Linguistics/Discourse Analysis

Pragmatics adds the importance of context to the study of language. Discourse analysis takes things further, studying communication, such as dialogue or written texts.

Coherence vs. CohesionEdit

In linguistics, we differentiate between coherence and cohesion. Cohesion is the use of linguistic means to 'tie' material together. Examples of cohesive devices includeː

  • The use of connectives (but, if, however)
  • The use of anaphora and definite expressions to refer to previously mentioned concepts (the man, it)
  • The correct use of tenses and moods (He had done this before, but this time, the situation was different).

But a cohesive text is not necessarily coherent:

Firstly, red apples are red. Secondly, such apples are very tasty. Moreover, tastiness is quite subjective. Subjectivity affects our perception of apples.

This is a very cohesive text, but not coherent in the least. Coherence is more than linguistic: It requires extralinguistic knowledge to judge whether a piece of discourse 'makes sense'. By contrast, a text can be coherent yet not cohesive. In the next section, we will see some of these situations, when we deal with the flouting of maxims.


Co-Operative PrincipleEdit

The Gricean MaximsEdit

Flouting the MaximsEdit

Schemas and ScriptsEdit

Politeness TheoryEdit