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1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.


2.1. On defining the term discourse.
2.2. Related notions.
2.2.1. The notion of text linguistics.
2.2.2. Sentence vs. Utterance.
2.2.3. Speech acts.
2.2.4. Communicative context.
2.3. On defining discourse analysis.
2.3.1. The seven standards of textuality.
2.3.2. The role of syntax, semantics and pragmatics.
2.3.3. Oral vs. written discourse.
2.3.4. The analysis and articulation of discourse.

3.1. Definition.
3.2. Types of cohesive devices.
3.2.1. Grammatical devices. Substitution. Ellipsis. Reference: anaphora, cataphora and deixis. Conjunctions.
3.2.2. Lexical devices.
3.2.3. Graphological devices.

4.1. Definition.
4.2. Main features.


5.1. The Communicative Approach: a basis for discourse analysis.
5.2. New directions in discourse analysis.



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1.1. Aims of the unit.

The main aim of Unit 29 is to examine discourse analysis and its articulation by means of sucñh
devices as anaphora and cataphora, connectors and deixis. Our aim is to offer a broad account in
descriptive terms of the notion of discourse and discourse analys is and its importance in society,
and especially, in the language teaching community, from its origins to present-day studies. This
presentation will start by offering the most relevant bibliography in this field as a reference for the
reader, and by presenting our study in six chapters.

Chapter 2 will offer an account of the analysis and articulation of oral and written discourse, it is
relevant to introduce first a theoretical framework which shall develop our understanding of central
concepts related to their linguistic nature. So we shall review (1) the definition of the term
‘discourse’, (2) related notions such as (a) the notion of text linguistics, (b) sentence vs. utterance,
(c) a definition of speech act and (d) the notion of communicative context in order to frame (3) the
definition of ‘discourse analysis’ and its main features, such as (a) the seven standards of textuality,
(b) the role of syntax, semantics and pragmatics, (c) general considerations in oral and written
discourse and finally, (d) the main elements in the analysis and articulation of discourse.

Chapters 3 and 4 will offer then an insightful analysis and description of the elements in the
analysis and articulation of discourse, that is, cohesion and coherence respectively. Chapter 5 will
be devoted to present the main educational implications in language teaching regarding discourse
analysis. So, we shall examine the model for a Communicative Approach which is considered to be
a basis for discourse analysis and new directions in this respect. Chapter 6 will offer a conclusion
to broadly overview our present study, and Chapter 7 will include all the bibliographical references
used to develop this account of discourse analysis.

1.2. Notes on bibliography.

An influential introduction to the analysis of discourse is based on relevant works of Cook,

Discourse (1989); van Dijk, Text and Context (1984); Brown and Yule, Discourse Analysis (1983)
and notes on the articulation of discourse regarding cohesion and coherence are namely taken from

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Beaugrande and Dressler, Introduction to Text Linguistics (1988) and, still indispensable, Halliday
and Hasan, Cohesion in English (1976). Classic works on the influence of semantics, pragmatics
and sociolinguistic on discourse analysis, include van Dijk, Studies in the Pragmatics of Discourse
(1981); Hymes, Communicative Competence (1972) and Foundations in Sociolinguistics: An
Ethnographic Approach (1974); Halliday, Explorations in the Functions of Language (1975)and
Spoken andWritten Language (1985); and Searle, Speech Act (1969).

The background for educational implications is based on the theory of communicative competence
and communicative approaches to language teaching are provided by Canale, From Communicative
Competence to Communicative Language Pedagogy (1983); Canale and Swain, Theoretical bases
of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing (1980); Hymes, On
communicative competence (1972). In addition, the most complete record of current publications
within the educational framework is provided by the guidelines in B.O.E. (2002); the Council of
Europe, Modern Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. A Common European Framework of
reference (1998); Hedge Tricia, Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom (2000); and
Celce-Murcia & Olshtain, Discourse and context in language teaching (2000). New directions on
language teaching is provided by the annual supplement of AESLA 2001 (Asociación Española de
Lingüística Aplicada).



In order to offer an account of the analysis and articulation of oral and written discourse, it is
relevant to introduce first a theoretical framework which shall develop our understanding of central
concepts related to their linguistic nature. So we shall review (1) the definition of the term
‘discourse’, (2) related notions such as (a) the notion of text linguistics, (b) sentence vs. utterance,
(c) a definition of speech act and (d) the notion of communicative context in order to frame (3) the
definition of ‘discourse analysis’ and its main features, such as (a) the seven standards of textuality,
(b) the role of syntax, semantics and pragmatics, (c) general considerations in oral and written
discourse and finally, (d) the main elements in the analysis and articulation of discourse.

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2.1. On defining the term discourse.

The term ‘discourse’ comes into force when we deal with the highest grammatical level of analysis
in the rank scale, that is, paragraphs and texts, which are considered to be ‘larger stretches of
language higher than the sentence’ (Aarts, 1988). At this level, language does not occur in solitary
words or sentences (simple, complex and compound) in grammatical terms, but in sequences of
sentences, that is, utterances in terms of meaning and use in connected discourse. Then we shall
deal with sequences of utterances which interchange in order to establish relations of social
interaction either in spoken or written language in communicative events (utterance pairs and
responses in letters, greetings and telephone conversations).

‘Discourse’ then represents ‘the complex picture of the relations between language and action in
communicative contexts’ which account for the functions of utterances with underlying textual
structures’ (van Dijk, 1981). The origins of the term are to be found within the fields of
sociolinguistics and pragmatics, which had a rapid growth in the 1970s: the former confronting with
data and problems of actual language use, the latter introducing the notions of speech acts, felicity
conditions and context. This means that semantic coherence of sentence sequences should be
complemented with coherence at the pragmatic level of speech act sequences.

Hence it must be borne in mind that a pragmatic theory cannot be limited to an account of single
speech acts, expressed by single sentences, but also must explain the structure of speech act
sequences and general speech acts, realized by sequences of sentences of discourse and
conversation. Yet, following van Dijk (1981), ‘a speech act is accomplished by an utterance in some
context, and such an utterance does not necessarily consist of one single sentence. In other words, a
pragmatically text grammar should specify the conditions under which whole discourses, when
uttered in some context, could be said to be appropriate with respect to that context’.

2.2. Related notions.

Up to here, we have encountered some notions which need to be examined in order to fully
understand our current analysis on the pragmatics of discourse, thus (1) ‘text linguistics’, (2)
‘sentence vs. utterance’, (3) ‘speech acts’ and (4) ‘communicative context’.

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2.2.1. The notion of text linguistics.

The notion of text linguistics designates ‘any work in language science devoted to the text as the
primary object of inquiry’ (Beaugrande & Dressler, 1988). In fact, many fields have approached the
study of texts: linguistics (from grammar, morphology and phonology), anthropology (different
speech acts in different cultures), psychology (speaker and hearer behaviour), stylistics (correctness,
clarity, elegance, appropriateness, style), literary studies (text types) and so on, but the most
important fields are sociology (which explores conversational studies and gives way to discourse
analysis), semantics (coherence, cohesion, connectors) and pragmatics (speech acts, contexts) which
shape the text into a pragmatic coherent structure (van Dijk, 1984).

