Response Paper to Discourse Analysis – Kaplan And Grabe (2002)

While embarking on the analysis of the historical developments in the Discourse Analysis, Kaplan & Grabe (2002) developed a paper, which was later published in the Journal of Second Language Writing. Initially, the authors asserted the need for discourse analysis to be carried out within a period of 40-50 years, citing the immense contributions that were witnessed in the field in the 1970’s (Kaplan & Grabe, 2002, p. 192). The paper then proceeds to provide a historical development of discourse analysis, drawing on the various perspectives from the textlinguistics to the modern contrastive rhetoric. In creating the connections and the historic developments in discourse analysis, the authors explores the systematic approaches to the discourse analysis, which is the main goal of the article.

Kaplan & Grabe in their article provide a comprehensive analysis of the developments in discourse analysis. On reading the abstract of the article, the authors made it clear the focus of the article and provide a useful overview of the paper. Although the abstract seemed a little complicated and vague to discern what the historical analysis would encompass, on reading the article further, the paper becomes clear and provides useful and systematic historical information on discourse analysis. Therefore, the first reaction was that of a vaguely developed analysis, this changed, and the article became interesting and informative. It made me informed, making known the numerous historical perspectives underlying the subject of the article.

The organization of the paper is systematic, tracing the historical developments in discourse analysis from 1960s to the modern discourse analysis. The article begins by giving the modern developments in discourse analysis then proceeds to offer some insights into the historical developments. The format was found useful, particularly from the fact that by giving first the modern perspectives, it helps one to discern the developments that occurred in the linguistic discourse analysis through a creation of comparisons of modern and earlier developments in the field of linguistics. The in-depth analysis and historical traces of discourse analysis makes the article interesting and informative.

While starting by giving the meaning of discourse analysis, the article offers good foundation to the understanding of the concepts of linguistic discourse analysis. The authors then proceed to discuss the foundations of linguistics (especially Chomskian and Structural linguistics), also giving the numerous perspectives, which include anthropological, sociolinguistics, descriptive, functional, tagmemics, functional and systemic linguistics. Furthermore, the authors analyse discourse analysis in the light of English studies, illustrating the approaches to written discourse in English studies (Kaplan & Grabe, 2002, p. 203).

The authors then discuss the applied linguistics, giving detailed analysis of its historical developments from 1960s to 80s and then finalize their analysis by looking at other additional sources of discourse territory, covering the fields of psychology (especially cognitive psychology) and sociology. All these components were interwoven and critically evaluated giving a coherent and systematic analysis of historical developments in discourse linguistics. The authors then give a conclusion that offers a summary of the paper.

The ideas and concepts discussed in the article are connected to the practical analysis of English. For instance, the tenets of sociolinguistics and functional linguistics find applications in the daily discourse analyses. In conclusion, besides from the coherence in its analysis of historical developments in the discourse analysis, I find the article very informative and use. The paper provides a basis where researchers in field of linguistics and learners can benefit immensely.

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