Discourse Analysis: The Tool to Gain Deeper Insights in Classroom-based Dialogs and Language Production in Education

What they have in common is an understanding that social interaction is context-specific. Discourse analysis is a methodological tool to understand intertextuality, or the use of various culture-specific texts in a specific act of coding an utterance, by allusion, subtext, or even direct citation. Intertextuality manifests itself in speech acts throughout the social spectrum – in families, schools, corporations, universities, the media, and so on. In each, common allusions to well-known texts allow for understanding to be realized in an in-group social way. It is a feature of codes that provides the conceptual glue that makes specific conversations within social settings relevant and meaningful to the members of a community.

For instance, in order to share multilingual classroom interaction research, researchers could turn to the discourse analysis via a translanguaging phenomenon, Narrative Analysis, and Conversation Analysis (CA), including how underlying social systems shape (and are shaped by) interaction, how identities are constructed in and through talk, the relationship between interaction and learning in both formal and informal educational contexts, and how embodiment, multimodality, and virtual spaces offer new sites of analysis, which raises important questions about what new modes of communication imply for discursive methods of research and representation (Rymes, 2015). There is also now a journal, Classroom Discourse, begun in 2010, devoted to issues of discourse and its analysis in education, both formal and informal.

Fairclough (2013) model for discourse analysis consists three inter-related processes of analysis tied to three inter-related dimensions of discourse;

a- The object of analysis (verbal, visual or verbal, and visual texts)
b- The processes by means of which the object is produced and received (writing/speaking/designing and reading/listening/viewing)by human subjects. It takes into account “textual silence,” ambiguities, and other covert but powerful discourses.
c- The socio-historical conditions which govern these processes.

He emphasizes that each of these discourses needs a different kind of analysis. He suggests: (a) – Text analysis (description), (b) Processing analysis(interpretation), and (c) – Social analysis (explanation).

Courses that would mention this methodology (along with other methodologies) (please email your inquiries of those classes to Dr. Istvan Kecskes at ikecskes@albany.edu)

  • ETAP 536 Second Language Acquisition
  • ETAP 636 Intercultural Pragmatics


Fairclough, N. (2013). Critical discourse analysis. In The Routledge handbook of discourse analysis (pp. 9-20). Routledge.

Rymes, B. (2015). Classroom discourse analysis: A tool for critical reflection. Routledge.

Written by Mary Dinh (mdinh@albany.edu)

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