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Guy Cook "Discourse"
Transcript of Guy Cook "Discourse"
There are 3 sections in this book
1. Explanation – Theories of discourse
2. Demonstration – Discourse in language learning and teaching
"Discourse analysis examines how stretches of language considered in their full textual, social, and psychological context, become meaningful and unified for their users."
Guy Cook "Discourse"
Presented by students of group PRLm-12:
(from Guy Cook transcriptions of the discourse)
Family Students Friends Acquaintances
wich has been used
to communicate sth
and is felt to be coherent
abstracted in order to teach
a language or literacy, or to study how the rules of language work
Discourse- language in use, for communication
Discourse analysis- search for what gives discourse coherence
is a quality which is clearly necessary for communication and therefore for foreign language learning, but which cannot be explained by concentrating on the internal grammar of sentences.
Voice intonation gestures facial expressions accent
– knowledge of the world outside language which we use to interpret it.
Formal and contextual links
1. Verb form
3. Referring expressions
4. Repetition and lexical chains
Breakdown of the directive function
Pragmatic interpretation of language
- ability of people to create meaning
and make sense of what is said in specific circumstances.
Meaning is not constructed from the formal language of the message alone .
It is important for the successful teaching and learning of foreign languages.
Representation of language user needs
Two views of discourse structure:
as product and as process
- Less planned
- Open to intervention
There are some kinds of spoken discourse, like lessons, lectures, interviews,
trials, which have significant features in common with typical written discourse.
is widely used, in a non-technical sense, and people seem capable of distinguishing it from other kinds of talk. Talk may be classed as conversation when:
1. It is not primarily necessitated by practical task.
2. Any unequal power of participants is partially suspended.
3. The number of participants is small.
4. Turns are quite short.
5. Talk is primarily for the participants and
not for an outside audience.
, which is sometimes regarded as
distinct from discourse analysis, is a branch of study which sets out to discover what order there might be in this apparent chaos. It is often associated with a group of scholars in the USA known as
. They view discourse as a developing process, rather than a finished product.
tries to describe how people take turns, and under what circumstances they overlap turns or pause between them.
, the way in which speakers hold or pass the floor, vary between cultures and between languages. Overlap in a given situation is more or less tolerated in some societies then in others.
1) adjacency pair.
2) a side sequence.
Discourse as dialogue
Dialogue comes first, both for the human species, and for the human individual. Turn – taking and interaction are among the first communicative skills.
Two types of information
1) that which the sender thinks the receiver already knows (
2) that which the sender thinks the receiver does not already knows (
Knowledge in discourse
For discourse analysis, the most important idea to come out of the field of Artificial intelligence is that of
These are mental representations of typical situations, and they are used in discourse processing to predict the content of the particular situation which the discourse describes. The idea is that the mind, stimulated by key words or phrases in the text, or by the context, activates a knowledge schema, and uses it to make sense of discourse. To program a computer to understand a discourse, Artificial intelligence researches need to reproduce this process, and to give computers both the necessary language knowledge, and the necessary schemata.
Two approaches to developing discourse skills
In Section One we took a bottom –up approach to discourse, and indeed to language as a whole . Taking the so-called lower levels of language to some extent for granted, we proceeded from the most detailed feature of discourse toward the most general. This approach may well be a very fruitful way of trying to understand what language is and how it works but that doesn’t mean that it is the best way to teach a language or that it is the way we use a language when we do know it.
It is not always necessary to know very much about the individual identity of the sender or receiver but only certain general facts about his or her social relation to us. Sociologists distinguish three factors in social relationship:
a relatively permanent position within the social structure to which
someone is appointed or qualified, for example nurse, pilot.
: a general term for social importance influenced by facts like age,
wealth, education, and varying relative to other individuals
a temporary interactional stance, involving the performance of certain
types of perlocutionary and illocutionary acts often dependent upon having a certain status and office.
Knowledge of these three parameters affects’ our interpretation of what is said and should be clear to student.
Apart from needing to know varying amount about office, status, role, and personal detail
of people we are communicating with, we also need to form hypothesis about the degree of knowledge we share with them and the degree to which the schemata they are operating correspond with our own
This assessment affects every level of discourse, from the quality and ordering o information to the use of article, and grammatical structure.
Discourse type recognition
Orientation within a discourse
Continuing our top-down approach to discourse, it is logical that having indentified the sender and receiver, the discourse type and the parts within it, we should turn our attention to organization within parts of the discourse however these may have been indentified and defined.
One of the activities which may draw students’ attention to the organization within parts of the discourse is the well-known one of the changing the order of sentences and then putting them back in their original order. This exercise will be referred to as recombination.
Other activities which can focus students’ attention upon internal organization of discourse are approximation and transfer.
Approximation involves the breaking down of a piece of discourse into a number of short isolated sentenced, and then combine them into a whole.
Spoken and written discourse
Spoken language happens in time and processed “on-line”. There’s no going back and changing or restructuring our words as there’s in writing; there’s often no time to pause and think, and while we are talking or listening, we cannot stand back and view the discourse in spatial or diagrammatic terms.
Types of speech planned in advance:
news bulletins, plays, talks, lectures.
Tape recorder or video camera can to some extent free the processing of speech from the domination of time.
Instances of spoken language:
2) Socially structured-----less socially structured
3) Aided by writing-----unaided by writing
4) Less reciprocal(one-way)-----morereciprocal(two-way)
The characteristic features of conversation include greater spontaneity and freedom , and a greater equality among participants than in other discourse types.
Ex: Teacher and students in a classroom.
Conversation involves far more than knowledge of the language system and the factors creating coherence in one-way discourse; it involves the gaining, holding, and yelding of turns, the negotiation of meaning and direction, the shifting of topic, the signaling and identification of turn type, the use of voice quality, face, and body.
Other means of turn taking: overlap, changes in voice quality, elongation of syllable, pitch rise, and all the signals of body, face, and eyes, are of course not that easily taught.
Ex: recordings, transcripts, videos.
An approach to conversation development
“Conversation” by Nolasco and Arthur(1987)
suggest 4 types of of activities developing conversation.
1) Controlled activities
2) Awareness activities
3) Fluency activities
4) Feedback activities
Conversation and cultural appropriateness
Conversation affects cultural as well as linguistic changes in student behavior.
Ex: Russian and English culture.
Focusing on cohesion
This is the area which is of relevance to all discourse, spoken and written, “one-way” and “two-way” alike, although the choice of appropriate cohesive ties is profoundly affected by whether the discourse is spoken or written, and by the discourse type.
In language teaching difficulties can easily arise from problems with cohesion: recovering a phrase or clause lost through ellipsis.
The neglect of cohesion arises partly from a simple lack of awareness.
Halliday and Hassan’s “Cohesion in English”
Activities developing cohesion
General discourse activities
We will consider activities which can develop discourse skills, without concentration on any one aspect in isolation.
Ex: the world outside the classroom.
If we want our students to become competent in discourse , we will need to involve them in communication with a variety of interlocutors in different relationships to them, through a variety of discourse types, with a variety of functions, in both speech and writing and process and production, to deal with the interaction of these elements in discourse, in different combinations---and with rapid changes too.
Ex: the re-ordering of jumbled sentences.
It is enjoyable and motivating activity which generates a wide range of discoursal practice.
Lviv Polytechnic National University