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Task 1

Critical Discourse Analysis

Text

According to Fairclough, the text is analyzed with the help of the examination of the vocabulary, semantics, grammar, and sound as well as in context of organization of sentence cohesion. He argues that when a text is subjected to a linguist analysis the results often reveal a mutual impact of the semantic properties of the text and its lexical grammatical properties. In his approach text are seen from their multifunctional perspective which includes identities, relations, and representations. The identity function describes the ideologies that a particular text may contain or represent. Readers and writers construct meanings or interpret the text according to their personal identity or more appropriately what they identify it with. Fairclough states that the linguistic analysis involves relations of participants, their constructions, and identities as conveyed by the absence or presence of texts.

Discourse Practice

Fairclough assigns two facets to the discourse practice dimension. The first one is the discourse process such as changes in the text that occur during consumption or production of texts. The second dimension is the institutional process such as the editorial procedures that occur during text production. Fairclough explained that the discourse process analyses the text in terms of intertexual and intertextuality framework. The intertexual analysis traces the use of the discourse practice in the text context. This means that the text is analysed linguistically to examine its descriptive nature. The intertextuality function, on the other hand, takes into account the interpretive nature of the text. This implies that properties of the text are examined to reveal how the text manifest or constitutes contradictions, irony and the way it merges or assimilates into the context.

Social Practice

According to Fairclough, there are three dimensions that are used in the analysis of the text in social practice. These aspects include political, economic and cultural aspects. He however, noted that all these three aspects were not always applied to the analysis itself. The economic aspect relates to the way in which resources influence the media while the political aspect involves ideology and power relations. The cultural aspect of the text involves the analysis of the text by examining values held by producers and consumers of the text.

Task 1 (b)

Example

When analysing newspaper articles that concern legal issues such as court rulings or parliamentary proceedings, it can be noted that the legal language or jargon is usually toned down in the newspaper article so as to ensure that consumers understand the issue described. In other words, the legal language or jargon is sometimes interpreted for a person so that he or she could understand it easily. In this case the text used by legal professionals excludes, as a rule, those issues that do not contain the legal training. However, when such texts are interpreted on the consumers’ behalf by the media, consumers may comprehend them in different ways. The interpretations depend on prior information held or accessed during a discussion. Fairclough argues that the text used by media may be aimed at conveying meanings influenced by the economic, political or cultural agenda of the media itself. Thus, although the text interpretation depends on the consumer to a great extent, the media can apply their own agenda. This can be done when interpreting the language in the process of toning the jargon down for mass consumption.

Task Two

Text One

Text comprises an advertisement for a product called “Nicogel.”

According to the advertisement, Nicogel is fronted as an alternative product for smokers. The text used infers that instead of smoking a consumer can use Nicogel. The use of the words “you can’t always smoke” is supposed to show consumers that there is an alternative to smoking. This is followed promptly by the text which offers this alternative. Subjecting the text used in the advertisement to the linguist analysis, it is revealed that there is a connection between semantic properties and lexical properties that is the meaning of the text and its lexical meaning which is the meaning implied when the words are not put into the context. This text has also multiple functions. Firstly, they represent is as an ideological perspective that is bound to prevent people from smoking. Secondly, the connection between giving up smoking and using Nicogel; and finally, this advertisement associates Nicogel with the process of giving up smoking. Readers who have an intention to stop smoking can identify themselves with this advertisement. The text is intended to influence their decisions by providing them with Nicogel as the alternative. Texts may have various meanings to writers and consumers. The intention of writers in this case is clear, but consumers can construct meanings based on their personal traits and information they possess.

Text 2: Newspaper Text

“Rhodesia’s white supremacist police had a field day on Sunday when they opened fire and killed thirteen unarmed Africans, in two different actions in Salisbury; and wounded many others” (Tanzanian Daily News, 1975). Fairclough argues that during production of media texts and their consumption there are normally certain dimensions that influence their discourse. This includes institutional frameworks of the media houses involved. These frameworks dictate the routines used when gathering, writing, selecting, and editing news. During consumption, the ways in which readers comprehend and interpret texts used in articles are considered. New selection is the main component of the text production and media houses have normally limited spaces to write their texts as compared to the potential news material that is often gathered. Therefore, when selecting the material that should appear in their texts media houses are influenced by myriad of factors. These factors include the editorial policies, economical factors that affect their news selecting process which includes the ownership structure of the media house. The story in Tanzanian Daily News, describes a massacre of thirteen Africans by the Rhodesia’s police officer. This incidence occurred decades ago and during this period Tanzania was still a colony of the British Empire. The text refers to the police officers as white supremacist. The reference to give the text is made in order to depict a racial tone and show the influence of the interpretation of the news consumers. The social and political conditions that were in existence at the time were skewed largely towards eradication of colonialism. The story therefore depicts the social ills of colonial forces.

Task Three

Multiple Choice Answers

Q1: B; Q2: B; Q3: A; Q4: A; Q5: D

Task Four

Lines 2/3 The utterances overlap each other, because the current speaker fails to select the second speaker and, therefore, proceeds with the speech.

Lines 4/5 The first speaker misprojects his or her speech forcing the second speaker to continue the speech.

Lines 10/11There is no overlap in the conversation and the first speaker select the second speaker.

Lines 18/19 The conversation overlaps another conversation, because the current speaker fails to select the second speaker, but the second speaker proceeds with the speech.

Lines 28/29 This is the same case as in lines 4/5 where the first speaker misprojects his or her speech forcing the second speaker to continue the speech.

