Stating everything may result in “overexplicitness”, thus, unnatural
Language choice depends on context of situation (tenor, field, mode)
Meanings and context are created and presented by writers.
Everything should be presented for clarity.
Completeness is necessary.
Language choice is based on the imagined readers
Structures are repeated
A lot of opening and re-opening
A lot of topics
Generic structure potential: recount, procedure, report etc.
Closed / finite / fixed
Free from spelling mistakes
Undergoes several editing processes
Everyday vs. prestige lexis
Ladies and gentlemen
Standard vs. Non-standard grammar
There’s a lot of people.
I wanna go
I ain’t going
There are many people.
It is I.
I want to go
I am not going
Grammatical Complexity & Lexically sparse
Hey, I tell you what! Yesterday I went to… you know this place? They call it Guci. It’s somewhere around this city… what do you call it? The city that people plant those shallots and also lots of salted duck eggs? I think it starts with B or something. From here it’s rather far… I think it’s after Tegal.
Grammatical Simplicity & Lexically Dense
Yesterday I went to a little town called Guci. It is a small cool city located at a cool mountain slope not far from Brebes. Usually people come to Guci to enjoy some hot-water springs that are believed to have strong soothing effects to those who suffer from water-born skin diseases caused by badly managed sewage sanitation .
Based on clauses
Subjects/objects: simple pronouns (you, I) or noun phrase (my father, the house
Gambits: help clarify interpersonal meanings
Fillers (well…, uhm…, right…)
More emphasis on interpersonal meanings
Based on sentence
Subjects/Objects are realised in complex noun phrases
Use of passive patterns (less personal, objectified)
More emphasis on ideational meanings
Spoken: grammatical intricacy (G&W 1995:162-163)
I can’t mind the kids today
Because I must go to fotball training
And can’t leave early
Because we’ve got an important game on Saturday
And if we win it
We go into the finals
Because I don’t have training
So I can mind them then
If that’s Ok with you
Written Form: Lexical density (p.164)
Due to the importance of a win in Saturday’s football game as a pre-requisite for a final appearance, the necessity of my training attendance diminishes my child minding capacity tonight
However, the lack of an attendance requirement on Wednesday allows my availability consequent upon your approval.
What has changed?
The way the information is distributed, the number of content words per clause has risen dramatically.
The lexical density has risen.
Grammatical changes push the lexical density up.
The key difference in grammar is the amount of grammatical metaphor.
Much information that was spread outbin the spoken language has been condensed by way of nominatisation.
because I must go to football training (clause)
The necessity of my training requirement (noun phrase)
Example (Halliday 1989)
This is yer phone bill and you hafta go to the post office to pay it – uh by next Monday, that’s what this bax tells ya – or they’ll cut the phone off.
All phone bills must be paid by the date shown or service will be discontinued.
Approaches to Discourse See D. Schiffrin 2004
Speech Act Theory (Austin 1955, Searle 1969)
A logico-philosophic perspective on conversational organization focusing on interpretation rather than the production of utterances in discourse.
From the basic belief that language is used to perform actions.
Every utterance can be analyzed as the realization of the speaker’s intent ( illocutionary force ) to achieve a particular purpose.
Neither Austin nor Searle were concerned with the analysis of continuous discourse.
Speech Act Theory
Unit of analysis: speech act (SA) or illocutionary force (IF) .
Principal problems: the lack of a one-to-one match up between discourse function (IF) and the grammatical form.
Provides the insight that the basic unit of conversational analysis must be functionally motivated rather than formally defined one.
Systemic name : speech function (SF) – central issue in discourse structure.
Basic speech function / speech act system (G&W, 1995:23)
Centrally concerned with the importance of context in the production and interpretation of discourse.
Units of analysis: grammatical and prosodic features in interactions.
Gumperz demonstrated that interactants from different socio-cultural backgrounds may “hear” and understand discourse differently according to their interpretation contextualisation cues in discourse. E.g. intonation contours, ‘speaking for another’, alignment, gender.
