Pamphlet #5. Digital Discourse Analysis

Marcus Müller, December 2017

Discourse Analysis deals with the interrelationship between language, knowledge, and society. The role of Digital Linguistics within this field lies in measuring, categorising, and contextualising patterns in language corpora enriched with data on language use and speakers. In Digital Discourse Analysis, we interpret those patterns as traces of social interaction. We distinguish two linguistic approaches to discourse: The forensic program conceives language as indication of phenomena that are relevant to conceptual, cultural, or social history. The explorative program examines the principles of language formation in social contexts. The pamphlet draws up the methodological foundations of Digital Discourse Analysis based on the terms ‘index’, ‘trace’, and ‘contextualisation’. Taking the example of the modal particle construction of the type doch eben, doch eigentlich in the bioethics debate, the research practice is presented. Finally, the pamphlet advocates research methods that help not to lose sight of the textual context of quantitative results.

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