysis to nascent approaches such as multimodal discourse analysis and the analysis of computer-mediated communication. The editors have also provided a glossary at the end which gives brief definitions of most of the terms appearing in the book.

Overall, this volume is an invaluable reference for researchers interested in discourse analysis. The chapters are not only carefully chosen and accurately organized, but they are also written by experienced scholars. The content, clarity, logical organization, and expert guidance provided in this volume make it truly the best 'companion' to discourse analysts of all backgrounds.


Olsson, J. (n.d.). ‘What is Forensic Linguistics?’ Retrieved August 25, 2014,
Inas Y. Mahfouz is an assistant professor of Language and Linguistics at the American University of Kuwait. Her primary research interests include discourse analysis, computational linguistics and Systemic Functional Linguistics.

Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9781441167866
Pages: 416
Prices: U.K. £ 24.99