Yet, the oldest form of preoccupation with texts and the first foundation for the analysis of texts and
its articulation is drawn from the notion of text linguistics which has its historical roots in rethoric,
dating from Ancient Greece and Rome through the Middle Ages up to the present under the name
of text linguistics or discourse. Traditional rethoricians were influenced by their major task of
training public orators on the discovery of ideas (invention), the arrangement of ideas (disposition),
the discovery of appropriate expressions for ideas (elocution), and memorization prior to delivery
on the actual occasion of speaking.

In the Middle Ages, rethoric was based on grammar (on the study of formal language patterns in
Greek and Latin) and logic (on the construction of arguments and proofs). Rethoric still shares
several concerns with the kind of text linguistics we know today, for instance, the use of texts as
vehicles of purposeful interaction (oral and written), the variety of texts which express a given
configuration of ideas, the arranging of ideas and its disposition within the discourse and the
judgement of texts which still depends on the effects upon the audience.

2.2.2. Sentence vs. utterance.

As stated above, language does not occur in solitary words or sentences but builds texts in
sequences of sentences. This means that a sentence is defined in grammatical terms, that is, it is
considered to be the highest unit in the rank scale (either simple, complex or compound), and also
to be indeterminate since it is often difficult to decide where one sentence begins and another start
(partic ularly in spoken language). Yet, an utterance is defined in terms of meaning and use in

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connected discourse, that is, in terms of its communicative function. We can say an utterance is a
stretch of language (oral or written) which may vary in extension from a single word to a whole

2.2.3. Speech acts.

The speech act theory holds that the investigation of structure always presupposes something about
meanings, language use and extralinguistic functions. One of the speech acts basic characteristics is
undoubtely the establishment of a special kind of social interaction between ‘speaker’ and ‘hearer’
where the former tries to change the mind of the actions of the hearer by producing an utterance,
oral or written. We may classify the intention of the speaker (statements, questions, commands and
exclamations) according to the kind of sentences he states (declarative, interrogative, imperative or
exclamative respectively).

Similarly, we can relate the type of intention to the utterance type, that is, the speech act used
depending on its purpose and language function. According to Searle (1969) speech acts (and
therefore purposes) are divided into assertives (to tell people how things are by stating); directives
(to try to get people to do things by means of commanding and requesting); expressives (to express
our feelings and attitudes by thinking, forgiving, or blaming); declaratives (to bring about changes
through our utterances by means of bringing about correspondence between the propositional
content and reality, through baptizing, naming, appointing or sacking); and finally, commissives (to
commit ourselves to some future actions by promising and offering).

2.2.4. Communicative context.

This sequence of utterances usually takes place in a communicative context. The term context is
defined as ‘the state of affairs of a communicative situation in which communicative events take
place’ (van Dijk, 1981). A context must have a linguistically relevant set of characteristics for the
formulation, conditions and rules for the adequate use of utterances, for instance, it must be
‘appropriate’ and‘satisfactory’ for the given utterance.

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The notion of context is rather static when it is merely used to refer to a state of affairs. Hence we
may introduce the term ‘communicative’ so that an event may be successful if a given context
changes into a specific new context (i.e. speaking face to face vs. speaking on the phone). Generally
speaking, we may say that conditions for morphonological, syntactic and sematic well-formed
utterances may change from oral contexts to written ones. Thus utterances which are formally
appropriate with respect to their contexts, may not be actually ‘acceptable’ in concrete
communicative situations, and conversely.

2.3. On defining discourse analysis.

The term ‘discourse analysis’ is also called ‘the study of conversation’. As stated above, the
integration of sociology is of vital importance to a science of texts since it ‘has developed an
interest in the analysis of conversation as a mode of social organization and interaction’
(Beaugrande & Dressler, 1988). Many studies have been conducted on how people take turns in
speaking and on the mechanisms which combine texts as single contributions into discourses as
‘sets of mutually relevant texts directed to each other’.

In the present section we shall review the main features in the analysis of discourse analysis: (1) the
seven standards of textuality, (2) the role of syntax, semantics and pragmatics, (3) general
considerations in oral and written discourse and finally, (4) the main elements in the analysis and
articulation of discourse.

2.3.1. The seven standards of textuality.

Discourse analysis reveals then major factors about the standards of textuality (either oral or
written) by exploring first, two semantic standards: ‘cohesion’ (how the components of a surface
text are mutually connected within a sequence) and ‘coherence’ (how the concepts and relations
which underlie the surface text are mutually accessible and relevant); second ly, pragmatic standards
such as the attitudes of producers by means of such devices as ‘intentionality’ (the goal-directed use
of conversation) and receivers by means of ‘acceptability’ (inmmediate feedback), and also
‘informativity’ (the selection of contributions to conversation).

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The communicative setting is described in terms of ‘situationality’ (particularly direct

communicative context; intonation contours) and ‘intertextuality’ (text types in operation, that is,
how to frame your text in regard to other people’s texts in the same discourse). Moreover, the
regulative principles of efficiency, effectiveness and appropriateness can immediately regulated any
disregard for the demands in the text.

2.3.2. The role of syntax, semantics and pragmatics.

For many years, syntax and semantics were studied with little regard for the ways people used
grammar and meaning in communication and the use of language was relegated to the field of
pragmatics. Nowadays, the questions of use (pragmatics) are freely treated in syntax and semantics
and the notions of ‘cohesion’ and ‘coherence’, usually related to semantics, can be also helpful
when studying a text only if they deal with how connections and relations are actually set up among
communicative contexts.

Then in a text pragmatics explores the attitudes of producers by means of such devices as
‘intentionality’ (the goal-directed use of conversation) and receivers by means of ‘acceptability’
(inmmediate feedback), and ‘informativity’ (the selection of contributions to conversation). In
addition, the communicative setting is described in terms of ‘situationality’ (particularly direct
communicative context; intonation contours) and ‘intertextuality’ (text types in operation, that is,
how to frame your text in regard to other people’s texts in the same discourse).

On the other hand, semantics explores the relationship between syntactic structures (and therefore
grammatical categories building phrases, sentences and clauses) and the logical relationship
between them in a text by means of coherence and cohesion, having as a result the whole text under
the shape of a pragmatic coherent discourse.

2.3.3. Oral vs. written discourse.

According to Rivers (1981), writing a language comprehensibly is much more difficult tha n
speaking it. When we write, she says, we are like communicating into space if we do not know the
recipient of our piece of writing, whereas when we communicate a message orally, we know who is

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receiving the message. We are dealing here once again with a traditional division of language into
the two major categories of speech and writing.

We observe that both categories, speaking and writing, share similar features as well as differ in
others regarding the nature of each category. Following Byrne (1979), we can establish similar
resources for both speaking and writing at a linguistic level, thus on its grammar and lexis, but not
to the extent to which some resources apply directly to the nature of the two channels. Thus, as
speech is the language of immediate communication, most linking devices will also occur in the
spoken language although less frequently than in writing where they are essential for the
construction of a coherent text.

