Article in International Journal of Applied Linguistics 18(1) O'Halloran, K.A. () Posthumanism and Deconstructing Arguments: Corpora and Digitally-Driven Critical Analysis, Abingdon: Routledge. 'Posthumanism and Deconstructing Arguments: Corpora and Digitally-driven. Discourse Analysis by H.G. Widdowson - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File . txt) or view presentation slides online. Introduction to Linguistic Study. Download Discourse Analysis by H.G. Widdowson.

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PDF download for Discourse analysis: a critical view, Article Information Widdowson, H.G. (a) Discourses of enquiry and conditions of relevance, in J. This book contains part of a conceptual tool kit that Henry Widdowson has employed and refined in his teaching of discourse analysis over many years. Figures; Related; Information. ePDF PDF. PDF · ePDF PDF · PDF. Tools. Request permission · Export citation · Add to favorites · Track citation.

G Widdowson Book 70 editions published between and in 3 languages and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide The primary purpose of this book is to present a discussion of a stylistic analysis approach to the study of literature and a demonstration of its possible relevance to the teaching of literature. Stylistics is defined as the study of literary discourse from a linguistics orientation and is distinguished from literary criticism and linguistics in that it links the two and has no autonomous domain of its own.

The topics discussed include: literature as text, literature as discourse, the nature of literary communication, literature as subject and discipline, exercises in literary understanding, and stylistic analysis and literary appreciation. It is concluded that stylistic analysis is valuable because it can help readers relate a piece of literary writing to their own experience of language and consequently extend that experience.

Ts Explorations in applied linguistics by H. G Widdowson Book 56 editions published between and in English and Undetermined and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide Text, context, pretext : critical issues in discourse analysis by H. Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation. Share Give access Share full text access. Share full text access.

Please review our Terms and Conditions of Use and check box below to share full-text version of article. Volume 18 , Issue 1 March Pages Related Information. Email or Customer ID. Forgot password? If the latter 15 is true, then that would seem to imply a concern with the legitimacy of much more than just critical discourse analysis.

First, Widdowson makes reference to domains, in this case linguistics and sociology, in contrast to political commitment. Implicit in this is the assumption that social theory is scientific and therefore more valid than what Widdowson calls interpretation.

Second, he refers to a shared understanding about the nature of analytical enquiry, implying that it is commonly understood and uncontested that analysis entails idealisations of data. Third, personal understanding is evoked to distinguish analysis from interpretation.

Thus, we can identify three grounds or justifications for these epistemic issues: institutional domains, common ground or shared knowledge, and personal understanding. All this leads Widdowson to his central point concerning critical discourse analysis, which might again be construed as a combination of epistemic and social criticism: E3.

The argument I shall pursue is that if critical discourse analysis is an exercise in interpretation, it is invalid as analysis. The epistemic dimension here is the simple conceptual contradiction created by the incompatibility of interpretation and analysis.

The social dimension however has to do with how all the work carried out under the heading or paradigm of critical discourse analysis is at least partially invalid as it embodies or perpetuates this contradiction.

It could be said that Widdowson 16 is attempting to reduce the institutional and epistemic status of critical discourse analysis by construing its foundation as contradictory.

Proceeding to tackle this contradiction and the resulting confusion, Widdowson turns to the history of linguistics and the work of Zellig Harris. These issues are reproduced below as instances of epistemic criticism: E4a. Discourse analysis is seen as the study of language patterns beyond the sentence. Thus it follows that discourse is sentence writ large: quantitatively different but qualitatively the same phenomenon.

It follows, too, of course, that you cannot have discourse below the sentence. If the difference between sentence and discourse is not a matter of kind but only of degree, then they must signal the same kind of meaning. If sentence meaning is intrinsically encoded, that is to say, a semantic property of the language itself, then so is discourse meaning.

In this case interpretation cannot just be read off from the text as if it were an elongated sentence. But then if semantic and pragmatic meanings are different, how are they different, and by what principles can they be related?

Do these terms mean the same thing and is he using them, as others seem to do, in free variation? If they do denote different things, what are they, and by what principles can they be related? According to Widdowson, common definitions have it that discourse analysis studies language units that are either bigger than the clause or bigger than the sentence.

This is confusing, because obviously units larger than clauses are usually sentences.

