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Discourse Analysis in Teaching Linguistic Competence Essay (Critical Writing)


Discourse analysis is a study that aims at discussing the relations that exist between language and the context of use (McCarthy 1991). Discourse is defined as something that people talk about. Therefore, it has to be properly analysed and understood. In this paper, the article written by Eshita Awal and Homayra Binte Bahar for the Journal of Humanities and Social Science about the significance of linguistic and communicative competences and the worth of discourse analysis will be analysed. The critique of this article helps to develop an understanding of discourse analysis that can be used by linguistic teachers and also the ways of thinking different authors introduce in their writings.

Evaluation of the Purpose, Research Questions, Rationale, and Significance of the Study

The authors of the chosen article believe that discourse analysis is a significant tool that provides teachers and learners with an opportunity to develop adequate and practical knowledge and become linguistically efficient with time (Awal & Bahar 2013). The purpose of the article is to investigate learners’ levels of competence and clarify how useful discourse analysis can be for learners and teachers. To achieve the goal, the authors establish several crucial objectives like the identification of how the techniques of discourse analysis may be adopted, the clarification of what the functional usage of the target language is, and the discussion of the pedagogical approach in discourse analysis.

The main research question is to check if the devices of discourse analysis can be properly used by learners and teachers to demonstrate their linguistic competence and prove their communicative competence. The rationale of the article is to favour teaching language as a linguistic phenomenon with the help of which communicative competence may be proved. The authors explain that language has to be interpreted as a psychological phenomenon and a social issue with the help of which the process of learning a language can be justified and improved from the structural and conceptual points of view.

The significance of the study is the possibility to interpret communicative competence and combine its worth with linguistic competence and discourse analysis. People should realise that there are many rules and standards that have to be considered in a particular context. It is important to remember about cultural and social norms, values, and knowledge and use discourse analysis to understand contexts and use appropriate practices. The development of linguistic, socio-linguistic, discourses, and strategic skills is integral for learners and teachers.

Taking into consideration the information obtained from the article, it is possible to say that the goals and rationale are properly introduced in the paper. Though the authors do not develop clear research questions, it is easy to find out the essence of the chosen article.

Theoretical Framework and Literature Review

Any discourse analysis is a successful employment of methods and theoretical principles. It is a strong combination of different activities in social life (Awal & Bahar 2013). In addition to the pedagogical approach in terms of which discourse analysis is discussed, the interactions of the language are discussed through Chomsky’s competence theory the goal of which is to prove that the primary role of language is to promote communication and convey messages.

Therefore, communicative competence is crucial for discourse analysis, as well as the use of discourse analysis is critical for the development of communicative competence. In addition to this theory, the authors mention several theoretical perspectives which may strengthen discourse analysis, e.g. speech act theory, ethnography of communication, conversational analysis, or pragmatism (Awal & Bahar 2013).

Other authors suggest additional theories to improve discourse analysis regarding linguistics. For example, Tsui (2011) introduces an information-processing theory of learning as a means to investigate classroom discourse research. Liu and Braine (2005) and Mohamed-Sayidina (2010) rely on the ideas developed through cohesion theory and use it as the main framework for their discussion. In the article under analysis, the authors do not specify the theoretical framework and the measurements that have to be met. Their goal is to discuss and evaluate the material available on the topic and introduce the examples with the help of which discourse analysis can be developed and explained.

The review of the literature is one of the main methods of gathering information. There are 14 sources referenced in the article, and several sources used through the article. The authors use several old sources dated in 1983 and earlier to introduce the basics on which they can rely and develop their investigation of discourse analysis and communicative competence of learners. In fact, the choice of such sources can be justified because a number of authors introduced their powerful ideas and thoughts about discourse analysis between the 1980s and the 1990s.

For example, similar ideas can be found if the Wells’ article where discourse analysis and genres are introduced as separate semiotic tools for action (Wells 1993). Awal and Bahar (2013), as well as Walsh (2012) and Jiang (2012), believe that a thorough understanding of discourse analysis may have a strong impact on a learning process, especially when learning is defined as a social activity with the necessity of engagement and participation. Still, despite the evident strengths of the article and the approach chosen by the author, the literature review is not as strong as it could be due to a small number of up-to-date sources and comparison. The authors find it appropriate to rely on their experiences and understanding and share their visions of the matter.


In the article, not much attention is paid to the methodology and the steps taken for the analysis of the material. The authors indicate the failure of CLT approaches as the stimulus to discover new aspects of gathering information. The peculiar feature of the article is the intentions to use past experiences to prove discourse analysis as one of the best research methods for investigations of practices, skills, and knowledge. Awareness of others and their intentions should help to succeed in discourse analysis (Crane 1994; Cook 2011). In fact, the article is based on the evaluation of the already known and proved facts about communicative competence, linguistic competence, and discourse analysis as the tool that unites these two types of competence.

Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations in the Article

The findings of the article help to realise that linguistic knowledge and the recognition of verbal and non-verbal elements turn out to be considerable parts of discourse analysis in terms of which a learner or a teacher can stay competent during the discussions. It is concluded that the development of four different skills cannot be neglected because they aim at recognising the boundaries of communication. The only recommendation that is given in the article is to continue working in the linguistic field to discover new aspects of communicative competence and succeed in understanding language in a proper way.


In general, the article contains enough valuable information about discourse analysis and the role of communication in this process. People may develop their thoughts and share their experience. However, the interpretation of this information has to be logically organised and defined. This article explains how discourse analysis should be organised and developed in terms of communication using linguistic knowledge.

Reference List

Awal, E & Bahar, HB 2013, ‘Significance of linguistic competence over communicative competence enlightened through the devices of discourse analysis’, Journal of Humanities and Social Science, vol. 7, no. 5, pp. 75-80.

Cook, G 2011, ‘Discourse analysis’, in J Simpson (ed), The Routledge handbook of applied linguistics, Routledge, New York, pp. 431-444.

Crane, PA 1994, Texture in text: discourse analysis of a news article using Halliday and Hasan’s model of cohesion. Web.

Jiang, X 2012, ‘A study of college English classroom discourse’, Theory and Practice in Language Studies, vol. 2, no. 10, pp. 2146-2152.

Liu, M & Braine, G 2005, ‘Cohesive features in argumentative writing produced by Chinese undergraduates’, System, vol. 33, pp. 623-636.

McCarthy, M 1991, Discourse analysis for language teachers, Cambridge University Press, New York.

Mohamed-Sayidina, A 2010, ‘Transfer of LI cohesive devices and transition words into L2 academic texts: the case of Arab studies, RELC, vol. 41, no. 3, pp. 253-266.

Tsui, ABM 2011, ‘Classroom discourse’, in J Simpson (ed), The Routledge handbook of applied linguistics, Routledge, New York, pp. 274-286.

Walsh, S 2012, ‘Conceptualising classroom interactional competence’, Novitas Royal: Research on Youth and Language, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 1-14.

Wells, G 1993, ‘Reevaluating the IRF sequence: A proposal for the articulation of theories of activity and discourse for the analysis of teaching and learning in the classroom’, Linguistics and Education, vol. 5, pp. 1-37.

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