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Analysis of Discourse and Interaction: Overview


Published Online: 5 NOV 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal1347

The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics

How to Cite

JONES, R. H. 2012. Analysis of Discourse and Interaction: Overview. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 NOV 2012


When we speak of the study of discourse and interaction, we are mostly concerned with the analysis of synchronous conversation as opposed to written texts, although we might also consider text-based computer-mediated communication. This is not to say that writing is not interactive: people write letters to each other and, more recently, engage in asynchronous written interaction through blogs and social networking sites. The focus of the analysis of discourse and interaction, however, has traditionally been on “real-time ”interaction in which participants are temporally copresent (though they may be spatially distant) and jointly engaged in some kind of social action. Examples include face-to-face interactions of various kinds (from religious rituals to casual conversations), telephone conversations, video conferences, chat and instant messaging sessions, and the interaction between avatars in online games or in virtual worlds. Discourse analysts are chiefly concerned with how parties in interaction work together to construct their social identities, their social relationships and their social realities moment by moment through language.


  • discourse analysis;
  • language and social interaction;
  • identity