Discourse, grammar, discourse

M. Ariel
2009 Discourse Studies  
Discourse and grammar often complement each other, each imposing a different set of constraints on speakers' utterances. Discourse constraints are global, pertaining to text coherence, and/or to interpersonal relations. Grammatical constraints are local, pertaining to possible versus impossible structures (within specific languages). Yet, the two must meet in natural discourse. At every point during interaction speakers must simultaneously satisfy both types of constraints in order to
more » ... e properly. It is also during conversational interaction that language change somehow takes place. This overview first explains and exemplifies how discourse constraints guide addressees in selecting specific grammatical forms at different points in the interaction (discourse 'selecting' from grammar). It then examines the relationship between discourse and grammar from a grammaticization point of view, demonstrating how a subset of discourse patterns (may) turn grammatical (grammar 'selecting' from discourse). The central theme is then that discourse depends on grammar, which in turn depends on discourse. Discourse and grammar often seem to be two very different facets of human communication. Grammar specifies a set of language-specific codes, typically restricted to sentence-level units. It guides speakers on how to properly construct sentences, which are then joined together by a completely different set of (discourse) principles into a coherent piece of discourse. Discourse is the product of the use of grammar in particular natural contexts. It typically comprises a stretch of utterances (mostly sentences) which are organized in a non-random fashion. The principles informing discourse construction (such as relevance) are global and not specifically linguistic (
doi:10.1177/1461445608098496 fatcat:bebimzec6vfvfd3hm45tpq5jhi