Discourse And Coherence

Posted on February 22, 2010


A discourse is a coherent stretch of language (Cook 1994). A good discourse is more than just the sense of coherence and is always fascinating to be in or near to one. Discourse would encompass the full range of language in the participants’ attempts to get message across as well as to understand them. This fascination lead to the belief that an analysis on discourse can be done in some extensions, areas and ideas that could really add to the large body of work that are already in existence. The naked words glistening in mid air would possess some other secrets that could be unlocked and viewed objectively to aid the messenger and the messages not forgetting of course the receiver.

Scott and Kamp (1999) forwarded a satisfactory analysis of dialoguewhen they claim that it requires in general both semantic and pragmatic representation:

i. Representation of the content of what the different participants are saying,
ii. Pragmatic information – what kinds of speech acts they are performing (are they asking a question, answering a question that has just been asked, asking a question for clarification of what was just said, making a proposal, etc.?), what information is available to each of the participants and what information does she want; and, more generally, what is the purpose behind their various utterances or even behind their entering upon the dialogue in the first place.

Debaters, thus, before cliaming to be successful need to be familiar with the speech acts in the debate dialogue or risk misrepresentation in responding to them.