Ethnography of Communication
Ethnography of Communication (Dell Hymes (1972b, 1974)
Concerned with understanding the social context of linguistic interactions: ‘who says what to whom, when, where. Why, and how’.
Prime unit of analysis : speech event .
Definition: ‘The speech event is to what analysis of verbal interaction what the sentence is to grammar … It represents an extension in the size of the basic analytical unit from the single utterance to stretches of utterances, as well as a shift in focus from … text to … interaction’.
Speech event refers to ‘activities … that are directly governed by rules or norms for the use of speech’ (Hymes 1972:56)
Analysis of these components of a speech event is central to what became known as ethnography of communication or ethnography of speaking, with the ethnographer’s aim being to discover rules of appropriateness in speech events.
Genres often coincides with speech events
The ethnographic framework has led to broader notions of communicative competence .
Problem: Lack of explicitness in Hymes’ account on the relationship between genre and other components of the speaking grid and their expression in language and
Recognition of the close relationship between speech events and their social/cultural contexts
Formulates conversational behaviour in terms of general “principles” rather than rules.
At the base of pragmatic approach is to conversation analysis is Gricean’s co-operative principle (CP).
This principle seeks to account for not only how participants decide what to DO next in conversation, but also how interlocutors go about interpreting what the previous speaker has just done.
This principle is the broken down into specific maxims: Quantity (say only as much as necessary), Quality (try to make your contribution one that is true), Relation (be relevant), and manner (be brief and avoid ambiguity ).
Provides useful means of characterizing different varieties of conversation, e.g. in interactions, one can deliberately try to be provocative or consensual.
Significant problem: it implies that conversations occur co-operatively, between equals where power is equally distributed etc.
In reality: conversations involve levels of disagreement and resistance; power is constantly under contestation .
Schiffrin (1987): focused on quantitative interactive sociolinguistic analysis, esp. discourse markers (defined as ‘sequentially dependent elements which bracket units of talk).
Schiffrin’s unit of analysis: turn .
Basic concern: the accomplishment of conversational coherence.
She argues for the importance of both qualitative and quantitative / distributional analysis in order to determine the function of the different discourse markers in conversation.
Garfinkel (sociologist) concern: to understand how social members make sense of everyday life.
Sack, Schegloff, Jefferson (1973)tried to explain how conversation can happen at all.
CA is a branch of ethnomethodology.
Two grossly apparent facts: a) only one person speaks at a time, and b) speakers change recurs. Thus conversation is a ‘turn taking’ activity.
Speakers recognize points of potential speekar change – turn constructional unit (TCU).
CA identified TCU as the critical units of conversation, it has not specified exactly how a TCU boundary can be recognized in any situation.
Models conversation as infinitely generative turn-taking machine, where interactants try to avoid lapse: the possibility that no one is speaking.
Contribution: the identification of ‘adjacency pairs’: conversational relatedness operating between adjacent utterances.
Adjacency pair: first and second pair parts.
Major problems: a) lack of systematicity- thus quantitative analysis is impossible; 2) limited I its ability to deal comprehensively with complete, sustained interactions; 3) though offers a powerful interpretation of conversation as dynamic interactive achievement, it is unable to say just what kind of achievement it is
Variation Analysis (Labov 1972a, Labov and Waletzky 1967)
L & W argue that fundamental narrative structures are evident in spoken narratives of personal experience.
The overall structure of fully formed narrative of personal experience involves six stages: 1) Abstract, 2) Orientation, 3) Complication, 4) Evaluation, 5) Resolution, 6) Coda where 1) and 6) are optional.
Strength: its clarity and applicability.
Problems: data was obtained from interviews.
Variationists’ approach to discourse stems from quantitative of linguistic change and variation.
Although typically focused on social and linguistic constraints on semantically equivalent variants, the approach has also been extended to texts.