“Discourse analysis is
concerned with the study of the relationship between language and the contexts
in which it is used. It grew out of work in different disciplines in the 1960s
and early 1970s, including linguistics, semiotics, psychology, anthropology and
sociology. Discourse analysts study language in use: written texts of all
kinds, and spoken data, from conversation to highly institutionalized forms of
talk” (Mc Carthy, 1991, p.5).
(1991) expresses that when linguistics was used for the analysis of a single
sentence, Zelling Harris published a paper with the title ‘Discourse analysis’
in 1952. As written in Paltridge (2012, p.2), Harris had two major interests: a)
“the examination of language beyond the level of the sentence” (the
distribution of linguistic elements in extended texts), b) “the relationship
between linguistic and non-linguistic behavior” (the connections between the
text and its social situation).
analysis deals with spoken and written interaction .Stubbs (1983) defines
discourse analysis as: (a) concerned with language use above a
sentence/utterance, (b) concerned with the interrelationships between
language and society and (c) as concerned with the interactive or dialogic
properties of ordinary communication.
DA is based on the hypothesis that linguistic items cannot be
understood without reference to the context, both linguistic and
extra-linguistic, in which they are used (Grenoble, 2000).
In analyzing the data, discourse analysts adopt an etic or external
outlook on human behavior.
As Pike (1967) expresses, “the etic viewpoint studies behavior as
from outside of a particular system, and as an essential initial approach to an
alien system” (cited in Seedhouse, 2004,
Brown and Yule (1983, p. 1) maintain that “the
analysis of discourse is the analysis of language in use. As such it cannot be
restricted to the description of linguistic forms independent of the purposes
or functions which those forms are designed to serve in human affairs”.
According to Aronoff and Rees-Miller(2003), discourse analysis is concerned
with the language in context in which it is used to specific audiences, for
specific aims, in specific context. It focuses on the use of naturally occurring
As written in Scollon (2004, p.8) “the term ‘discourse’ might refer to the ways in which people engage
each other in communication at the face-to-face level or it might refer to the
much broader set of concerns signaled with such terms as ‘public discourse’, ‘academic
discourse’ ‘legal discourse’, or ‘medical discourse’. As a consequence,
discourse analysis as
a field of
study might either be the micro-analysis of unfolding moments of social
interaction or a much broader socio-political-cultural analysis of the
relationships among social groups
and power interests in the society”.