What Speakers Do in Conversation

Prior to beginning work on this assignment, read Chapter 1: Introduction, and Chapter 4: Discourse Structure: Parts and Sequences in your textbook Discourse Analysis, review the video How Do We Bend the Truth? The Linguistics of Propaganda and Censorship (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. and the web page Discourse Analysis—What Speakers Do in Conversation (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. In this assignment, you will conduct a micro-level analysis of discourse using the concepts and methodologies discussed in this week’s readings, resources, and discussion. Your overall goal is to consider how you might use a knowledge of discourse analysis in your major field of study and in your current or future profession.

Go to a website, blog, or online news source that you visit frequently and that is related in some way to your major field of study or your professional goals. Then, locate a short excerpt (one to two paragraphs) that you find interesting, controversial, or relevant to your current or future profession. For example, if you are an Applied Linguistics major, you may choose an excerpt from an article or blog posting that discusses language usage or development, or an excerpt that discusses issues relevant to career fields related to the subfields of linguistics, such as English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching, interpreting or translating, language documentation and fieldwork, or computer-mediated communication. If you are a journalism and mass communication major, you might choose to examine an example of high-quality journalism or reporting on a topic of interest to you. An English major might choose a work of fiction, poetry, or non-fiction from an online literary journal, or a blog, website, or article excerpt that discusses a topic of interest to someone pursuing a career in writing, editing, publishing, or English teaching. A business or management major might choose an article from a business publication, or an excerpt from a website or blog dealing with current topics in business development and entrepreneurship.

In your paper,

Describe briefly the source you have chosen.
In your description, include the following: the title of the website, blog, or online news source; the title of the article or excerpt; the author; and a brief summary of the contents.
Discuss your overall impression of the excerpt.
Are you moved in any way, either positively or negatively? Is the discourse informational or persuasive? Who do you think is the target audience?
Identify what you think are the most important nouns, verbs, objects, adjectives, and adverbs.
You can do this by copying and pasting the excerpt into your paper and using the highlighting feature in Microsoft Word to identify the categories of grammar using different colors (for example, highlight the significant verbs in yellow, significant nouns in blue, adjectives in green, etc.). Remember to paste the excerpt as “unformatted text,” or paste into Notepad first. Click here for an example: Sample Identifying Parts of Speech.
Analyze how the basic, lexical categories of grammar (nouns, verbs, objects, adjectives, adverbs) are used to convey a specific tone and message.
How do they contribute to your own impression of that message? (Remember to refer to specific words, phrases, and sentences in your analysis.)
Evaluate how the excerpt shapes and is shaped by three of the six aspects outlined in Figure 1.1 (and described in more detail in Section 1.3) in your course textbook (i.e., the world, people’s purposes, linguistic structure, participants, prior or future discourse, and media).
Assess how the analysis of discourse is relevant to your field of study and career interests.
How can you see yourself using the knowledge gained in the course in your current or future profession? If possible, include real-world examples or scenarios.