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Language in use, which is used to

communicate and is felt to be coherent is called discourse. Discourse can be defined as a stretch of language consisting of several sentences which are perceived as being related, not only in terms of ideas, but also in terms of the jobs they perform.( function)
Discourse is fundamentally concerned with the

relationship between language and the contexts of its use. Discourse is a text forming device. It studies

how language can be made coherent and cohesive.

Definition of Discourse
a continuous stretch of language larger than a

sentence, often constituting a coherent unit, such as sermon, argument, joke or narrative. (Crystal:1992) Cook (1989) defines discourse as stretches of language perceived to be meaningful, unified and purposive. In the study of language, discourse often refers to the speech patterns and usage of language, dialects, and acceptable statements, within a community. It is a subject of study in people who live in secluded areas and share similar speech conventions. The term discourse is used to describe the

Understanding Discourse
Language helps us communicate.

Communication takes place with the help of symbols, signs, words or body language. Language is a code or a system which has a lot of signals being transmitted through a medium by a sender to a receiver. This system is governed by a set of rules. Along with the set of rules there are some social features that govern the use of language. Context and cultural influences also affect language in use. Discourse studies the relation between the form and function of language.e.g Do I have

To understand discourse we must look at the

distinction that Ferdinand De Sassure made between langue and parole LANGUE PAROLE
the collective social set of produced knowledge. The system & can be used that enables people to to the situation. speak. It is abstract. usage of language. a statements. It is physical differently according

Based on this distinction we see that discourse

includes the usage of language by conveying messages based on the abstract knowledge i.e. making langue as its frame work. Discourse may not always conform to grammatical

Discourse is how language is written or


spoken? What is the meaning of language? Which words to emphasize? Discourse analyses the meaning of language. it looks at language from a social and political perspective. E.g. 1857, there are different points of view of the same event. We choose our words and language according to the genre( it is the mode or the kind of discourse used for exchanging ideas). Text is a piece of naturally occurring spoken or written discourse, identified for the purpose of analysis. Text is language form. It is how language ought to be written. Text consists of alphabets, words, sentences etc.

Text vs Discourse
The terms text and discourse are

interchangeable. Some linguists are of the view that discourse is language in action, while a text is the written record of that interaction. So, discourse brings together the language, the speaker/writer, and the context. Many linguists prefer to use the term text for all recorded instances of language in use. We may refer to text as any written record of a communicative event. ( oral or written) And refer to discourse as the interpretation of the communicative event in a context.

Features of Textuality:Coherence & Cohesion

Cohesion - grammatical relationship between

parts of a sentence essential for its interpretation; Coherence - the order of statements relates one another by sense. The quality of being meaningful and unified is known as coherence(everything fitting together well). It is a necessary quality for communication. Coherence is not completely conveyed with or encoded in the text. It also includes how people make sense of what they read and write. They try to arrive at an interpretation that is in line with their experience of the way the world is. Coherence is constructed by the writer andreconstructed by the user.

A: Thats the telephone B: Im in the bath A: O.K. How do both the speakers manage to make sense of what the other says?
The 1st speaker makes a request for the 2nd speaker to

perform action. The 2nd speaker states reason why he cannot comply with the request. The 1st speaker undertakes to perform the action.

Thus language users must have a lot of

knowledge of how conversation works that is not simplylinguisticknowledge. Coherent texts are sequences or utterances which seem to hang together as they contain text forming devices e.g. words & phrases which

Cohesion designates the "glue" which holds

the propositions of a text together. It refers to ties or connections within texts. It is visible on the surface of texts. Cohesion is established by grammatical relationship within a text or sentence. It can be defined as the links that hold a text together and give it meaning. Cohesive relationships within a text are set up where the interpretation of some element in the discourse is dependent on that of another.e.g. Wash and peel six apples. Put them into the oven.

Cohesive Devices
Formal links between sentences and between

clauses are known as cohesive devices. By and large five types of cohesive devices are distinguished:

Reference Substitution Ellipsis Conjunction Lexical Cohesion


Reference: the use of words such as pronouns

and articles, which do not have meanings of their own if the sentence they are in, is taken out of context and presented in isolation. To infer their meaning the reader has to refer them to something else that appears in the text (Tom: "How do you like my new Mercedes Vito?" - Marry: "It is a nice van, which I'm also thinking of buying".). Sentences connect by means of two types of references: Anaphoric references those that refer a reader/listener backwards to a previously mentioned point in the text.e.g. it, this. Cataphoric references those that point the reader/listener forward. E.g the man weve all been waiting for, the one and only Mr Sanders.

