During a fairly riveting analysis of the discourse marker “so,” the Lexicon Valley podcast gives an unexpected definition of discourse analysis:
Discourse analysts view language as a kind of infrastructure. Just as a city needs roads and telephone wires and computer connections, and its that infrastructure that provides for the possibility of social living, our relationships and institutions require an infrastructure of interaction as well.
Wow. Back as a graduate student – or, I suppose any kind student – I’d only ever endeavored to create one independent study. This was Discourse Analysis. I still, today, consider it often. While I’m not so sure cities need telephone wires, language as infrastructure for interaction! The entire podcast series is pretty terrific.