Therefore, we shall namely focus on the construction of longer texts and their coherence, cohesion
and effectiveness. When examining writing (as the way of making contact at a distance), we cannot
forget graphological devices which compensate for the absence of oral feedback and paralinguistic
devices that exist in oral communication. Then, we shall concentrate on cohesion and coherence as
they establish intrasentential and intersentential links in written and oral discourse.

There are also at least three more regulative principles that control textual communication: the
efficiency of a text is contingent upon its being useful to the participants with a minimum of effort;
its effectiveness depends upon whether it makes a strong impression and has a good potential for
fulfilling an aim; and its appropriateness depends upon whether its own setting is in agreement with
the seven standards of textuality (Beaugrande & Dressler, 1988).

2.3.4. The analysis and articulation of discourse.

The analysis and articulation of discourse was virtually limited to relations within the sentence up to
the third quarter of this century. It was thought that relations beyond the sentence involved a
complex interplay of linguistics with other concerns such as rhethoric, aesthetics, and pragmatics.
However, literary critics and social anthropologists began to shed light on this issue from the
constructs evolved by de Saussure, the Prague School, and other linguists whose work extended and
embraced stylistics and other aspects of textual studies .

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In the following sections then we shall approach the analysis and articulation of discourse from the
disciplines of syntax, pragmatics and namely semantics, together with a grammatical approach
when necessary on morphonological and phonological features. Hence in this chapter we shall only
analyse two of the seven standards of textuality: cohesion and coherence. We shall start by offering
(1) an analysis of cohesion where we shall include the concepts of anaphora, cataphora, connectors
and deixis (following Halliday & Hassan, 1976) and then (2) a brief analysis of coherence.


3.1. Definition.

The term ‘cohesion’ concerns the ways in which the components of the surface text (the actual
words we hear or see) are mutually connected within a sequence of utterances (Beaugrande &
Dressler, 1988), that is, intra-text linking devices are connected to extra -textual reference. The notion
of ‘cohesion’ is expressed through the stratal organization of language which can be explained as a
multiple coding system comprising three levels of coding: the semantic one (meanings), the
lexicogrammatical (forms: grammar and vocabulary) and the phonological and orthographic one
(expressions: sounding and writing).

Moreover, Halliday and Hasan, in their ground-breaking work Cohesion in English (1976),
described ‘cohesion’ as a semantic concept that refers to relations of meaning that exist within a
text. In other words, it is ‘a semantic relation between an element in the text and some other element
that is crucial to the interpretation of it’. These two elements are defined as the ‘presupposing’ and
the ‘presupposed’. Both of them may be structurally related to each other or may be not. The first
elements may be found in the text but its location in the text is in no way determined by the second

It must be borne in mind that in spoken English certain types of grammatical cohesion are in their
turn expressed through the intonation system (i.e. Did she hurt your feelings? She didn’t mean to).
In this example, the second sentence not only shows the cohesive device of ellipsis with ‘She didn’t
mean to’ but also with by the ellipsis of conjunction since the adversative meaning of ‘but’ is
expressed by the rising-falling tone.

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3.2. Types of cohesive devices.

Cohesion has been a most popular target for research, and it is well known its relation to the second
of the textuality standards, coherence. Since cohesive markers are important for the understanding
of oral and written texts, all speakers make extensive use of them, for example in order to enhance
coherence, but also for reasons of economy (e.g. saving time and alleviating conceptual work load
by using anaphoric devices like generalisations and pro-forms).

Since cohesion is expressed partly through the grammar and partly through the vocabulary, we find
two main types of cohesive devices considered as general categories of cohesion: grammatical
cohesion (substitution, ellipsis, conjunction, reference) and lexical cohesion (reiteration,
collocation). Yet, we shall include in our study a third type that, although last is not the least. We
refer to graphological devices (orthography, punctuation, headings, foot notes, tables of contents
and indexes) since most of them deal with form and structure of different types of texts, and are part
of the semantic relations established in a text.

3.2.1. Grammatical cohesion.

Thus the concept of cohesion accounts for the essential semantic relations whereby any passage of
speech or writing is enabled to function as text. It is within grammatical cohesion that we find
different types of relations: substitution, ellipsis, conjunction and reference. Note that the first two
items are not included in the title of this study, but the rest makes reference to the terms ‘anaphora
and cataphora, connectors and deixis’. It is relevant to mention first that anaphora and cataphora
will be examined under the heading of reference , connectors under the heading of conjunction and
finally, deixis as a subtype of reference and ellipsis. Substitution.

The cohesive device of ‘substitution’ is very similar to that of ‘ellipsis’. These two cohesive
relations are thought of as processes within the text: substitution as ‘the replacement of one item by
another’, and ellipsis as the omission of an item. Essentially the two are the same process since

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ellipsis can be interpreted as ‘that form of substitution in which the item is replaced by nothing’,
that is, simply ‘substitution by zero’ (Halliday & Hasan, 1976). However, the mechanisms involved
in the two are rather different, and also, at least in the case of ellipsis, fairly complex, so we shall
devote a section to each. Similarly, ‘substitution’ is different from ‘reference’ in that the former is a
grammatical relation whereas the latter is a semantic one.

We may find different types of substitution which are defined in grammatical terms rather than
semantically. The criterion is the grammatical function of the substitute item so the substitute may
function as a noun, a verb, or as a clause. To these, according to Halliday & Hasan (1976),
correspond the three types of substitution: nominal (one, ones, same), verbal (do), and clausal (so,

• First, within nominal substitution, the substitute ‘one/ones’always functions as Head of a

nominal group, and can substitute only for an item which is itself Head of a nominal group
(i.e. I like those white boots-Which ones?). Note that the substitute may differ from the
presupposed item in number (i.e. (At the library) I will take this book, and... this one, too).
In addition, it is relevant to ment ion that the word ‘one’ may also function as personal
pronoun (i.e. One never knows what may happen), cardinal number (i.e. He made one very
good point), indefinite article (i.e. Are there any biscuits in the box? -Yes, I can see some at
the bottom), as a pro-noun (i.e. The ones she really loves are her cousins).

Other related items are the word ‘the same’ (i.e. John sounded really sorry-Yes, Mary
sounded the same) and general nouns such as ‘thing, person, creature’ (i.e. This thing never
works-Don’t worry, my old one is also hopeless).

Secondly, verbal substitution . The verbal substitute in English is the verb ‘do’, which
operates ‘as head of a verbal group, in the place that is occupied by the lexical verb’ and is
always placed at the end of the sentence (i.e. The words didn’t come easily as they used to
do). Here the verb ‘do’ is the substitute for the verb ‘come’. Yet, verbal substitution
regularly extends across sentence boundaries.

In addition to functioning as the verbal substitute, the verb ‘do’ may occur in other contexts.
For instance, in Modern English it appears as lexical verb (i.e. I have work to do, let’s do

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the accounts), general verb (i.e. It does no harm), as a pro-verb (i.e. What was she doing?-
She wasn’t doing anything) and verbal operator (i.e. Does she sing?-No, she doesn’t).

