Discourse analysis

From: Ronald Ross (rross@cariari.ucr.ac.cr)
Date: Fri Jan 31 1997 - 08:03:50 EST

Whatever the virtues of Black' "Linguistics . . ." and Louw's "Semantics
. . ." may be, neither is, nor purports to be, an introduction to
discourse analysis. Black has a three-page section he calls discourse
analysis, but even here he is mostly concerned with the fact that words
acquire their meaning in a context and not in isolation. A cursory
glance at his index shows that he is primarily interested in traditional
non discourse concepts like phonology, morphology, sentence syntax and
lexical semantics. In neither of these books is there any real
discussion of important discourse concepts such as information structure
(given/new), topicalizing devices, cohesion, anaphora, etc. If one wants
to find out what discourse analysis is and what it can do, one need not
just read books about Greek. The few Greek scholars, like Stanley
Porter, who have ventured beyond the works of fellow Greek scholars into
the waters of general linguistics, have found the fishing profitable. If
this seems too threatening, then let me recommend _Linguistics a
Biblical Interpretation_ by Cotterell and Turner.

Ronald Ross
Department of Linguistics
University of Costa Rica
UBS Consultant

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