Substitution &Ellipsis
Substitution: in order to avoid repeating the

same word several times in one paragraph it is replaced, most often by one, do or so. So and do in its all forms might also substitute whole phrases or clauses (e.g. Tom has created the best web directory. I told you so long time ago".) Ellipsis: it is very similar to substitution, however, it replaces a phrase by a gap. In other words, it is omission of noun, verb, or a clause on the assumption that it is understood from the linguistic context. E.g.
A: I like the green hat. B: I prefer the blue.

Conjunction: specifies the relationship

between clauses, or sentences. Most frequent relations of sentences are: addition ( and, moreover e.g. "Moreover, the chocolate fountains are not just regular fountains, they are more like rivers full of chocolate and sweets."), temporality ( afterwards, next e.g. "He bought her perfume at a local perfume shop and afterwards moved towards a jewellery store."),causality ( because, since),and Adversative --However, on the other hand.

Lexical Cohesion
Lexical cohesion occurs when two words in a

text are semantically related. It denotes links between words which carry meaning: verbs, nouns, adjectives. Two types of lexical cohesion are differentiated, namely: reiteration and collocation. Reiteration adopts various forms, particularly synonymy, repetition, hyponymy or antonymy. Collocation is the way in which certain words occur together in one text but not in another. We can say that the background knowledge of the reader/listener plays an important role in understanding the text.e.g my neighbour broke my fence. The scoundrel did it on purpose. which is why it is easy to make out what will follow

Context means the situation that gives rise

to the discourse. It can also said to include background knowledge about a particular discourse or speech event
There are two types of context: linguistic

context the language that accompanies the piece of text. Non-linguistic context--The topic, setting, channel, message-form, purpose &the type of communicative event are some important features of context ( Hymes 1964) Register also plays an important role in discourse. Register imposes constraints at the linguistic level of vocabulary and syntax. Genre constraints operate at the level of discourse

Schema is a term used for a conventional

knowledge structure that exists in memory. A number of such structures are called schemata. These are mental representations of typical situations. These are used in the interpretations of what we experience. This can be said to be the background knowledge that we already have. E.g. a description of a visit to a super market will no include details as many of us will already have a schema for supermarkets, kings crown, seal


Speech occurs at varying

Spoken discourse

Written discourse
writing develops in space in

speed, especially one that is suitable for the speaker, even if it may not be appropriate for the listener and though a request for repetition is possible, it is difficult to imagine a conversation in which every sentence is to be rephrased. talking might be spontaneous which results in mistakes, repetition, sometimes less coherent sentences where even grunts, stutters or pauses might be meaningful. The speaker usually knows the listener, or listeners,

that it needs a means to carry the information. The readers are often unknown, as a result he cannot adjust to readers' specific expectations. The writer is able to consider the content of his work which makes it more coherent, having complex syntax. neat message organization, division into paragraphs, layout are of vital importance to make comprehension easier. texts might be read at different times and places. the organization of tables, formulas, or charts can be portrayed only in written form

Spoken discourse
As interlocutors are most often in face-to-face

encounters (unless using a phone) they take advantage of extralinguistic signals as grimaces, gesticulation, expressions such as 'here', 'now', or 'this' are used. Employment of nonsense vocabulary, slang and contracted forms (we're, you've) is another feature of oral discourse. Among other significant features of speech there are rhythm, intonation, speed of uttering. What is more important, is the inability to conceal mistakes made while speaking. An important feature of spoken discourse is turntaking.

Patterns in a text
All types of discourse are structured and

patterned which are hierarchical in nature. Broadly speaking the following patterns occur in a text/discourse: General specific Patterns: the subject of the sentences will be related to the topic and the pattern moves from general to specific. Cause-Consequence Patterns: these relationships imply that A causes B or vice versa. E.g use of because, so, as a result, show this pattern. Instrument-Purpose Patterns: Ideas of purpose and achievement are linked. Phrases like in order to show reason or purpose of an

Patterns in Discourse
Problem-Solution Patterns: some texts

need or have gained solutions. They follow the following structure SITUATION --- PROBLEM--SOLUTION---EVALUATION Predictive Patterns: certain nouns called text nouns refer to other parts of the text. E.g. situation, fact, move, problem etc. they can also be used to predict what will happen next in the text. Sets of Expectations: we have expectations of things that we read/hear about, or that exist in certain situations. We also have expectations about the order in which we will find things. E.g. newspaper.

Discourse is a highly politicized phenomenon. Studies of discourse investigate the relations

between language, structure and agency. Discourse is used as a term to describe the conversations and the meaning behind them by a group of people who hold certain ideas in common known as a discourse community. Words within discourse can express different viewpoints. The words couch potato has negative connotations.

How is discourse a highly

political phenomenon? What is Discourse Analysis? What is Critical Discourse Analysis?