Task five

Essentialism

Essentialism refers to the belief in realism, which is the belief that real things have fixed properties that make them what they truly are. In other words, capturing the true essence of reality by opposing the difference that exist or that can be assigned to any entity. By examining the properties that define an entity, one can tell what really makes it to be what it is. Subjects or entities can be perceived to be what they are base on the cultural context, historical context, and physical properties. Essentialism is applied to as a unified concept such as the phrase “mother earth” in conversation and academic writing. This generalises the quality or character of women and indicate that they are closer to nature than their male counterparts. This is a generalisation of the nurturing qualities believed to be prominent in women. Thus, the earth is likening to a woman and vice versa implying that the earth is nurturing exactly in the same way as women do (Janicki, 2006). Both entities have nurturing qualities as opposed to those held by men.

Androcentrism

Androcentrism is an ideological concept that focuses on male issues ignoring women matters. Androcentrism is used in language and literature if the main focus is on a male person neglecting females. The concept is widely applied in the traditional Jewish laws and culture. The Jewish book Torah focuses mainly on men ignoring roles played by women in the society. Women are seen from a male perspective relegating them to what can be described as a second hand or an insignificant role. According to the traditional culture, women cannot play such crucial roles as rabbinical roles in the society (Sunderland, 2006). This type of discourse exemplifies the application of androcentrism in religion and society by excluding women from them.

The ‘Cultural Difference’ Approach To Language and Gender

Cultural difference in language is centred on the belief that women’s speech is different from that of their male counterparts. This emanates from the segregation of women when they were growing up. The language used by female genders is not considered to be different or inferior to that used by men. The difference is explained by the speech patterns acquired during the segregation process. Their speech patterns, therefore, have various meanings and implications. Thus, the difference occurs when men and women communicate as they indicate diverse notions arising in their expectations from conversations. The discrepancies in cross sex communications can be attributed to their various speech patterns where one thing for a female person may have a completely different meaning for a male one. Communication plays an important role in building relationships and helps in maintaining them. Interpersonal interaction rules are learned in the process of growing up, thus, boys and girls are segregated mostly during these stages, spending much time in their respective peer groups. The interpersonal interaction rules are influenced by their peers groups mainly. Girls end up acquiring qualities that emphasises cooperation, friendship, emotions, encouragement, and equality. Boys on the other hand grow up in the surrounding where competition, hierarchy, domination and proving one’s ability become central goals. Their speech patterns attain these qualities and they become competitive and strive to dominate. These qualities are carried over into adulthood. While talking to a woman, a man can seeks to dominate and keeps on interrupting. The woman can construe this as a lack of care and respect by the man. He, although, may not realize this since the interruption and domination signify competition and higher hierarchy (Sunderland, 2006).

Task Six

Linguistic ‘Habitus’

According to Bourdieu, formation of reality constructed from every day conversations helps to assert the existing social realities. He argues that linguistic models or linguistic ‘habitus’ of cultural groups strengthen power relations in these groups, construct, and preserve their reality. Social groupings or cultural groups distinguish their styles of writing and conversations. In addition, their distinct styles define the groups of linguistic ‘habitus’ or linguistic ‘models’ (Grenfell, 2011). Linguistic habitus acts as the indentifying censorship and operates as a linguistic market for each cultural group with its own linguistic habitus. Once a linguistic market is established with its own linguistic model it can regulate membership with the means of language competence. Bourdieu states that linguistic markets are self-regulatory and there is legitimate participation by those who indentify them with the given linguistic habitus. The latter can be demonstrated by the Spanish speakers from various regions. Those who live in Barcelona use different phrases and motion gestures that disguise their Spanish from that used in Catalina region.

A ‘Double Bind’ Situation

“A double bind” describes a communication situation where instructions issued separately create a no-win situation. There is presumed inequality between the individual doing the binding and his or her victim who has to make the binding choice in a double bind situation. The victim cannot win regardless of alternatives presented to him or her. Therefore, no matter which choice is taken the victim in such a situation is forced to lose. This can be exemplified in a situation where a mother tells her child “if you loved me, you wouldn’t go out tonight” (Sutherland, 2011). This child in this case is faced with two alternatives, going out or staying home. Going out does not imply that he or she does not love the mother. The child can still love his or her mother and still go out. The use of “if” in the instructions prevents the child from going out that particular night. This leaves the situation unsolved and can create a conflicting situation. Such double binds are used in social context to influence social behaviours by forcing victims to act in a certain ways.

Task Seven

Gendered Discourse of a Dream Wedding

The intertexual association is implied by the use of phrases and nouns that women would associate them with. Such phrases as ‘dream wedding’ and ‘fairytale wedding’ are used to create a fantasy of unforgettable wedding for the women readers. The writer intends to create or construct an image of the best day for the bride. It also creates the impression of dreams becoming reality on the wedding day.

Gendered Discourse of Compulsory Heterosexuality

The article describes the compulsory heterosexuality implied by a lack of suggestions that the couple exchanging vows is the same sex couple. The word ‘couple’ is used here to clearly identify a man and a woman.

Task Eight

Women are stereotyped as indirect speakers while men are considered to be direct speakers. This is a false stereotype as it directly implies that listeners do not clearly understand the message being conveyed. In reality, men and women do understand each other when communicating, the only difference is that two genders are influenced by various speech patterns acquired when growing up.

Women use indirect speech while men, on the other hand, prefer direct one. Women speech patterns are also influenced by emotions thus, their way of expressing themselves is conciliatory and collaborative. However, men have competitive speech patterns which make their conversations combative, and dominating. While talking to a woman one should avoid interruptions using supportive speech patterns. Men strive to dominate in conversations and keep on interrupting which makes their conversations aggressive and outcome oriented. Man speech patterns are also influenced by hierarchical structure of the male peer groups making their conversations dominating and time oriented. 

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