• Finally, we have clausal substitution and in this type, what is presupposed is not an element
within the clause but an entire clause. Usually the words used as substitutes are ‘so’ and
‘not’ (i.e. Is there going to be an earthquake?-It says so/Have they failed?-I hope not).
There are three environments in which clausal substitution may take place: report. (in
reported clauses), condition (conditional clauses) and modality (modalized clauses).

First, in reported clauses, the presupposed element may be in the quoted form, that is, direct
speech (i.e. ‘The trial cannot proceed’, said he). Then the reported clause that is substituted
by ‘so’ or ‘not’ is always declarative, whatever the mood of the presupposed clause (i.e. He
said the trial could not proceed-Yes, I believe so/I hope not). There is no substitution for
interrogative or imperative, that is, indirect questions and commands.

Secondly, we find conditional structures which are frequently substituted by ‘so’ and ‘not’
again, especially following ‘if’ but also in other forms such as ‘assuming so, suppose not’
(i.e. Everyone seems to be innocent. If so, no doubt he’ll be condemned); and finally, ‘so’
and ‘not’ may occur as substitutes for clauses expressing modality (i.e. ‘May I give you a
call?’-‘Well, perhaps not’, said Anita). Ellipsis.

As stated above, the cohesive device of ‘ellipsis’ is very similar to that of ‘substitution’ and,
therefore, is considered as a process. It is defined as ‘the omission of an item’ or ‘that form of
substitution in which the item is replaced by nothing’, that is, simply ‘substitution by zero’
(Halliday & Hasan, 1976). The structural mechanisms involved in ellipsis are fairly complex and
hence, it shows different patterns from those of substitution. The discussion of ellipsis is related to
the notion that it is ‘something left unsaid’ where there is no implication that what is unsaid is not
understood; on the contrary, ‘unsaid’ implies ‘but understood nevertheless’, and another way of
referring to ellipsis is in fact as ‘something understood’ meaning ‘going without saying’ (i.e. She
brought some biscuits, and Cristine some fruit).

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Like substitution, ellipsis is a relation within the text, and in the great majority of instances the
presupposed item is present in the preceding text, that is, in anaphoric relation. We may distinguish
two different structural possibilities in which ellipsis is a form of relation between sentences by
means of

• First, nominal ellipsis, that is, ellipsis within the nominal group (i.e. He ate four oysters and
yet another four) where the modifying elements include some which precede the head and
some which follow it, as premodifier and postmodifier respectively (i.e. How did you enjoy
the show?-A lot (of the show). We may omit specific deictics, usually determiners
(demonstrative, possessive and definite article -the) as in ‘The men got back at midnight.
Both were tired’; non-specific deictics (each, every, all, both, any, ether, no, neither, some,
a) as in ‘Have some wine-Where?I can’t see any’; post-deictics, usually adjectives (other,
same, different, identical, usual, regular, and so on) as in ‘I’ve used up your knife. Can I
have another?’; numeratives, usually numerals or other quantifiying words (ordinals,
cardinals and indefinite quantifiers) as in ‘Have another chocolate.-No, thanks; that was my
fourth’; and finally, epithets, which are typically fulfilled by adjectives (comparatives and
superlatives) as in ‘Apples are the cheapest in autumn).

• Secondly, verbal ellipsis, that is ellipsis within the verbal group (i.e. Have you been
running? -Yes, I have). An elliptical verbal group presupposes one or more words from a
previous verbal group. In technical terms, it is defined as ‘a verbal group whose structure
does not fully express its systemic features (finiteness: finite vs. non-finite, polarity:
positive vs. negative, voice: active vs. passive, tense: present vs. past vs. future). Reference: anaphora, cataphora and deixis.

The third type of grammatical cohesion is reference, which is another well researched area within
linguistics. It is defined by Halliday & Hasan (1976) as ‘the case where the information to be
retrieved is the referential meaning, the identity of the particular thing or class of things that is being
referred to; and the cohesion lies in the continuity of reference, whereby the same thing enters into
the discourse a second time’ (i.e. See how they eat! =where ‘they’ may be three children, four
horses, etc).

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As stated before, by contrast to substitution and ellipsis, reference is a semantic relation as well as
directional. This means that first, alike substitution and ellipsis (which were subjected to very strong
grammatical conditions, that is, for the substitute to be of the same grammatical class as the item for
which it substitutes), reference is not constrained to match the grammatical class of the item it refers

Secondly, there is a logical continuity from naming through situational reference (referring to a
thing as identified in the context of situation) to textual reference (referring to a thing as identified
in the surrounding text) and hence a significant opposition in the system between pointing back
(anaphora) and pointing forwards (cataphora). Thus the direction may be anaphoric (with the
presupposed element preceding) or cataphoric (with the presupposed element following). The
typical direction as we shall see later is the anaphoric one. It is natural after all, to presuppose what
has already gone rather than what is to follow. Hence, in this case, situational reference would be
the prior form.

Thus, it is relevant to have a special term for situational reference, in other words, exophora or
exophoric reference (reference that must be made to the context of the situation) in contrast with
endophoric reference (reference that must be made to the text of the discourse itself). Then, if
endophoric, we may distinguish between anaphoric reference (referring to the preceding text) or
cataphoric reference (referring to the text that follows). Here we find the two items to be developed
in the title: anaphora and cataphora. Let us consider these in turn.

• Anaphora.

First, anaphora is the cohesive device that uses a pro-form after the co-referring expression (i.e.
We asked Bob to sing a Christmas carol and so he sang). ‘Anaphora is the most common
directionality for co-reference, since the identity of the conceptual content being kept current is
made plain in advance. Yet, anaphora may be troublesome if there is a lengthy stretch of text
before the pro-form appears. By then, the original elements could have been displaced from
active storage and other candidates may be mistakenly called’ (Beaugrande & Dressler, 1988).

Cohesion as we have said is not a structural relation, hence it is unrestricted by sentence

boundaries, and in its most normal form it is simply the presupposition of something that has

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gone before, whether in the preceding sentence or not. This form of presupposition, pointing
back to some previous items is known as anaphora. This cohesive device places the identity of
someone or something at the beginning of the text (oral or written) and through the discourse it
is referred to by means of other grammatical categories such as pronouns (i.e. personal,
possessive, interrogative), adjectives (i.e. possessive, demonstrative) or other categories such as
determiners (the).

• Cataphora.

So far we have considered cohesion purely as ‘an anaphoric relation, with a presupposing item
presupposing something that has gone before it’ (Beaugrande & Dressler, 1988). But this
presupposition may go in the opposite direction, with the presupposing element following and
then we shall refer to as cataphora. In other words, it is the cohesive device which has forward
reference instead of back-reference by means of possessive, demonstrative, definite and
personal pronouns and adjectives, which are mentioned first and the identity of the person,
thing or place is revealed later through the discourse (i.e. Nobody knew them but Rose and
Charlie soon became well-known at that place).

