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Discourse Studies

Helena I. R. Agustien
Youll be able to explain
what text is and what its characteristic features are;

how to categorize and describe texts, e.g. according to their

genre, function, organization and style;

how to find, select and adapt texts;

how to exploit texts for language teaching and skills

development purposes;

how to unpack the hidden messages of texts;

how to use (literary) texts in the classroom;

how to evaluate and use learners texts.

To help you to

develop your skills and confidence;

reflect on what you do and why you do it;

inform your practice with theory;

improve your practice;

become the best teacher you can be.

Check out: http://www.onestopenglish.com

Text: Language Beyond the Sentence

A continuous piece of spoken or written language, especially

one with a recognizable beginning and ending.
Language is realized, first and foremost, as text. Not as
isolated sounds or words or sentences, but as whole texts.
Language users have to cope with texts.

They have to make sense of them and they have to produce

Teachers top priority is to help learners engage with and
create texts.
Facts of life

The average American is targeted by 3000 messages


Typical workers send and receive some 200 messages and

documents a day.

We are exposed to anything from 600 to 1600 advertising

messages a day.

In 2003, people in Britain were sending 56 million text

messages; by the end of 2004 they had sent 20 billion
Language teaching has traditionally been more concerned with
individual sentences rather than texts, as such.

Even in this supposedly communicative era, a lot of language

presentation and and materials available in published course books
are sentence based.

The reason: sentences are the building blocks of language.

But language always happens as text and not as isolated words and

From an aesthetic, social or educational perspective, it is the text

which is the significant unit of language.
Going beyond sentence

it falls within the orbit of what is called discourse analysis.

Discourse is the way that language either spoken or written

is used for communicative effect in a real-world situation.

Discourse analysis is the study of such language, and the

analysis of features and uses of texts or text analysis is an
integral component of discourse analysis.

One way of looking at the distinction between discourse and

text is to think of discourse as a process and the text as the