The term discourse analysis was first employed by Zelling Harris as the name for ‘a method for the analysis of the connected speech or writing for continuing descriptive linguistics beyond the limit of a single sentece at a time and for correlating culture and language’ ( Harris 1952)
The word discourse has a complex history. It is used in a range of different ways by different theorists.
Originally the word ‘discourse’ comes from Latin, ‘discursus’ which denoted ‘conversations’, ‘speech’.
As a noun it can mean verbal communication, talk, formal speech or writing on a subject and a unit of text used by linguists for the analysis of linguistic phenomena that range over more than one sentence
Discourse analysis is the study of how stretches of language used in communication assume meaning, purpose and unity for their users: the quality of coherence (Encyclopedic Dictionary of Applied Linguistics by Keith Johnson and Helen Johnson,1998)
According to David Crystal Discourse analysis focuses on the structure of naturally o
ccuring spoken language, as found in such ‘discourses’ as conversations, interviews, commentaries and speeches.
Text analysis focuses on the structure of written language, as found in such ‘texts’ as essays, notices, road signs and chapters.
According to Geoffery Leech and Michael Short; ‘’discourse’’ is linguistic communication seen as transaction between speaker and hearer, as an interpersonal activity whose form is determined by its ‘’social purpose’’.
Pronouns or Substitution : In order to avoid repeating the same words several times in one paragraph it is replaced, most often by one, do or so.
Ellipsis: It is very similar to substitution, however, it replaces a phrase by a gap. (Omission of noun, verb, or a clause on the assumption)
Conjunctions: Specifies the relationship between clauses or sentences. Most frequent relations of sentences are: addition (and, moreover), temporality (afterwards, next) and causality (because, or since).
Reference: The use of words which do not have meanings of their own, such as pronouns and articles.
Lexical cohesion : Denotes links between words which carry meanings: verbs, nouns, adjectives. There are two types of lexical cohesion namely reiteration and collocation.
Conversational Interaction The underlying rules of conversation that people implicitly follow (Interpersonal function)
The underlying in most conversational exchanges assumption seems to be that the participants are in fact cooperating with each other
Meaningful communication takes place where people are cooperative
It is certainly true that, on some occasions, we can experience conversational exchanges in which the cooperative principle does not seem to be in operation but in most cases this principle is observed