Holistic Discourse Analysis

Statement of Responsibility:
Longacre, Robert E. and Shin Ja J. Hwang
Second Edition
SIL International
Publisher Place:
Dallas, Texas
xvi, 247 pages
From Preface: "The title Holistic Discourse Analysis is chosen to highlight the conviction that linguistic analysis properly deals with wholes and not with fragments. Discourse analysis, properly developed and practiced, implies analysis of the lower-level concerns that may be collectively referred to as the morphosyntax. Discourse analysis cannot be carried out in any language without knowledge of the morphosyntax. On the other hand, the morphosyntax itself demands the insights discoverable in discourse analysis as its rationale. We claim that the whole determines the part and that most of the whys are found in consideration of discourse context. So the title Holistic Discourse Analysis simply affirms this mutual dependency of grammatical structure from morpheme to discourse. What our title specifically denies is that discourse analysis can be bundled off and shifted to an area of semi-autonomous concerns such as pragmatics, with the implication that it is a good thing to do some day if one ever gets around to it."
Publication Status:
Table of Contents:

Abbreviations and symbols

Chapter 1: Why Discourse Analysis?
1.1 Word order
1.2 Functions of different forms of the verb
1.3 Participant reference in discourse
1.4 Definitivization and deictics
1.5 Temporal and locational expressions; adverbial clauses
1.6 Sequence signals and conjunctions
1.7 Mystery particles
1.8 The length of syntactic units
1.9 Conclusion
1.10 Exercises

Chapter 2: A Layman’s Introduction to Discourse Analysis
2.1 What different forms of verbs contribute to a story
2.2 What nouns and pronouns do within a story
2.3 How verbs and referents interplay in the structure of this paragraph
2.4 Internal relations in the text: Cohesion and coherence
2.5 Marking a great moment within a story
2.6 What part does each sentence play in the plan of the whole?
2.7 The resultant constraints on interpretation
2.8 Exercise
Appendix 2A. Paragraph analysis: Tree diagram
Appendix 2B. Paragraph analysis: Indentation diagram

Chapter 3: Text Typology
3.1 An etic scheme of discourse types
3.2 An emic scheme of discourse types in Aguacatec (Mayan)
3.3 Sample texts from English
3.4 Exercises

Chapter 4: Approaching a Narrative: Constituent Charting and Macrosegmentation
4.1 Constituent charting of a text
4.2 Macrosegmentation of a text
4.3 Comparative charting as a translation check
4.4 Conclusion
4.5 Exercises
Appendix 4. Constituent chart of “Hans”

Chapter 5: How the Listener/Reader Follows a Story
5.1 Salience scheme for English
5.2 Salience scheme in chaining languages
5.3 Conclusion
5.4 Exercises

Chapter 6: Participant Reference: Discourse Operations and Ranking
6.1 Three variable factors
6.2 “Hans”
6.3 The Three Little Pigs
6.4 Summary for English participant reference
6.5 Conclusion
6.6 Exercises

Chapter 7: Clause Combining in Discourse
7.1 Co-ranking and chaining structures
7.2 Clause combining devices
7.3 Distribution and functions of clause combining devices in English
7.4 Distribution and functions of clause combining devices in chaining structures
7.5 Conclusions
7.6 Exercises
Appendix 7A. Notional structure combinations of propositions
Appendix 7B. English sentence types by nuclei
Appendix 7C. English sentence margins

Chapter 8: Drafting Trees for Discourses and Paragraphs
8.1 Representations of extensive sections including whole discourses
8.2 Representations of paragraph structures
8.3 Concluding remarks
8.4 Exercise
Appendix 8A. Paragraph types
Appendix 8B. Dialogue and similar paragraph types

Chapter 9: Procedural Discourse
9.1 Segmentation of English procedural discourse
9.2 Characteristics of a Korean recipe
9.3 Toward a characterization of procedural discourse
9.4 Conclusions
9.5 Exercises

Chapter 10: Hortatory Discourse
10.1 The hortatory template
10.2 Text organization
10.3 Peak
10.4 Mainline and supportive information
10.5 Sample text analyses
10.6 Conclusions
10.7 Exercises
Appendix 10. Paragraph structure of “The Working Person”

Chapter 11: Expository Discourse
11.1 Analysis of Psalm 23 in tree structure
11.2 Analysis according to the structure of information
11.3 Conclusion
11.4 Exercises
Appendix 11A. Ephesians 1:3–14 (NIV)
Appendix 11B. Alzheimer disease text

Language Index

Content Language:
Work Type:
Discourse analysis
Nature of Work:
[1st edition]
Entry Number: