Critical Discourse Analysis

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Critical Discourse Analysis

Social communication is increasingly becoming a subject of scientists’ discussions from different disciplines, as well as ordinary language users. In contemporary social sciences, especially in linguistics, we see a clear shift to discourse. Discourse allows us to talk about use of the language, as well as the language as a socio-cultural activity. In this sense, discourse, on one hand, reflects the social reality, on the other hand, it shapes it, therefore participate in the creation and pass on different values, ideologies and symbolic power. This essay aims to show the definition of Critical Discourse Analysis and also show how useful it is for exploring issues of power and inequality in relation to gender.

Since its introduction to modern science the term 'discourse' has taken various, sometimes very broad, meanings. Originally the word ‘discourse’ comes from Latin ‘discursus’ which means conversation, speech. Discourse refers to a wide area of human life. Being aware of differences between kinds of discourses indicates the unity of communicative intentions as a vital element of each of them. Seven criteria which have to be fulfilled to qualify either a written or a spoken text as a discourse have been suggested by Beaugrande (1981). These include: Cohesion - grammatical relationship between parts of a sentence essential for its interpretation; Coherence - the order of statements relates one another by sense; Intentionality - the message has to be conveyed deliberately and consciously; Acceptability - indicates that the communicative product needs to be satisfactory in that the audience approves it; Informativeness - some new information has to be included in the discourse; Situationality - circumstances in which the remark is made are important; Intertextuality - reference to the world outside the text or the interpreters' schemata. Nowadays, however, not all of the above mentioned criteria are perceived as equally...
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