In this case, ‘the presupposed element may, and often does, consist of more than one sentence.
Where it does not, the cataphoric reference is often signalled in writing with a colon: but
although this has the effect of uniting the two parts into a single orthographic sentence, it does
not imply any kind of structural relation between them. The colon is used solely to signal the
cataphora, this being one of its principal functions’ (Beaugrande & Dressler, 1988).

• Types of reference: deixis.

As stated before, reference is the relation between an element of the text and something else
by reference to which it is interpreted in the given instance. The interpretation may take two
forms: either the reference item is interpreted through being identified with the referent in
question; or it is interpreted through being compared with the referent. In the former case,
where the interpretation involves identifying, the reference item functions as a deictic item
which is always specific.

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Then deixis is defined as ‘the identifying function in the nominal group; and for cohesive
purposes the identification must be specific’ (Beaugrande & Dressler, 1988). Hence the set
of reference items includes all the specific deictics (pronouns and determiners) except the
interrogatives. The interrogatives (who, what, whose, which, what) cannot be cohesive
since they contain only a request for specification, not the specification itself.

In other words, all reference items of this type are specific, because their interpretation
depends on identity of reference. This does not imply that the referent, where it is itself an
element of the text (if anaphoric), must necessarily also be specific. A reference item then
can relate anaphorically to any element whether specific or not (i.e. I can see a star. Let’s
take a photo of it).

Thus deixis is achieved by means of the following types of reference in nominal groups
(Beaugrande & Dressler, 1988): personal, demonstrative and comparative. First, personal
reference is ‘reference by means of function in the speech situation, throught the category
of person’ (nouns, pronouns, determiners that refer to the speaker, the addressee, other
persons or objects, or an object or unit of text); secondly, demonstrative reference is
‘reference by means of location, on a scale of proximity’ (determiners or adverbs that refer
to locative or temporal proximity or distance, or that are neutral); and finally, comparative
reference which is ‘indirect reference by means of identity or similarity’ (adjectives or
verbs expressing a general comparison based on identity, or difference, or express a
particular comparison).

o Personal reference.

The category of personals represent a single system, that of person, and includes the
three classes of personal pronouns, possessive determiners (possessive adjectives)
and possessive pronouns (i.e. Haven’t you spoken to Anne yet? – No, I haven’t. I
don’t want to see her). Personals referring to the speech roles (speaker and
adresseee) are typically exophoric (we=you and I) in letter-writing, in first person
narrative, in advertising and in official documents among others (i.e. Dear Daniel:
How are you?).

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However, they become anaphoric in quoted speech (specially in written la nguage

and narrative fiction). Personals referring to other roles (persons or objects other
than the speaker or addressee) are typically anaphoric, that is, deictic. This includes
‘he, she, it and they’ and also the third person component of ‘we’ when present. So
far personal reference can be also achieved by cataphoric reference by means of
personal pronouns, which refer forward to succeeding elements to which they are
in no way structurally related (i.e. I would never have believed it. They’ve accepted
the whole scheme).

o Demonstrative reference.

Demonstrative reference is essentially a primary form of verbal pointing which may

be accompanied by demonstrative action, in the form of a gesture indicating the
object referred to (i.e. Pick this up!). So, the speaker identifies the reference by
locating it on a scale of proximity regarding place (here/there) or time (now/then) as
in ‘Come here!/Come now!’ or ‘This vs. That is a big garden=near vs. far’. Thus we
find two subtypes: neutral (the) and selective (near, far, this, that, these, those, here,
there, now, then).

In the case of the demonstratives, there are certain differences in meaning between
the functions of modifier and head since a demonstrative functioning as head is
more like a personal pronoun (i.e. That’s my brother). Also, there are many
expressions containing a demonstrative that occur as adjuncts, usually at the
beginning of a clause (i.e. in that case, that being so, after that, at this moment, etc).

o Comparative reference.

Comparative reference may be described in terms of ‘general’ and ‘particular’

comparison. When we refer to ‘general comparison’, we deal with comparison in
terms of likeness and unlikeness without respect to any particular property by
means of a certain class of adjectives and adverbs (i.e. identical, fast, good). The
adjectives function in the nominal group either as deictic (i.e. identity, similarity,
difference) or as epithet (comparatives). These items are called ‘adjectives of
comparison’ and ‘adverbs of comparison’.

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On the other hand, if we refer to ‘particular comparison’ we compare in terms of

quantity and quality by means of adjectives and adverbs, too. The adjectives
function, as always, within the nominal group, but not as deictic. They function
either as numerative (more, so many, one, first) or as epithet (comparatives). The
same principles operate with comparison as with other forms of reference: it may be
anaphoric, and therefore cohesive, or it may be cataphoric or even exophoric. Conjunctions.

Conjunction is a relationship which indicates how the subsequent sentence or clause should be
linked to the preceding or the following sentence or parts of sentence. This is usually achieved by
the use of conjunctions (included in the title of the unit). Frequently occurring relationships are
addition, causality and temporality. Subordination links works when the status of one depends on
that of the other, by means of a large number of conjunctive expressions: because, since, as, thus,
while , or therefore.

‘Conjunctive elements are cohesive not in themselves but indirectly, by virtue of their specific
meanings. They are not primarily devices for reaching out into the preceding (or following) text, but
they express certain meanings which presuppose the presence of other components in the discourse
as well as the text structure. With conjunction, then, we move into a different type of semantic
relation which is a specification of the way in which what is to follow is systematically connected to
what has gone before’ (Beaugrande & Dressler, 1988).

We may distinguish three varieties of presenting conjunctions in a text. First, conjunctive

expressions, second conjunctive relations and finally, other conjunctive items called continuatives.

• First of all, conjunctive expressions involve the presence of a preposition which governs the
reference item (i.e. instead of, as a result of, in consequence). The resulting prepositional
group will then function as a cohesive adjunct and hence we distinguish three types of
conjunctive adjuncts:

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o first, adverbs: simple adverbs (but, so, then, next), compound adverbs (ending in –
ly: accordingly, actually) and compound adverbs (there/where-: therefore, whereat).
o Secondly, other compound adverbs (furthermore, anyway, besides, instead) and
prepositional phrases (on the contrary, as a result, in addition to).
o Finally, prepositional expressions with ‘that’ or other reference item (as a result of
that, instead of that, in addition to that).

• Secondly, conjunctive relations involve the phenomena we group under the heading of
conjunctions. There is no uniquely correct inventory of the different types of conjunctive
relations; on the contrary, different classifications are possible, each of which would
highlight different aspects of the facts grouped in four categories: additive (i.e. And in all
this time he said nothing), adversative (i.e. Yet he was aware of his own mistake), causal
(i.e. So he tried to apologize) and temporal (i.e. Then, as he thought, she didn’t forgive him)
(Beaugrande & Dressler, 1988).

o First, additive conjunctions are embodied in the form of coordination. When are
considering cohesive relations, we can group them in the form of coordination, the
‘and’ type and the ‘or’ type which can be in turn, positive or negative:

(1) Simple additive relations which are classified as (a) additive (and; and also, and
... too), (b) negative (nor; and ... not, not ... either, neither) and (c) alternative
(or; or else).
(2) Complex additive relations, also called emphatic, can be classif ied into (a)
additive (furthermore, moreover, additionally, besides that, add to this, in
addition, and another thing) and (b) alternative (alternatively).
(3) Complex additive relations, or also called ‘afterthought’ which are de-emphatic
because they reduce the weight acorded to the presupposing sentence and to its
connection with what went before (incidentally, by the way).
(4) Comparative relations which can be (a) similar (likewise, similarly, in the same
way, in just this way) and (b) dissimilar (on the other hand, by contrast,
(5) Finally, appositive relations which can be (a) expository (that is, I mean, in
other words, to put it another way) and (b) exemplificatory (for instance, for
example, thus).

