World Englishes and/or English as a lingua franca

Authored by: Andy Kirkpatrick , James McLellan

The Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis

Print publication date:  November  2011
Online publication date:  June  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415551076
eBook ISBN: 9780203809068
Adobe ISBN: 9781136672927


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As many chapters in this handbook illustrate, the phrase ‘discourse analysis’ can carry a range of meanings. Most scholars agree, however, that discourse analysis involves the study of the way language is used in a variety of sociocultural contexts. The study of discourse is an ‘enquiry into how people make meaning, and make out meaning’. Meanings are ‘socio-cultural constructs of reality’ (Widdowson, 2007: xv–xvi). Paltridge defines discourse analysis as ‘an approach to the analysis of language that looks at patterns of language across texts as well as the social and cultural contexts in which the texts occur’ (2010:1). Gee (1999: 6) has made a distinction between discourse with ‘a big D’ and discourse with ‘a little d’. ‘Little d’ discourse refers to the way languages are used ‘to enact activities and identities’ (1999: 6). But we cannot rely solely on language to establish identities and complete activities. We also need what Gee refers to as ‘non-language stuff’ to establish successfully our identity/ies and complete actions. This non-language stuff includes such things as clothing, manner, gestures, tools and technologies. And when this non-language stuff combines with language in use, then we have ‘big D’ discourse (1999: 7).

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