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LIN3570 - The Analysis of Discourse: Texts, Narrative and Society

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Dr Keith Allan


Not offered in 2007


This unit will examine a number of theoretical and methodological approaches to the analysis of discourse and texts in a range of sites and social contexts. We examine the way narrative texts are constructed; the resources that speakers manipulate in conversation and in 'electronic' discourse; the ways that institutions such as the media, education and the judiciary appropriate features of discourse structures in their discourses; and how information is transformed in written texts.


Upon completion of this subject students should be able to demonstrate that language understanding is a constructive process using not only knowledge of the language but also inferences based on context, knowledge of the conventions of language use, and knowledge of discourse conventions for narrative, joke telling, conversation, etc. and encyclopedic knowledge of all kinds; recognise the contribution made by plans and scripts to the development of written texts and spoken dialogues; recognise and be able to describe the characteristics of turn taking in dialogue; recognise linguistic clues and cues to the introduction of individuals, topics, and themes within texts, to their maintenance, and how some are made more salient than others. Also, to recognise the ways in which topics and themes are concluded; apply Labov's theory for action narrative and also rhetorical structure theory; be aware of some of the similarities and differences in discourse conventions across cultures and how to identify them; confidently undertake the systematic linguistic analysis of a text or dialogue.


Two text projects (1500 words each): 70%
Examination (1 hour) 20%
Tutorial or on-line discussion group participation: 10%
Third-year students will be expected to read more widely and work at a higher level than second-year students.

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hour seminar) per week


A first-year sequence in Linguistics or Communication and 12 points of Second year Linguistics or Communication.