Noting this in the works of some linguists leads Widdowson to some interpersonal criticism: S3. These comments are curiously uncritical. It is surely the purpose of intellectual analysis to counter such loose talk. As it is, the ambiguity and confusion remain, more firmly established by being so readily indulged. Widdowson is taking the community at large to task for failing to uphold the standards of rigour and precision, indirectly accusing some individuals of propagating confusion.

As for the epistemic issue, Widdowson is of course correct in pointing out that if you understand discourse analysis as studying linguistic units which are larger than the clause, then, in accordance with what I understand to be standard linguistic knowledge, you are implying that your interest is in sentences. But they have already been covered by syntax, making your endeavours redundant.

Indeed, the only way to make sense of discourse analysis is to think of it as examining language above the level of the sentence.

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After all, all the other bases have been covered: from phonology and morphology to lexis, lexical bundles and phrases, and from phrases to clauses and sentences. What about confusion then? I do think that Widdowson has a case for pointing out that there is some terminological confusion about.

But, again, he is himself guilty of exacerbating it. This time the problem is not cohesive or logical, but rather semantic. In E4a. Instead of it being apparent that the question is one of size, i.

The problem here is that beyondness indicates not only aboveness but also difference or generally exceeding limits. Thus, discourse analysis could also be seen as linguistic analysis that is different from syntactic analysis. If so seen, discourse analysis could be understood as any kind of linguistics that is not syntax, or indeed any kind of linguistics that is simply novel.

This terminological confusion is perhaps purely incidental and a minor point that is easily dismissed, especially since beyondness apparently generally connotes going up rather than down, but in a context of criticizing confusion it is also not very helpful. Moving on to issue E4d. It is, indeed, so orthodox a view that it seems perverse, not to say foolhardy, to question it.

Widdowson, , p.

H. G. Widdowson

Furthermore, [t]his is where discourse comes in and why it needs to be distinguished from text. As I have tried to show, we achieve meaning by indexical realisation, that is to say by using language to engage our extra-linguistic reality. Unless it is activated by this contextual connection, the text is inert. It is this activation, this acting of context on code, this indexical conversion of the symbol that I refer to as discourse.

Discourse in this view is the pragmatic process of meaning negotiation.

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Text is its product. Widdowson also presents in this context an interesting instance of social criticism: S4. It might be objected that I am giving unwarranted attention to relatively trivial uses of language, indulging in critical nit-picking.

He is also verbalizing a possibly rather common response to criticism and then denying it by pointing out that in this case the issue is not trivial.

This example could be seen as operating on two levels: on a meta-level as commenting on the frustration that detailed criticism can cause, and on an interpersonal level controlling possible responses to keep the focus on what is seen as the issue.

The epistemic the textuality of public notices thus trumps the social negative reactions to criticism that is perceived to be beside the point. Proceeding to discuss issue E4c. Distinction is here made between the pragmatic notions of reference locution , force illocution and effect perlocution which are all understood as functions of discourse and not features of text.

The former two are intentional, so that the speaker refers to something or someone with certain force and in so doing has the intention of causing some effect in the hearer.

Discourse Analysis Widdowson H G

Crucially, however, Widdowson argues that the hearer may either fail to recognize the intention and thus fail to activate the effect intended, or he or she may also choose to not ratify it: [w]here your reality corresponds to mine, or where you are prepared to co-operate in seeing things my way, then there can be convergence between intention and interpretation.

Otherwise, there will be a disparity. You will be taking me out of context — out of the context of my reality. I will limit myself to the last of these. So, as was already implied in the quotation above, the problem with critical discourse analysis is as follows: E5. Second persons may simply refuse to converge, insist on the primacy of their own ideological position, and so derive from the text the discourse which fits their preconceived ideological commitment.

What this amounts to is a denial of the co-operative principle. And this, I believe, is precisely what happens with a good deal of critical discourse analysis. It presents a partial interpretation of text from a particular point of view. It is partial in two senses: first, it is not impartial in that it is ideologically committed, and so prejudiced; and it is partial in that it selects those features of the text which support its preferred interpretation.

The issues here are clearly epistemic in the sense that they pertain to the pragmatic principle of co-operation and the nature of analysis. But they are also social, as it seems that a significant part of the problem is not the failures or errors per se of critical discourse analysis, but rather the perhaps active and conscious denial by its practitioners to take certain perceived commonplaces into consideration. The observance of this super-maxim and its associated sub-maxims is seen to increase the rationality of conversation and is essential in working out what Grice called conversational implicatures.

