Authored by: Rodney H. Jones

The Routledge Handbook of Pragmatics

Print publication date:  January  2017
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415531412
eBook ISBN: 9781315668925
Adobe ISBN:


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“Discourse” is a word used by many different people in many different fields with many different meanings. For linguists, discourse usually has a very specific meaning associated with concrete linguistic features of texts and interactions, but this is far from true for other social scientists, many of whom use the word discourse as a synonym for non-linguistic aspects of texts (such as the politics or ideology they express), without any regard whatsoever for linguistic features. Even linguists who consider themselves “discourse analysts” (and thus agree that linguistic features play an important role in analysis) often have different views about what aspects of texts and interactions count as “discourse”. These differing views have, over the years, resulted in spirited debates among different “schools” of discourse analysis, such as conversation analysis, discursive psychology, and critical discourse analysis (see, for example, Schegloff 1997; Wetherell 1998; Billig 1999; Widdowson 2004; for an overview, see Fetzer 2014).

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