Human of Linguistics (2001): “To imagine a world without

Human life is encompassed by discourse,
written or spoken, formal or informal, long or short. It is an irrevocable
factor, from everyday ordinary life to scholarly discussions, literature and
novels. It is not far from reality when it is said that life is ‘made up of’
discourse. Weiyun beautifully illustrates the importance of discourse in the
handbook of Linguistics (2001): “To
imagine a world without discourse is to imagine a world without language and
therefore to imagine the unimaginable.” Every discourse takes place in the context in which the
speaker or writer engage in. As pervasive an element as this is worthy of
closely exploring and investigating. Learning how to engage in a discourse in a
specific context is essential in teaching a language. Therefor studying
discoursecannot be eliminated from teaching and has a central part in applied
linguistics. This is what discourse analyst do. In the field of applied
linguistics discourse analysis plays an important role by studying texts and
their relationships between the contexts in which they arise. Schiffrin., et .al (2001) expound in their
book titled as ‘The Handbook of Discourse Analysis’:”Given this disciplinary diversity, it is no surprise that the
terms “discourse” and “discourse    
analysis” have different meanings to scholars in different fields. For
many, particularly linguists, “discourse” has generally been defined as
anything “beyond the sentence.” For others (for example Fasold 1990: 65), the
study of discourse is the study of language use. These definitions have in
common a focus on specific instances or spates of language. But critical
theorists and those influenced by them can speak, for example, of “discourse of
power” and “discourses of racism,” where the term “discourses” not only becomes
a count noun, but further refers to a broad conglomeration of linguistic and
nonlinguistic social practices and ideological assumptions that together
construct power or racism”.Jorgensen and Philips (2002) define discourse
and discourse analysis as follows:  “Underlying the word ‘discourse’ is the
general idea that language is structured according to                                      
different patterns that people’s utterances follow when they take part
in different domains of social life, familiar examples being ‘medical
discourse’ and ‘political discourse’. ‘Discourse analysis’ is the analysis of
these patterns”. Discourse analysis provides more
understandings of social interactions. Two essential preconditions are taken
into account in every discourse analysis. First, the discourse selected for
analysis is always a ‘real text’, i.e. the texts are not invented or
constructed, but they are taken from a real context. Second, discourse analysts
don’t limit their studies on the notion of sentence, they work beyond the
written sentences and work with ‘utterances’ i.e. sequences of words written or
spoken in specific context, rather than ‘sentences’ i.e. sequence of words
confirming, or not, to the rules of grammar. Discourse analysts focus on the
following questions when analyzing a text: How do we know what writers or speakers mean?
How we interpret their meanings from the texts? How we take benefit of the
context to understand the meaning of writer or speaker? Who are the
participants in the discourse? And what is their relations and standings? Are
they equal? What is the differences regarding power or knowledge? (Schmitt,
2012) Discourse analysis is the analysis of language
in its social context. As mentioned earlier, discourse can be spoken or
written. However, the process of analysis of a written text could be different
from spoken one. Beattie (1983) argues “Spontaneous speech is unlike written
text. It contains many mistakes, sentences are unusually brief and indeed the
whole fabric of verbal expressions is riddled with hesitations and silences.”
In addition in the analysis of spoken texts there is a need to transcribe it
with all pauses, repetitions, turn takings and false starts. In general the
differences between spoken and written texts can be considered respecting the
following factors. First the formality of vocabulary and second, proportion of
content words to grammatical items. Written discourses contains more formal
vocabulary and content words than spoken texts. In other words, the lexical
density in written discourses are high. Considering the written text, there are some
various characteristics for different types of it. For instance the type of
vocabularies used for academic written texts is different from vocabularies
used in a novel. Academic texts are usually detached from usual formal styles;
the amount of pronouns like I and You in academic discourses is usually lower
than that amount in novels. Even among various genres of novels there are some
diversities in discourse and the utilized vocabulary. Therefore, discourse
analysis can be a useful device for studying and exploring these differences
and provides us with fruitful results. Johnson (2012) suggests that people do not
always say what they mean, and they do not always mean what they say. This is
one of the important reason of crucial need for discourse analysis. He names
four reason for this process. The first reason is that “we can often depend on
the person we are talking to be able to guess what we mean with minimal input’.
The second reason he argues is that “we may risk hurting someone else’s
feelings or risking embarrassment”. The third reason he suggests is that “one
of the things that gives richness to human relationships is the space we create
in our discourse for multiple meanings and multiple interpretations”. According
to his forth reason ambiguity in discourse enables us to make joke and many
other things that make relations strong and interesting.  The field of discourse analysis is so vast,
and a comprehensive review of all its approaches cannot fit into this work.
Various approaches towards discourse analysis are classified by Eggins and
Slades (2005) to the following categories. Sociology which is applied through
conversation analysis; Sociolinguistics overlapping Ethnography, Interactional
Sociolinguistics and Variation Theory; Philosophy consisting of Speech act
theory and Pragmatics; Linguistics including Structural Functional (which
involves Birmingham School and Systemic Functional Linguistics) and Social
semiotic; and Artificial Intelligence. Among these approaches Systemic
Functional Linguistics is the discourse analysis approach used in this study.
Next section is allocated to explaining it. 2.2. Systemic Functional LinguisticsSystemic Functional linguistics (SFL) is an
approach to linguistics developed by Halliday considering language as a social
semiotic system. Halliday seeks the nature of language as a social system and
he focuses on this question that ‘how does language work?” Systemic functional
linguistic is “Functional” because it considers language to have evolved under
the pressure of particular functions. SFL deals with language functions in
social contexts. So its focus is on social context and language use rather than
structures, essentially it is concerned with the relationship of language, text
and social life, it also describes how people use language with each other to
