Understanding Discourse Analysis  book cover
1st Edition

Understanding Discourse Analysis

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 10, 2023
ISBN 9781032025889
March 10, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
184 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Understanding Discourse Analysis provides students with an accessible and well-illustrated introduction to discourse analysis. Explaining the main terminology and frameworks and presenting key findings of discourse studies, this book:

  • Explores the development of discourse analysis
  • Covers four key approaches to analysing discourse
  • Uses authentic spoken or written texts in all examples
  • Features data from the Wellington Language in the Workplace database
  • Includes examples from a wide range of languages from around the world, such as Chilean Spanish, Korean and Serbo-Croatian

Written by an active researcher, this textbook is a fascinating and engaging introduction to discourse analysis and is ideal for students studying this topic for the first time.

Table of Contents



Transcription Conventions

Part I Introducing Discourse Analysis

1 Introduction to Discourse Analysis


    1. Definitions
    2. 1.1.1 What is discourse?

      1.1.2 What is discourse analysis?

    3. What are some of the dimensions of discourse that may be explored?

1.2.1 Vocabulary

1.2.2 Syntax

1.2.3 Turn-taking

1.2.4 Summary

1.3 What are some of the things we do when we communicate?

1.3.1 What are some transactional or practical goals?

1.3.2 What about relational goals?

1.4 Language and identity

1.5 Outline of the rest of the book

Chapter summary

Further reading


Notes on exercises

2 The foundations of Discourse Analysis


2.1 The birth of discourse analysis

2.2 Speech Act Theory

2.2.1 What is Speech Act Theory?

2.2.2 Searle’s taxonomy of speech acts

2.2.3 Why is Speech Act Theory useful?

2.3 Grice's cooperative principle, implicature and conversational maxims

2.3.1 Grice’s cooperative principle and implicature

2.3.2 Grice’s maxims of conversation

2.3.3 Why was Grice’s work important?

2.4 Hymes' Ethnography of Communication, SPEAKING model

2.4.1 Hymes and the Ethnography of Communication

2.4.2 The SPEAKING model

2.4.3 The importance of Hymes’ work

2.5 Leech's politeness theory

2.5.1 Leech’s approach to politeness

2.5.2 Leech’s maxims

2.5.3 The importance of Leech’s work

2.6 Brown and Levinson's politeness theory

2.6.1 Brown and Levinson's approach to politeness

2.6.2 Key concept: Face

2.6.3 Threats to face

2.6.4 Politeness strategies

2.6.5 The importance of Brown and Levinson's theory

Chapter summary

Further reading


Notes on exercises

Part II. Some key approaches to analysing discourse

3 Corpus Approaches to Discourse Analysis


3.1 The origins and development of Corpus Approaches to Discourse Analysis

3.2 Introducing Corpus Approaches to Discourse Analysis

3.2.1 Some basic terms and concepts

3.2.2 Utilising corpora in discourse analysis research

3.3 Exploring words and phrases

3.3.1 Basic searches and exploring frequencies

3.3.2 Keywords and exploring distinctiveness

3.3.3 The use of phrases and formulaic language

3.3.4 Collocations and exploring words that frequently occur close to each other

3.3.5 Concordance lines and exploring the immediate discourse context further

3.3.6 Summary

3.4 Beyond words and phrases

3.5 Why take a Corpus Approach to Discourse Analysis?

Chapter summary

Further reading


Notes on exercises

4 Conversation Analysis


4.1 The origins and development of Conversation Analysis

4.2 What are some key concepts in Conversation Analysis?

4.2.1 Action and sequence

4.2.2 Turn-taking

4.2.3 Adjacency pairs

4.2.4 Sequence organisation

4.2.5 Preference

4.2.6 Repair

4.2.7 Summary

4.3 Beyond ‘conversation’: Institutional settings

4.3.1 Medical settings

4.3.2 Legal settings

4.3.3 Media settings

4.3.4 Summary

4.4 New mediums of communication

Chapter summary

Further reading


Notes on exercises

5 Interactional Sociolinguistics


5.1 The origins and development of Interactional Sociolinguistics

5.2 What are some key concepts in Interactional Sociolinguistics?

5.2.1 Contextualisation cues

5.2.2 Conversational inference

5.2.3 Framing

5.2.4 Norms and conversational style

5.2.5 Indexicality and stance

5.2.6 Summary

5.3 Some key topics in Interactional Sociolinguistics

5.3.1 The use of discourse strategies

5.3.2 The construction of routine encounters

5.3.3 The discursive creation of relationships

5.3.4 Identity

5.3.5 Summary

Chapter summary

Further reading


Notes on exercises

6 Critical Discourse Studies


6.1 The origins and development of Critical Discourse Studies

6.2 What are some key concepts in Critical Discourse Studies?

6.2.1 Power

6.2.2 Ideologies

6.2.3 What about the critical aspect of Critical Discourse Studies?

6.2.4 History

6.2.5 Summary

6.3 Key domains in Critical Discourse Studies

6.3.1 Political discourse

6.3.2 Media discourse

6.3.3 Summary

6.4 Types of analysis and methodologies in Critical Discourse Studies

6.4.1 Corpus linguistics and Critical Discourse Studies

6.4.2 Multimodal analysis in Critical Discourse Studies

Chapter summary

Further reading


Notes on exercises

Part III. Conclusions and applications

7 Key approaches and applications


7.1 Comparison of approaches

7.1.1 Types of data explored

7.1.2 Analytic approaches and methods

7.1.3 Issues explored

7.1.4 Summary

7.2 Applications of Discourse Analysis

7.2.1 Applied Conversation Analysis

7.2.2 Applications within Interactional Sociolinguistics

7.2.3 Applications and Critical Discourse Studies

7.2.4 Applying discourse analysis

Chapter summary

Further reading



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Bernadette Vine is Senior Researcher and Corpus Manager on the Language in the Workplace Project, based at the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand (www.wgtn.ac.nz/lwp). Bernadette’s research interests include workplace communication, leadership and New Zealand English.


Those studying discourse analysis will love this book which is richly illustrated with examples from diverse languages and cultures. Using a delightfully reader-friendly style, Bernadette Vine adroitly introduces students to the major approaches and the most important figures in discourse analysis.  

Janet Holmes, Victoria University of Wellington

For anyone wanting to know how discourse analysis is done, and why it is done in different but related ways, Understanding Discourse Analysis will provide an excellent, practical guide. It is accessible, features authentic data from different contexts and languages, and is highly interactive.

Michael Handford, Cardiff University