Essential Terms in Discourse Analysis (2)

Discourse Analysis

A general term for a number of approaches to analyzing written, vocal, or sign language. The objects of discourse analysis, writing, conversation, or other form of communication, are variously defined in terms of analyzing ‘naturally occurring’ language use, and not invented examples.[1]


A fallacy is the use of poor, or invalid, reasoning for the construction of an argument. It is also used to refer to “an argument which appears to be correct but is not.” If an argument is fallacious, it does not necessarily mean the conclusion is false. Fallacies are commonly divided into those that are formal and those that are informal. A formal fallacy can neatly be expressed in standard system of logic.


Propositional logic. Conversely, an informal fallacy originates in another error in reasoning than an improper logical form. Arguments committing informal fallacies may be formally valid but still be fallacious.[2]


Texts also belong to different ‘genres’. In contrast to ‘Register’. What captures the genre of a text is not its lexicogrammatical features but the context itself in which the text is produced (van Dijk 2008, 2009). This context can be defined according to the three aspects of situation that determine register – field, tenor and mode. So for example, newspaper reports and political speeches are two distinct text genres. Producing a newspaper report and a political speech are two different social activities (field). In each case, there are different social and power relations held between the text-producer and text-consumers (tenor). And both are delivered via different mediums: written versus spoken respectively (mode). Genre (or type of ‘speech event’) has also been modelled by Dell Hymes (1972) using the following mnemonic[3]



This picture is testament of Janet. It genre is testimonial letter.


A set of words which always co-occur and where the meaning is not necessarily derived by concatenating the individual parts of the idiom, e.g to take coals to Newcastle ‘to do something entirely superfluous’.


“One in a blue mood”


Interdiscursivity refers to the phenomenon whereby elements from different discourses are combined in texts resulting in new hybrid or nodal discourses. Interdiscursivity can also refer to the combination in text of context and register features associated with different genres resulting in new hybrid genres. [4]


The word good brings many perspective

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