accomplish every day social life and how language is structured to achieve
these meanings. SFL is a
multi-perspectival model, providing analysts with complementary perspectives
for interpreting language in use.The key notion in Systemic Functional
Linguistics is that language is far beyond being good or bad, since it is the
context of use that makes it appropriate or inappropriate. Language cannot be
taken apart from its context, it takes place in a social setting. The roots of Systemic Functional Linguistics goes back to the
Prague School of Linguistics founded in the 1920s in Czechoslovakia. The following
four central tenets of this school which are mentioned in the Handbook of
Applied linguistics edited by Simpson (2011) provide the theme for early and
current SFL and especially the work of Halliday:1.    
The
view of language as a network of relations which refers to the fact that
various aspects of language function as a network and they do not exist in
isolation. 2.    
 The view of language as a system composed of
sub-systems. According to this view every language has different levels and at
each level different aspects of language are manifested. For instances, the
focus of lexicogrammatical level is on structure and vocabulary. While in the
semantic level the focus is on meaning, content and attitude.3.    
 The emphasis is on the functional nature of
language, how different meanings, purposes and intentions are conveyed through
language.4.    
 The view that form derives from function,
emphasizing that the form or the structure of a language, is rooted in the
meanings that people want to convey as they speak or write to each other. The Prague framework built on these conceptual views is further
expanded in the work of J. R. Firth, the first professor of general linguistics
and founder of the London School of Linguistics. Halliday was one of his early
students and followed Firth, who maintained that language is a network of
systems revealing again the focus on the relational nature of language. Firth
further insisted that meaning is central in linguistic explanation, and that
language expresses central functions in a variety of situational contexts.Another central issue in Firth’s work was his focus on language as
a system of networks, a system of meanings, which has remained a core concept
in current SFL theory. Firth’s interest in the uses to which people put language
led to his early theorizing about the role of functions in contexts of use. For
Firth, “function was tied to context in the sense that systems of options
become available in different situations”. He was the first who closely
explored the contextual and linguistic concepts in one frame, and his student,
Halliday had a great role in expanding this view. Young in the Handbook of Applied Linguistics (2011) argues that SFL
is a perspective describing language both as a social phenomenonand as a formal
system for expressing meanings. It does so by explaining how people interact
with each other through language, andproviding a methodology for the analysis
of many types of discourse. Through SFL language is organized as a functional
system; these functions (technically referred to as metafunctions)underlie and
generate the structures of language. The functional focus allows researchers
“toexamine any text – verbal or visual – and be able to analyze it and explain
why texts meanwhat and how they do so”. SFL researchers view language as “a
system of choices”, which allowsthem to explain choices made in a particular
instance of language use. Then, the emphasis in SFL is on the functions and
systems of choice. Systemicists study”what language does, not what it is; showing
what it does better illustrates what it is”.  Halliday (1994) defines the
concept of function in two ways. First, “function equals use”; and second, “it
is a fundamental property of language, basic to the evolution of the semantic
or meaning system: every natural language can be interpreted in terms of a
functional theory”. There are three general functions or metafunctions of
language, which are simultaneously expressed in instances of language use: ·       Ideational Metafunction: Language is used to talk about what is
happening at any given moment, what will happen at some future time and what
has been happening. ·       Interpersonal Metafunction: language is used to express a point of
view or an opinion on the present or future happening.·       Textual Metafunction: make the output of the previous two functions
into a coherent whole. So every utterance simultaneously expresses three metafunctions.
These functions of language are built into the language code, allowing users to
combine different functions into each utterance. When people speak they not
only share some experience but also express their stance towards it, their
opinion of it and attitude towards it; and they also seek to relate the
experience to what has gone before; they seek to make their interaction cohere
to what has already been said, not only in this language event but also in
previous ones. The grammar of a language is there to connect the selections in
meaning derived from the metafunctions of language and realize them in a
unified structural form (Halliday, 1978). Attitude is one of the subsystems of Interpersonal metafunction
which is briefly explained in the following part.  2.3. Appraisal  Appraisal is a framework for analyzing evaluation in language. It
has emerged from Systemic Functional Linguistics (Halliday 1994; Martin 1992;
Matthiessen; 1995). This framework explores the ways in which language is used
for evaluation and adaption of stances by discourse producers. It deals with
social functions of language use and consider language as a mean of expressing
feelings and stances. The medium of analysis in Appraisal framework is mainly
lexical rather than grammatical. This framework is developed by Martin (2000) and is applied both
for written and spoken texts. Since its establishment, it has been applied as
an evaluative system in various areas and contexts like educational,
professional, political contexts. Despite the powerful and useful stance of
this framework for evaluation and understanding different discourses, Martin
and White (2005) states that it is an ongoing process and lots of its facets
are still uninvestigated and untouched: “…our maps of feelings (for
affect, judgment and appreciation) have to be treated at this stage    as hypotheses about the organization of the
relevant meanings-offered as a challenge to those concerned with developing
appropriate reasoning…”Appraisal belongs to interpersonal metafunction of Systemic Functional
Linguistics and deals with social functions of language and the way language is
used for adaption of stances by speaker or writer. Appraisal framework has
three subsystems named Attitude, Gradation and Engagement. ·       Attitudes explores the activation of positive or negative
positioning in the text. Attitudinal meanings can be categorized in three broad
semantic meanings: Affect, Judgment, and Appreciation.

§  Affect deals with emotion, it displays positive or negative
feelings expressed in the text by speaker or writer. Feeling happy or sad,
confident or anxious, interested or bored?

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now