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discourse 1 introduction (2013)

Analysis from the perspective of Hallidian Functional Grammar
3 metafunctions: ? Ideational function(dealing with experience, objectional or subjectional) ? Interpersonal function(dealing with the relationship of people) ? Textual function(dealing with the realization of organization of text)

Discourse analysis from the perspective of pragmatics (Michael Stubbs, Brown & Yule)


It is also concerned with language in use in social contexts, in particular with interaction or dialogue between speakers. (Michael Stubbs, 1983:1) They think that language, action and knowledge are inseparable. Some actions can be performed only through language(e.g apologizing, requesting).

Discourse analysis from the perspective of sociolinguistics
Sociolinguistics are particularly concerned with the structure of social interaction manifested in conversation. ? They are concerned with generalizing across ?real? instances of language in use typically work with transcribed spoken data (转写的口语材料).

Discourse analysis from the perspective of psycholinguistics
Psycholinguistics are particularly concerned with issues related to language comprehension. ? They typically employ a tight methodology derived from experimental psychology to investigates problems of comprehension in short constructed texts.

Discourse analysis from the perspective of philosophical linguistics

Philosophical linguists and formal linguists are particularly concerned with semantic relationships between sentences and the world.

Discourse analysis from the perspective of computational linguistics

Computational linguists are concerned with producing models of discourse processing and are constrained (by their methodology) to working with short texts constructed in highly limited contexts.

Discourse analysis from the perspective of linguistics
? ? ?


The authors claim that this book takes a primarily linguistic approach. They will examine how humans use language to communicate. In particular, how addressers construct linguistic messages for addressees, and how addressees work on linguistic messages. Also, they will take insights from all of the interdisciplinary areas (跨学科领域) mentioned above.

Roman Jakobson (1896-1982)

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

An Russian linguist, chief member The linguistic Circle of Prague(布拉格学会), proposed 6 functions of language in his paper “Linguistics and Poetics” (1960): Referential function(所指功能) Emotive function(表情功能) Conative function(意动功能) Phatic function(寒暄功能) Metalinguistic function(元语言功能) Poetic function(诗歌功能)

I. A. Richard
A British critic, in his “Practical Criticism” (1929): ? Language has the functions of : ? sense(意义功能) ? feeling(感情功能) ? tone(语气功能) ? intention(意图功能)

J. Lyons
A British linguist claims in his “Semantics” (1977) that language has: ? Descriptive function(描写功能) ? Social function(社会功能) ? Expressive function(表达功能)

M.A. K. Halliday
? ?

? ? ? ?

Thinks that children have 7 functions: Instrumental function(工具功能): “I want ...” Regulatory function(控制功能): “Do that” Interactional function(交流功能): “hello, Pleased to see you” Imaginative function(想象功能) Informative function(告知功能) Personal function(自我意识功能): to express the child?s
awareness of himself

Heuristic function(探究功能): “tell me why”

M.A. K. Halliday
For adults, language has 3 metafunctions (纯理功能): ? Ideational function(概念功能) ? Interpersonal function(人际功能) ? Discourse function(语篇功能)

Brown & Yule (the authors)
Language has two major functions: ? 1.Transactional function (信息转换功能): language serves in the expression of ?content?. ? 2. Interactional function (互动功能): language is involved in expressing social relations and personal attitudes.

1.1.1 Transactional function
Generally correspondents: ? Representative(Buler1934)(表现功能)) ? Referential(Jakobson,1960)(指示功能) ? Descriptive (Lyons, 1977)(描写功能) ? Ideational(Halliday,1970b)(概念功能)

E.g. ? Descriptions of an experiment (scientists – students) ? Directions (policeman – travelers) ? Prescriptions (doctors – patients) ? Instructions (a shop assistant to customers)

“Data +warrant + backing ” model (“语料+根据+支撑”模式) (Toulmin)
We are allowed to smoke here, because there is an ashtray on the table. ? The Defence Department has announced that hostilities will soon cease. Peace is at hand. It is safe to draw this conclusion as the Defense Department is a reliable source.


America?s Vietnam policy has not brought world peace any closer. So America must remain neutral concerning internal conflicts in other countries. What proved true in Southeast Asia holds true for future conflicts.

“Reality is made up of processes”
“Our most powerful impression of experience is that it consists of ?goingon?– happening, doing, sensing, meaning, and being and becoming.” ? “ All these goings-on are sorted out in the grammar of the clause.” ? “The grammatical system by which this (experience)is achieved is Transitivity (及 物性).”

