Discourse-analytic approaches to text and talk


This chapter explores the different ways in which discourse-analytic approaches reveal the ‘meaningfulness’ of text and talk. It reviews four diverse approaches to discourse analysis of particular value for current research in linguistics: Conversation Analysis (CA), Discourse Analysis (DA), Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Feminist Post-structuralist Discourse Analysis (FPDA). Each approach is examined in terms of its background, motivation, key features, and possible strengths and limitations in relation to the field of linguistics. A key way to schematize discourse-analytic methodology is in terms of its relationship between microanalytical approaches, which examine the finer detail of linguistic interactions in transcripts, and macroanalytical approaches, which consider how broader social processes work through language (Heller, 2001). This chapter assesses whether there is a strength in a discourse-analytic approach that aligns itself exclusively with either a micro- or macrostrategy, or whether, as Heller suggests, the field needs to fi nd a way of ‘undoing’ the micro–macro dichotomy in order to produce richer, more complex insights within linguistic research.


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