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o Secondly, adversative conjunctions refer to a relation that is ‘contrary to

expectation’, which may be derived from the content of what is being said, or from
the communication process, the speaker-hearer situation, so , as in the additive, we
find cohesion in the following cases:

(1) Proper adversative relations (meaning ‘in spite of’) are classified into (a) simple
(yet, though, only), (b) containing ‘and’ (but) and (c) emphatic (however,
nevertheless, despite this, all the same).
(2) Contrastive relations (meaning ‘as against’) are expressed by means of avowal
(in fact, as a matter of fact, to tell the truth, actually, in point of fact).
(3) Corrective relations (meaning ‘not...but’) are classified into (a) correction of
meaning (instead, rather, on the contrary), (b) correction of wording (at least,
rather, I mean).
(4) Dismmissive adversative relations are those which are generalized adversative
relations (meaning ‘no matter..., still’) and are classified into (a) dismissal or
closed relations (in any/either case, any/either way, whichever) and (b)
dismissal or open-ended relations (anyhow, at any rate, in any case, however
that may be).

o Thirdly, causal relations are expressed by simple forms (so, thus, hence, therefore,
consequently, accordingly) and a number of expressions (as a result of that, in
consequence of that, because of that) which are regularly combined with initial
‘and’ (...and the consequence of his behaviour was terrible). They occur under
different positions, for instance, ‘so’ occurs only initially unless following ‘and’
(i.e. They argued so he felt really bad); ‘thus’, like ‘yet’, occurs initially or in the
first part (i.e. Yet he didn’t say anything); ‘therefore’ has the same potentialities as
‘however’, that is, initial position and between commas (i.e. They left early in the
morning. However, she didn’t want to leave her city).

Under the heading of causal relations are included the specific ones of result (i.e.
He was fired from work. As a result, he got depressed), reason (i.e. On account of
this, he started to find another job) and purpose (i.e. With this intention, he joined a
charity organization). Then we find the following relations of the causal type:

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(1) General causal relations (meaning ‘because..., so’) are classified into (a) simple
(so, thus, hence, therefore) and (b) emphatic (consequently, accordingly,
because of this).
(2) Specific causal relations such as (a) reason (for this reason, on account of this,
it follows from this, on this basis), (b) result (as a result of this, in consequence
of this, arising out of this) and (c) purpose (for this purpose, with this in
mind/view, with this intention, to this end).
(3) Reversed causal relations are simple items (for, because).
(4) Conditional relations (meaning ‘if..., then’) may be (a) simple (then), (b)
emphatic (in that case, that being the case, in such an event, under those
circumstances), (c) generalized (under the circumstances) and (d) reversed
polarity (otherwise, under the circumstances).
(5) Respective relations (meaning ‘with respect to’) may be (a) direct (in this
respect/connection, with regard to this, here) and (b) reversed polarity
(otherwise, in other respects, aside/apart from this).

o Finally, temporal conjunctions refer to the relation between the theses of two
successive sentences, which may be simply one of sequence in time (then): the one
is subsequent to the other (and then, next, afterwards, after that). We may establish
the following classification:

(1) Simple temporal relations are classified into (a) sequential (and then, next,
afterwards, after that, subsequently), (b) simultaneous (just then, at the same
time, simultaneously) and (c) preceding (earlier, before then/that, previously).
(2) Complex temporal relations can be (a) immediate (at once, thereupon, on
which, just before), (b) interrupted (soon, presently, later, after a time, some
time earlier, formerly), (c) repetitive (next time, on another occasion, this time,
on this occasion, the last time, on a previous occasion), (d) specific (next day,
five minutes later, five minutes earlier), (e) durative (meanwhile, all this time),
(f) terminal (by this time, up till that time, until then) and (g) punctiliar (next
moment, at this point/moment, the previous moment).
(3) Conclusive relations may be (a) simple (finally, at last, in the end, eventually).
(4) Sequential and conclusive relations are (a) sequential (first...then, first....next,
first...second...) and (b) conclusive (at first...finally, at first...in the end).

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(5) Temporal relations can be (a) sequential (then, next, secondly) and (b)
conclusive (finally, as a final point, in conclusion).
(6) Temporal relations which involve correlative forms are (a) sequential
(first...next, first...then, first...secondly, in the first place...in the second place, to
begin with...finally, to conclude with) and (b) conclusive (finally, to conclude
(7) ‘Here and now’ relations (mainly used in reported speech) may refer to the (a)
past (up to now, up to this point, hitherto, heretofore), (b) present (at this point,
here) and (c) future (from now on, henceforward).
(8) Finally, summary relations may be (a) culminative (to sum up, in short, briefly)
and (b) resumptive (to resume, to get back to the point, anyway).

• Finally, there are other ways of expressing conjunctive relations called continuatives.
Although these items do not express any particular conjunctive relation are nevertheless
used with a cohesive force in the text. They are grouped according to their particular
external relation (adversative, temporal and so on) or their internal relation (closely linked
to the external one). We refer to items such as
(1) ‘now’. If it is tonic, it is deictic and not cohesive (i.e. What are we doing now?).
However, if it is reduced, it means the opening of a new stage in communication, that
is, a new incident in the story, a new point in the argument, a new role or attitude being
taken on by the speaker and so on (i.e. Are you ready?-Now when I tell you, open your
(2) ‘of course’. If tonic, it means ‘you should have known that already’ (i.e. Did you sign
your contract?-Of course). If not, it means ‘I accept the fact’ (i.e. Everything is just as it
was!-Of course, it is). It is typically used to disarm someone into accepting something
the speaker knows he is likely to reject.
(3) ‘well’. This item usually occurs at the beginning of a response in a dialogue (i.e. Did
you enjoy the trip?- Well, I might say yes). In this case, it serves to indicate that what
follows is in fact a response to what has preceded and hence is purely cohesive in
(4) ‘anyway’. Its use derives from its meaning under an adversative relation (i.e. No matter
if you don’t want to visit her. I am going to see her anyway). In its tonic form, it has a
dismissive meaning (no matter under which circumstances), but if not, the meaning is

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resumptive, that is, ‘to come back to the point’ (i.e. She couldn’t remember anything.
Anyway, it was not important).
(5) ‘surely’. When tonic, it invites the hearer to assent the proposition being enunciated by
demanding an answer (i.e. I won’t go with you. – Surely?). If not, it has what is
basically the cohesive equivalent of the same meaning, that is, ‘am I right in my
understanding of what’s just been said?’ (i.e. They’ll think you are mean. – Nobody
will think that, surely).
(6) ‘after all’. In its tonic form, it means ‘after everything relevant has been considered,
what remains is...’ (i.e. This car is not so bad after all). If not, the usual meaning is ‘in
addition to’ and ‘in spite of’ (i.e. You needn’t apologize. After all nobody could have
known what would happen).
(7) The final cohesive device is that of intonation. Cohesive elements relate the sentence to
something that has gone before it. Often, they are anaphoric and there no new content to
them. Now, anaphoric items in English are phonologically non-prominent but if the
cohesive relation is to be brought into focus of attention, this is marked by tonic
prominence. Thus the falling and the falling-rising intonation pattern are considered as
expressing forms of conjunctive relations.

