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Discourse analysis (MA communication studies) - Essay Example

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I have chosen an article entitled "Watch your language!" from the section "Personal" in the Magazine OneLife of BBC. It is a piece written as a sequence along many other articles with the theme of "Confidence". There is no name for the author, so the reader of the BBC website knows that it was produced by one of the staff writers…
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Discourse analysis (MA communication studies)
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Discourse analysis (MA communication studies)

The article seems alright, but hidden within there is a serious contradiction, so I think that this article is a relevant example for showing language, power and society in an interactional context. OneLife is a magazine for the big masses, and it publishes light pieces of literature that the readers consume without any second thought. Most probably the audience is young and light-hearted. They don't want to complicate their lives, so they like self-help advice whenever they can find it for free. Let's see the article!
"Sometimes the way we ask for something, or our reasons for not doing something, are examples of faulty thinking and a 'victim' mentality. Eg: you want to return something to a shop, it's not right or it doesn't work. What type of language would work best
"The first is a question, which is asking for a refusal. The second is a statement that demands good service. Whenever you need to ask or negotiate for something it is better to follow the 'Reason/Proposal' formula.
"This type of language is sometimes called being assertive and it doesn't have to be unpleasant or aggressive. If you go for a neutral, non pleading tone and a straightforward statement of fact, it's bound to work.
"People will connect with you better if you try to match their tone of voice. If your tone is high pitched and fast while the other person's is slow and laid back, then the conversation will be out of synch. So pace your voice and tone to another person's and you will find that you will communicate better.
"Victim of circumstance
"It's so easy to fall into the trap of thinking life is 'out to get you' or that success is for other people. Even in the worst of situations some people manage to be victors rather than victims, so watch your language or your negative thoughts. Every time you say or think:
"I can't do that" try asking yourself, "What would happen if I did"
"That's not a good thing to do" try asking yourself, "Who says it's not good"
"It could all go horribly wrong" try asking yourself, "What's the worst thing that could happen"" (BBC, OneLife).

2.- Apply an analytical method.
I am using the Critical Discourse Analyisis (CDA) method. There are many different approaches to Discourse Analysis. In order to make an appropriate selection we have to keep in mind the multiple applications for any Discourse Analysis. Going to the roots of any Discourse Analysis in the present state of theory and practice is essential for making the appropriate choice. Martyn Hammersley gives us an idea of the wide spectrum of choices: "What exactly the 'application' of discourse analysis means can vary considerably. Some forms, notably conversation analysis, involve a radical 'respecification' of topic in terms of the study of local forms of interactional order; others direct attention to the discursive construction of the various social phenomena being studied; yet others tie this discursive construction into the operation of wider social processes that they take to be exploitative or in other ways oppressive."(Martyn Hammersley. Discourse Analysis: A Bibliographical Guide). This last ... Read More
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