Discourse  

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This page Discourse is part of the linguistics series. Illustration: a close-up of a mouth in the film The Big Swallow (1901)
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This page Discourse is part of the linguistics series.
Illustration: a close-up of a mouth in the film The Big Swallow (1901)

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Discourse (L. discursus, "running to and from") means either written or spoken communication or debate or a formal discussion or debate. The term is often used in semantics and discourse analysis.

In semantics, discourses are linguistic units composed of several sentences; in other words, conversations, arguments, or speeches. In discourse analysis, which came to prominence in the late 1960s, the word "discourse" is shorthand for "discursive formation", which is what Michel Foucault called communication that involves specialized knowledge of various kinds. It is in this sense that the word is most often used in academic studies.

Studies of discourse have been carried out within a variety of traditions that investigate the relations between language, structure and agency, including feminist studies, anthropology, enthnography, cultural studies, literary theory and the history of ideas. Within these fields, the notion of discourse is itself subject to discourse, that is, debated on the basis of specialized knowledge. Discourse can be observed in the use of spoken, written and signed language and multimodal/multimedia forms of communication, and is not found only in 'non-fictional' or verbal materials.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Discourse" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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