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LING442: Introduction to Discourse Studies

Tutors: Veronika Koller, Johann Unger and Ruth Wodak, Linguistics and English Language

Course Aims, Objectives and Content

The term “discourse” is understood in various ways in the social sciences and humanities. In this module we approach discourse in two principal ways. On the one hand, we regard discourse as structured use of language consisting of more than one sentence. The analysis of discourse in this sense involves investigation of the ways in which words, phrases and sentences hang together and make sense in contexts of use. At this level linguistic theories and methods of linguistic description are of special relevance. On the other hand, discourse is often thought of as large-scale ways of thinking, talking and relating to others in a social context. In this sense, the focus is on the relationship between patterns of linguistic use that are related to and indeed create contexts or genres. Thus, for example, we speak of media discourse, nationalist discourse, discourses on the economy, legal discourse, and the like. Here we ask questions about the linguistic characteristics of these different discourses.

The module aims to familiarise students with the range of theories in Discourse Studies. It also aims to provide practical analytical skills and methodologies for analyzing spoken, written and visual texts of different genres. Acquiring sufficient technical knowledge of linguistic description is regarded as an important practical goal. Hands-on practical work with texts will be an important element of the course.

Recommended Reading

  • Chilton, P. (2004), Analysing Political Discourse: Theory and Practice, Routledge
  • Fauconnier, G. and M. Turner (2002), The Way We Think, Basic Books
  • Johnstone, Barbara (2008): Discourse Analysis. 2nd ed., Blackwell.
  • Liddicoat, A.J. (2007), An Introduction to Conversation Analysis, Continuum
  • Renkema, J. (2004) Introduction to Discourse Studies, Benjamins
  • Schiffrin, D. (1995) Approaches to Discourse, Blackwell
  • Schiffrin, D., Tannen, D. & H. Hamilton (Eds.) (2001) The Handbook of Discourse Analysis, Blackwell
  • Titscher, S., Meyer, M. Wodak, R. & E. Vetter (2001) Methods of Text and Discourse Analysis, transl. B. Jenner, Sage
  • Van Dijk, Teun (1997), Discourse Studies: A Multidisciplinary Introduction, 2 vols., Sage
  • Van Eemeren, Frans. H. et al. (1996), Fundamentals of Argumentation Theory, Erlbaum
  • Wetherell, M., Taylor, S. & and S.J. Yates (Eds.) (2001) Discourse as Data: A Guide for Analysis, Sage
  • Wodak, R. & M. Krzyżanowski (Eds.) Qualitative Discourse Analysis in the Social Sciences,Palgrave
  • Wodak, R. & M. Meyer (Eds.) (2009) Methods of CDA, 2nd revised ed., Sage


A 5,000 word written assignment.

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