3.2.2. Lexical cohesion.

Lexical cohesion does not deal with grammatical or semantic connections but with connections
based on the words used. It is achieved by selection of vocabulary, using semantically close items.
Because lexical cohesion in itself carries no indication whether it is functioning cohesively or not, it
always requires reference to the text, to some other lexical item to be interpreted correctly. There
are two types of lexical cohesion: reiteration and collocation.

First of all, reiteration includes repetition, synonymy, hyponymy, metonymy (part vs. whole),
antonymy whereas collocation is any pair of lexical items that stand to each other in some
recognisable lexico-semantic relation, e.g. "sheep" and "wool", "congress" and "politician", and
"college" and "study".

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Like in the case of synonymous reference, collocational relation exists without any explicit
reference to another item, but now the nature of relation is different: it is indirect, more difficult to
define and based on associations in the reader mind. The interpreter sometimes adds coherence to
the text by adding cohesion markers.

3.2.3. Graphological devices

With respect to graphological resources, we are mainly dealing with visual devices as we make
reference to orthography, punctuation, headings, foot notes, tables of contents and indexes. As most
of them deal with form and structure of different types of texts, and will be further developed as
part of a subsequent section, we shall primarily deal with orthography and punctuation in this

Firstly, orthography is related to a correct spelling, and in relation to t his term, Byrne (1979) states
that the mastery of the writing system includes the ability to spell. This device covers different word
categories, but mainly, rules of suffixation, prefixation, and addition of verbal markers as gerunds,
past tenses or third person singular in present tenses. Moreover, Byrne claims for the use of the
dictionary as the relationship between sound and symbol in English is a complex one, and spelling
becomes a problem for many users of the language, native and non-native speakers alike. The
importance of correct spelling is highlighted when Byrne says that most of us are obliged to consult
a dictionary from time to time so as not to be indifferent to misspelling. Therefore, students are
encouraged to acquire the habit of consulting a dictionary in order to ensure an adequate mastery of

Secondly, according to Quirk et al (1972) punctuation serves two main functions. Firstly, the
separation of successive units (such as sentences by periods, or items in a list by commas), and
secondly, the specification of language function (as when an apostrophe indicates that an inflection
is genitive). Moreover, punctuation is concerned with purely visual devices, such as capital letters,
full stops, commas, inverted commas, semicolons, hyphens, brackets and the use of interrogative
and exclamative marks. It is worth noting that punctuation has never been standardised to the same
extent as spelling, and as a result, learners tend to overlook the relevance of punctuation when
producing a text. Learners must be encouraged to pay attention to the few areas where conventions
governing the use of the visual devices as fairly well established, among which we may mention

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letters and filling in forms as part of a sociocultural educational aim. Thus, students must try to
understand the relevance of the use of capital letters as a mark of sentence boundary, the use of
commas to enumerate a sequence of items, the use of question and exclamation marks to express
requests or attitudes, and the use of inverted commas to highlight a word or sentence.


4.1. Definition.

The term cohesion is often confused or conflated with coherence. But it is necessary, both from a
theoretical and a practical point of view to retain this distinction between surface and content. The
term coherence concerns ‘the ways in which the components of the textual world, thus the concepts
and relations which underlie the surface text, are mutually accessible and relevant’ (Beaugrande &
Dressler, 1988).

4.2. Main features.

Coherence is a purely semantic property of discourse, while cohesion is mainly concerned with
morpho-syntactic devices in discourse. A coherent text is a semantically connected, integrated
whole, expressing relations of closeness, thus, causality, time, or location between its concepts and
sentences. A condition on this continuity of sense is that the connected concepts are also related in
the real world, and that the reader identifies the relations.

In a coherent text, there are direct and indirect semantic referential links between lexical items in
and between sentences, which the reader must interpret. A text must be coherent enough for the
interlocutor to be able to interpret. It seems probable that this coherence can be achieved either
through cohesion, for instance, markers and clues in the speakers’ text, or through the employment
of the user-centred textuality standards of intentionality, acceptability, informativity, situationality
and intertextuality.

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These markers are defined as all the devices which are needed in writing in order to produce a text
in which the sentences are coherently organised so as to fulfil the writer’s communicative purpose.
Byrne (1979) claims that they refer to words or phrases which indicate meaning relationships
between or within sentences, such as those of addition, contrast (antithesis), comparison (similes),
consequence, result, and condition expressed by the use of short utterances, and exemplification
(imagery and symbolism).

Within the context of textual analysis, we may mention from a wide range of rethorical devices the
use of imagery and symbolism; hyperbole, antithesis, similes and metaphors; onomatopoeias,
alliteration and the use of short utterances for rhythm and effect; repetition and allusion to drawn
the reade r’s attention; and cacophony and slang to make the piece of writing lively and dynamic.


5.1. The Communicative Approach: a basis for discourse analysis.

Regarding the educational implications of discourse analysis in language teaching, we must trace
back to the origins of the assessment model of communicative competence as a basis for the
analysis and articulation of discourse. This communicative approach emerged in the 1970s and
1980s as the work of anthropologists, sociologists, and sociolinguists on foreign and second
language teaching. In the 1980s, prominence was given to more interactive views of language
teaching, which became to be known as the Communicative Approach or simply Communicative
Language Teaching. The key was to considere language as social behaviour, seeing the primary
goal of language teaching as the development of the learner's communicative competence.

Hence learners were considered to need both rules of use to produce language appropriate to
particular situations, and strategies for effective communication. Scholars such as Hymes (1972),
Halliday (1970), Canale and Swain (1980) or Chomsky (1957) levelled their contributions and
criticisms at structural linguistic theories claiming for more communicative approaches on language
teaching, where interactive processes of communication received priority. Upon this basis, the
introduction of cultural studies is an important aspect of communicative competence as
communicating with people from other cultures involves not only linguistic appropriateness but also
pragmatic appropriateness in the use of verbal and non-verbal behavior. This issue is the aim of an
ethnography of communication theory in order to approach a foreign language from a pragmatic

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and linguistic point of view and the key theory for the development of our present study, the
analysis of discourse.

The verbal part of communicative competence, and therefore, the analysis of discourse, comprises
all the so-called four skills: listening, reading, speaking and writing. It is important to highlight that
language is both productive and receptive. Hymes stated the four competences at work regarding
the elements and rules of oral and written discourse are as follows: linguistic competence,
pragmatic competence, discourse competence, strategic competence, and fluency (Hedge 2000).