Widdowson could thus be said to be arguing that critical discourse analysis is irrational. But his choice of words is curious: Grice was aware that one can violate, flout or opt out of maxims. Furthermore, critical discourse analysis is not strictly speaking a conversational exchange, although it is probably not purely monologic either.

In this sense the use of the co-operative principle as grounds for criticism is not thoroughly convincing. It is surely an equally well-recognized fact that people do not necessarily 23 follow the co-operative principle or its attendant maxims and that in some cases lying might be easier than telling the truth, if one is for example more accustomed to dishonesty.

Remembering how Grice is suggesting that co-operation is also a normative principle, he also seems to be saying that it is better and more rational always to tell the truth.

Surely this is an unduly idealistic and narrow view of what it is rational for someone to say in some given situation. What about partiality then?

Widdowson finds that critical discourse analysis is just that because it commits itself to a particular perspective and because it does not explore other analytical avenues or interpretative possibilities. This has led him to conclude that it is interpretation instead of analysis, the latter entailing for him the investigation of different interpretations and their linguistic triggers.

In this Widdowson seems to agree with e. Max Weber in arguing that the role of the universities or the sciences is not to adopt extreme evaluative positions or to seek middle ground between extremes by compromising. In terms of the social aspect of this criticism, the argument seems to be that universities and the sciences should be governed by scientists and scientific principles even though politicians can and should be informed by objective studies.

A similar 24 argument about the separation of the academic and the political has been put forward by Hammersley Summary and discussion To summarize, Widdowson has presented the following epistemic issues in his article: E1.

Discourse is a diverse concept E2. There is general linguistic confusion about, namely a. The use of the word discourse will indicate that the speaker is aware of linguistic trends and little else S2. The purpose of intellectual analysis is to counter ambiguity and confusion and the academic community should not indulge such vices S3. Critical discourse analysts choose to suspend their co-operative impulses for political purposes Many of these issues I have found to be unwarranted or unconvincing for reasons that should be apparent in the text above.

The implication of this for critical discourse analysis is that the results of their analyses or interpretations would have to be seen as discourse itself, which it seems is well enough understood now Chilton et al. As such, I am inclined to agree with Widdowson that there should really be no reason for academics to create, perpetuate or indulge confusion and unclarity. After all, there are plenty of other sources for these phenomena without the most highly educated getting involved.

Whether confusion actually exists where someone sees it is of course another matter, but as a general rule of thumb I do believe it is to be avoided. Of the combined critical issues one remains, namely that of the partiality of critical discourse analysis for the sake of political correctness.

As for the former, he points out that in Fairclough the distinction is made between interpretation the ordinary process of making meaning and explanation connecting the textual and the interpretative to a social context. Furthermore, Fairclough , p. This openness to alternative positions on the political spectrum of course in no way diminishes the political dimension of critical discourse analysis, but instead makes it apparent that there must always be some underlying set of political or, as the case appears to be more recently, ethical van Dijk, ; Chilton et al.

But neither is it what conventional linguistic analysis of texts does — does that cease to be analysis, then? It is more normal to define as analysis any reasonably systematic application of reasonably well-defined procedures to a reasonably well-defined body of data.

On that count, CDA is analysis. Fairclough, , pp. The difference between the two positions is that Widdowson demands more of the community, as has been seen above, whereas Fairclough is on the defensive. He knows that critical discourse analysis generally does not fulfill the more stringent criteria of scientific or academic work, just as many other approaches or individual studies fail to do.

He then appeals to normalcy and reasonableness, which however is not very convincing when it comes to critical discourse analysis. These are after all the values that I have understood to be traditional and important in research of any kind. Fairclough of course has more to say on this issue, since it is at the heart of the debate.

The argument goes roughly as follows: being ideological means sustaining relations of domination, either overtly or usually covertly. As such, any practice may work ideologically, and whether it does or does not is something that has to be established by analysis for each case separately.

A similar argument has been put forward by Billig as regards conversation analysis.Routledge English Language Introductions cover core areas of language study and are one-stop resources for students.

The one does not exclude the other even though it might be impossible to do both at the same time. Among the more persistent critics the most prominent is perhaps Henry Widdowson, whose diverse commentary has been substantial enough to find expression in book format Widdowson, Malden: Blackwell. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 20, Old Password.

Widdowson Henry. Discourse Analysis

This then results in what Widdowson perceives as the difficulty of choosing which perspective is to be privileged. Billig M. Of the combined critical issues one remains, namely that of the partiality of critical discourse analysis for the sake of political correctness.

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