Gillian Brown , George Yule Discourse analysis is a term that has come to have different interpretations for scholars working in different disciplines. For a sociolinguist, it is concerned mainly with the structure of social interaction manifested in conversation; for a psycholinguist, it is primarily concerned with the nature of comprehension of short written texts; for the computational linguist, it is concerned with producing operational models of text-understanding within highly limited contexts. In this textbook, first published in , the authors provide an extensive overview of the many and diverse approaches to the study of discourse, but base their own approach centrally on the discipline which, to varying degrees, is common to them all - linguistics. Using a methodology which has much in common with descriptive linguistics, they offer a lucid and wide-ranging account of how forms of language are used in communication. Their principal concern is to examine how any language produced by man, whether spoken or written, is used to communicate for a purpose in a context.

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The article gives a review on the book from different angles, investigating the advantages and disadvantages of the work. This book is helpful for beginners to cross the threshold of discourse study. Introduction Discourse analysis, as a young branch of learning sprung up in s, has undergone a tremendous development. Like any study of multi-disciplinary issues, it was denied and ignored by some scholars for a long time.

But nowadays it becomes a prosperous subject. Many publications on this issue have come out. We can look back on a substantial expanse of work on it. From above-mentioned discourse analysis works, we can see the diversity and prosperity of the study in this field. We also can see different researchers adopt different approaches to discuss the same field from different perspectives.

Although it has been published for a long time, it is still authoritative today for its comprehensive introduction of various theories and approaches in discourse analysis and systematic illustration on how humans use languages to communicate and how addressers construct linguistic messages and how addressees work on linguistic messages in order to interpret them.

All in all, it is classic work for beginners to engage in discourse analysis to cross the threshold. An overview of the book This book in general is a comparatively comprehensive introduction to discourse analysis theories.

Research fruit, in relation to this branch of learning, such as psychology, sociology, philosophy and computational linguistics, has been woven in this process to enrich discourse study today. And in this book, the authors basically take a linguistic perspective. They focus on how humans use language to communicate and how addressers construct linguistic messages for addressees and how addressees work on linguistic message in order to interpret them.

In Chapter One, the authors emphasize language forms and functions. They distinguish two functions of language: transactional and interactional; inquire into the differences and relations between spoken language and written language.

They also make a distinction between sentence which is the unit for the grammar study and utterance which is the unit for discourse analysis to found a basis for.

Chapter Two consider the effect of situational context on discourse. Context is a vital notion which all the discourse analysis activities are based on.

In relation to context, such terms reference, presupposition, implicature and inference are surely applied to describing the use of language in context. Chapter Four focuses on discussing the effect of linearization in discourse, how what is presented first limits the interpretation of what follows and how decisions on the matisation provide the overall structure within which the addressee interprets the discourse.

Chapter Five investigates even further into the smallest units of discourse. They also consider how information is packaged within such small structures and what resources are available to speakers and writers for indicating to their addressees the status of information which is introduced into the discourse. Chapter Six has extended the study from the structure of small chunks of language to the structure of large chunks of language.

At last, they discuss the uses of pronouns in discourse and try to discover on what basis the addressees understand the referring content of pronouns. To sum up, the authors give us a comprehensive introduction to many complicated theories with many examples which range from daily conversation, literary works, newspaper and journals to private letters, notice and even obituary. Distinguished characteristics of the book 3. French scholars began their analysis from the angle of stylistics and Americans set out their work from sociologic point of view.

Since the beginning of s, discourse study has changed their analysis from static structure to dynamic function. At first, several linguists have attempted to discover linguistic regularities based on static structure of sentences in discourses, only using grammatical, phonological and semantic criteria.

Nowadays some linguists adopt a broader, psycholinguistic perspective in studying discourse. Some adopted a sociolinguistic perspective. Some take a philosophic perspective. They stress semantic relations between constructed pairs of sentences and their syntactic realizations. But this book takes a primarily linguistic perspective to discourse study on how humans use languages to communicate and how addressers construct linguistic messages and how addressees work on linguistic messages in order to interpret them.

The authors also pay much attention to the pragmatic approach. This view is opposed to the study of these issues in terms of sentences considered in isolation from communicative context. Discourse analysis is a multi-disciplinary branch of learning, in the course of systematic introduction to concepts and theories, knowledge in relation to the study of various disciplines had penetrated in this book.

Knowledge of different disciplines sometimes can fill in the gaps of the weak points of pure linguistic discourse study and open a new horizon on viewing the analysis. It starts from the basic concepts of the realm, introducing all-round theories of discourse analysis step by step.

It stresses the study of both the small chunks of language and large chunks of languages. It analyzes the static study of the structure in relation to syntax, phonology and semantics. It even touches the dynamic study of functions. It also makes use of all the research achievements of the knowledge, including psychology, sociology, philosophy, computational science etc.

The materials used in this book are in many-sided, containing not only examples from daily conversation, literature works, articles in newspaper and journals but letters, notice and recording materials etc.

Richards thinks language can fulfill the function of sense, feeling, tone and intention. Different linguists certainly will have different views on the problem. So will the authors of Discourse Analysis.

Having an explicit distinction of functions of language is very important to start the theories. It can delimit the scope of study. In this book, the authors give the distinction of the functions of language as transactional and interactional. Although this distinction is very simple, it can cover the content of the most basic functions of language.

Moreover, this kind of distinction can make the discourse analysis easier. Because the purpose of discourse analysis is to find the regularities about how humans use language to communicate and how hearers interpret the input messages. Based on this purpose, discourse analysts just need pay attention to the transactional function and interactional function. We often advocate that a good book should have its original viewpoints. In this book, the authors take a pragmatic approach, which is very practical and scientific.

And they also put forward some questions arising in the process of the study and leave enough room for the readers to think about. It seems that the authors want to hold open-ended discussions. As an elementary book, this is very important. Only in this way can readers think about these questions and draw their own conclusion on the basis of acquisition of the basic theories.

At the same time, the authors can both express their own point of view on certain questions and maintain their objective and neutral position to introduce the theories. Such examples can be found in many places throughout the book. Improvements needed From macro point of view, this is a classic book for the new researchers in this realm although it was published more than 20 years ago. Nothing is perfect. And there is no exception to this book.

After reading this book, readers may find that the concrete methods on how to turn these theories into practical use are rarely touched. I think the authors need pay a little more attention to the application of these theories, especially in daily communication or language education etc. Conclusion In conclusion, Discourse Analysis is a good book for beginners who are attempted to study in this field. It is a comparatively comprehensive introduction to theories of discourse study.

Although some improvements are needed because of the limitations of their contemporary study, it is still worth reading and we strongly recommend it to the readers who are interested in discourse analysis. Discourse Analysis [M]. Cambridge, London: CUP. Discourse [M]. Oxford: Oxford University Press. An Introduction to Discourse Analysis [M]. London: Longman. London: Routledge. Discourse and Language Education [M]. Cambridge, U.

Discourse and Literature [M]. Amsterdam: Benjamins.


George Yule (linguist)


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[ Gillian Brown, George Yule] Discourse Analysis



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[ Gillian Brown, George Yule] Discourse Analysis


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