First, the linguistic competence, as it deals with linguistic and non-linguistic devices in the oral and
written interaction involving all knowledge of lexical tiems and of rules of morphology, syntax,
sentence-grammar semantics and phonology (Canale and Swain, 1980).

Secondly, the pragmatic competence as it also deals with the knowledge the learner has to acquire
the sociocultural rules of language. Regarding the rules of discourse, it is defined in terms of the
mastery of how to combine grammatical forms and meanings (Canale and Swain 1980). When we
deal with appropriateness of form, we refer to the extent to which a given meaning is represented in
both verbal and non-verbal form that is proper in a given sociolinguistic context. This competence
enables a speaker to be contextually appropriate or in Hymes’s words (1972), to know when to
speak, when not, what to talk about with whom, when, where and in what manner.

Thirdly, the rules of use and usage, proposed by Widdowson (1978) have to do with the discourse
competence . Here, usage refers to the manifestation of the knowledge of a language system and use
means the realization of the language system as meaningful communicative behavior. Discourse
analysis is primarily concerned with the ways in which individual sentences connect together to
form a communicative message. This competence addresses directly to the mastery of how to
combine grammatical forms and meanings to achieve a unified spoken or written text in different
genres (Canale and Swain 1980) by means of cohesion in form and coherence in meaning.
Cohesion deals with how utterances are linked structurally and facilitates interpretation of a text by
means of cohesion devices, such as pronouns, synonyms, ellipsis, conjunctions and parallel
structures to relate individual utterances and to indicate how a group of utterances is to be
understood as a text. Yet, coherence refers to the relatioships among the different meanings in a
text, where these meanings may be literal meanings, communicative functions, and attitudes.

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Finally, we come to the fourth competence at work, the strategic competence. (Canale 1983) where
verbal and nonverbal communication strategies may be called into action to compensate for
breakdowns in communication due to performance variables or due to insufficient competence. This
may be achieved by paraphrase, circumlocution, repetition, hesistation, avoidance, guessing as
well as shifts in register and style. Hedge (2000) points out that strategic competence consists of
using communication strategies which are used by learners to compensate for their limited
linguistic competence in expressing what they want to say.

5.2. New directions in discourse analysis.

From a practical perspective in education, providing experiences for contact with language in
context proved difficult for foreign language teachers as they were forced to rely on textbooks and
classroom materials in teaching language. However, nowadays new techonologies may provide a
new direction to language teaching as they set more appropriate context for students to experience
the target culture. Present-day approaches deal with a communicative competence model in which
first, there is an emphasis on significance over form regarding how to deal with discourse types, and
secondly, motivation and involvement are enhanced by means of new technologies.

Regarding writing skills, there is a need to create classrooms conditions which match those in real
life and foster acquisition, encouring reading and writing (letters, advertisements, filling forms,
official papers). The success partly lies in the way the language becomes real to the users, feeling
themselves really in the language. Some of this motivational force is brought about by intervening
in authentic communicative events. Otherwise, we have to recreate as much as possible the whole
cultural environment in the classroom for us to make the articulation of discourse fluent and

This is to be achieved within the framework of the European Union educational guidelines through
the European Council (1998) and, in particular, the Spanish Educational System which establish a
common reference framework for the teaching of foreign languages where students are intended to
carry out several communication tasks with specific communicative goals within specific contexts.
Thus, foreign language activities are provided within the framework of social interaction, personal,
professional or educational fields.

Writing and oral skills in discourse articulation are mentioned as one of the aims of our current
educational system (B.O.E. 2002). It is stated that students will make use of this competence in a

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natural and systematic way in order to achieve the effectiveness of communication through the
different communication skills, thus, productive (oral and written communication), receptive (oral
and written comprehension within verbal and non-verbal codes), and interactional role of a foreign
language as a multilingual and multicultural identity.

This effectiveness of communication is to be achieved thanks to recent developments in foreign

language education which have indicated a trend towards the field of intercultural communication.
The Ministry of Education proposed several projects within the framework of the European
Community, such as Comenius projects and Plumier projects. The first project is envisaged as a
way for learners to experience sociocultural patterns of the target language in the target country, and
establish personal relationships which may lead to keep in contact through writing skills. Besides,
the Plumier project uses multimedia resources in a classroom setting where learners are expected to
learn to interpret and produce meaning with members of the target culture. Both projects are
interrelated as students put in practice their writing and reading skills by means of keeping in touch
through e-mails with their friends and read their messages, apart from fostering the oral skills.

Current research on Applied Linguistics shows an interest on writing skills, such as on the
pragmatics of writing, narrative fiction and frequency on cohesion devices in English texts, among
others. We may also find research on intercultural communication where routines and formulaic
speech are under revision of contrastive analysis between English and Spanish. However, the
emphasis is nowadays on the use of multimedia and computers as an important means to promote a
foreign language in context.


The role of writing and oral skills in our present society is emphasized by the increasing necessity
of learning a foreign language as we are now members of the European Union, and as such, we
need to communicate with other countries at oral and written levels. Written patterns are given an
important role when language learners face the monumental task of acquiring not only new
vocabulary, syntactic patterns, and phonology, but also discourse competence, sociolinguistic
competence, strategic competence, and interactional competence.

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Students need opportunities to investigate the systematicity of language at all linguistic levels,
especially at the highest level of written discourse. Without knowledge and experience within the
discourse and sociocultural patterns of the target language, second language learners are likely to
rely on the strategies and expectations acquired as part of their first language development, which
may be inappropriate for the second language setting and may lead to communication difficulties
and misunderstandings.

One problem for second language learners is not to acquire a sociocultural knowledge on the
foreign language they are learning, and therefore, have a limited experience with a variety of
interactive practices in the target language, such as reading a complaint sheet, writing a letter to a
department store, or writing a letter to an English person with the appropriate written patterns.
Therefore, one of the goals of second language teaching is to expose learners to different discourse
patterns in different texts and interactions. One way that teachers can include the study of discourse
in the second language classroom is to allow the students themselves to study language, that is, to
make them discourse analysts (see Celce-Murcia & Olshtain, 2000), by learning in context.

By exploring natural language use in authentic environments, learners gain a greater appreciation
and understanding of the discourse patterns associated with a given genre or speech event as well as
the sociolinguistic factors that contribute to linguistic variation across settings and contexts. For
example, students can study speech acts by searching information on Internet about a job
application, address patterns, opening and closings of museums, or other aspects of speech events.

To sum up, we may say that language is where culture impinges on form and where second
language speakers find their confidence threatened through the diversity of registers, genres and
styles that make up the first language speaker’s day to day interaction. Language represents the
deepest manifestation of a culture, and people’s values systems, including those taken over from the
group of which they are part, play a substantial role in the way they use not only their first language
but also subsequently acquired ones.

The assumptions of discourse analysis we have reviewed in this study are then important not only
for understanding written and oral discourse patterns and the conditions of their production, but also
for a critical assessment of our own cultural situation.

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