Material process(物质过程)

E. g. The lion caught the tourist . (actor process goal )

In Chinese





e.g. interactional speech

“My goodness, it’s cold”. A stranger said

to another stranger at the bus stop waiting for the bus in the icy wind. ? The function of the speech is ?to be friendly and to talk? rather than to inform. ? “yes, awfully cold”. Said the other stranger. ? The function of this speech is ?to maintain appearance of agreement and return friendliness”.


A letter of thanks:

Huiling, Thank you very much for the invitation. I would be delighted to come.
Analysis: the 1st sentence achieves the function of intended ?thanks?, but the 2nd one undertakes a carrier of information. The macrofunction of a thanksletter may be a realization of maintaining interpersonal relationship, but information transference is still found.
(data source ditto)

Chief functions of writing and speech (complementary)
Writing: ? Communication over time and space ? Shift language from the oral to the visual forms ? permit words and sentences to be examined out of their original contexts Speech: ? Establish & maintain human relationships ? Detailed transmission of factual information (patients? record; client?s requirements;telephone numbers;recipes, etc)

The relationship between speech and writing(1)
Human motivation of having speech recorded: To separate words; to manipulate order; to develop reasoning; to reflect what has been thought. ? So human develop the cognitive structures (written form) not available to the non-literate, e.g. figures of written word. ? Also develop systems of classification: lists, formulae, tables recipes etc. to organize human knowledge.

The relationship between speech and writing(2)
Writing is repeated if it is spoken (headlines in news-broadcasting) ? In speech: “我们不愿意外国干涉,我们也不 怕外国干涉。”(温家宝,2005-3-15) ? In written form? Avoid repeating in most cases. ? Major difference: writing is permanent, speech is transitory.

Differences in form between written and spoken(1)
Speech: less richly organized than written form(incomplete sentences; little subordination; active declarative forms e.g. see P16) ? Less densely packed information ? More interactive markers and planning ?fillers?(well, erm, I think, you know, etc)

(Brown and Yule)

Differences in form between written and spoken(2)



Written: more metalingual markers(元语言标记): when/while, besides etc. Larger stretches of discourse rhetorical organisers (e.g. more important than; in conclusion) Heavily premodified noun phrases


Spoken:chunks are related by: and, but, then


Rarely used


Shorter chunks

(students investigate their materials & report the findings 1)


Very concentrated package of information Use Subjectpredicate form: you can drink beer.


Less information

? ?

Use Topic-comment structure (e.g.The beer you can, of course, drink,

e.g. concentrated package of information in written form

I had found / when a boy in Dublin on a table in the Royal Irish Academy pamphlet on Japanese art / and read there of an animal painter so remarkable / that horses / he had painted upon a temple wall / had slipped down after dark / and trampled the neighbours’ fields of rice. (from

? ?

6 subordinates + 1 main clause Number of words?

Information in spoken form

I think /we’ve just about come to an end of this wretched business-

1 subordinate + 1 main clause ? Number of words?

Subject-predicate form in written discourse
Subject: who says/does sth ? Predicate: 1) what is said/verb phrase; 2) a verb or other unit which takes a set of arguments within a sentence. E.g. My wife bought a coat in London. Subject: my wife predicate:1) bought a coat in London; 2) bought (take two arguments 论元:‘my wife? and ?a coat?)

Topic-comment structure in spoken discourse
Topic:in describing the information structure of sentences, a term for that part of a sentence which names the person, thing, or idea about which something is said(comment) (Longman Dictionary of Applied Linguistics). Comment: a syntactic element; /everything after the topic(Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics); /expressing speaker?s attitude to the proposition (HallidayP83) e.g.The beer you can, of course, drink,



The concept of Topic-comment is not identical with subject-predicate. Subjectpredicate refers to the grammatical structure of a sentence rather to its information structure. The difference is:
As for your drycleaning, Topic I will bring it tomorrow. subj. Predicate comment


Sometimes they are identical:
Subject Topic

is a dancer.
predicate comment

(students investigate their materials and report their findings 2)

Differences in form between written and spoken(3)
Spoken form: ? Indeterminate group agents(P17)(不明确的词组施事者) ? Situational referent by gaze at sth. ? General vocabulary ? Repetition ? Planning fillers (e.g.well, erm, I think,)


John’s friend, Tony, who is a dentist, likes apples.


Underlying propositions:

John has a friend. The friend’s name is Tony. Tony is a dentist. Tony likes apples.
(Longman Dictionary of Applied Linguistics)
(students look into their materials and report their findings 3)


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