Discourse And Communication: A Comparative Study

Project and Seminar Material for English Language

Discourse And Communication: A Comparative Study


Discourse and communication are two interrelated concepts, intricately interwoven and grossly assumed as overtly synonymous. This study therefore, attempts to demystify these concepts and also aim to unearth the intricate relationship that exists between them .In this regard, the study discussed in detail the theoretical frameworks of discourse and communication and consequently established the fact that they are absolutely synonymous in every respect. To this end, the methodology is Content Analysis using discourse analytic tools of cohesion and coherence.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

Language, it could be said, is as old as man but the central function of language is and remains communication. In other words, the whole essence of language boils down to communication and communication is or entails discourse. The centrality and significance of language in relation to mankind has made it the concern of linguists. Prior to modern trends in linguistics analysis, scholars were chiefly concerned with describing the structures and frameworks of languages, in this case, the traditional grammarians. However, the development of new approaches in language study shifted emphasis to functionalism, marking a quantum leap from linguistic prescriptivism to linguistic descriptivism. This brought about attempts to explain the roles or functions of language in different context, thus leading to new disciplines like discourse analysis and communication studies that view language as discourse and as a means to exchange ideas or knowledge.

Discourse can be regarded as communication because they are invariably linked such that the manifestation of one presupposes the occurrence of the other. This scenario could be likened to two sides of a coin; intricate parts of a whole. According to Wodak ‘discourse is a social performance, a relative social phenomenon that depends on a wide range of discipline…’ (49). Simply put, it refers to conversations or utterances in a social context. On the other hand, communication is an umbrella term for processes that involve the exchange of information and this includes conversations or utterances (discourse). Keyton (52) states that ‘communication presupposes discourse and all discourse forms’. In this regard, the concepts of discourse and communication will be examined in detail to further understand there interrelatedness

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