Discussing Discourse…

Isn’t this a fine topic?  We might as well say, “Let’s have conversations ABOUT conversations!”

But it’s really more than meets the ears, the eyes, or the brain. According to how I understand it, Discourse Analysis is a constantly changing compiled study of the “meaning” behind what we consider as regular speech.

“See you later!” is an interesting phrase to analyze since it could be a literal sense of meaning that you’ll be “seeing” the person at a later time, or it could mean an offhand “eat my dust” if you say it a certain way as you’re beating a friend in a race.

Desk Job

Lovely sci-fi drawing by Jean Giraud (aka Mobius)

“Beating a friend in a race” is another phrase that we can put under our discourse analysis microscope. You’re not actually going to assault your friend with say, an egg beater (frisk them with a whisk?). But where was it coined that the phrase “beating someone in a competition”  would specifically indicate that you were out-doing them?

Double-meanings are a large portion of discourse analysis since those are historical, political, perpetuated by pop culture and societal use (or non-use) with street language and slang thrown in for good measure.

I’ll go into the cooperative principle of language in another post but I’m guessing that this principle is related to symbolic understanding since they both involve how the majority of people understand what the EXIT sign or a left arrow mean.