chapter  6
29 Pages


Within those areas of study which draw on linguistics as a method of analysis, the term discourse is often used in ways which contrast sharply with definitions used by cultural and literary theorists. I examine three groups of theorists in this chapter, each of whom defines discourse slightly differently: discourse analysts, social psychologists and, finally, critical linguists. Each of these fields of study has approached the question of how to analyse communicative acts in context, using a form of analysis which is rigorous and based on scientific principles. Each of the fields of study is also concerned with how to analyse text in its broadest terms, which although it has been a factor within cultural/literary theory, has not been a primary concern. I deal with each of the different uses these fields have made of the term discourse briefly here, before going on to a more detailed examination of them in turn.