Cognitive Discourse Analysis

dr Anna Jelec


About the course...

Context is fundamental for our understanding of text. The assumption that forms the basis of discourse studies is that we need to know who, when and why created the text in order to fully understand it. Cognitive discourse analysis believes that we should take into account one other important factor - how people think.

The social context (such as education or politics), the thing accomplished by the text (e.g., legislation, teaching), the participants and their various communicative, social and professional roles, the relations between them, the setting (time, location) and other social or interactional properties of the communicative event are all relevant to understanding the discourse behind it (van Dijk 2000).

The thoughts, beliefs, aims, knowledge and personal beliefs of the people who take part in a conversation or discussion influence discourse by creating the so-called cognitive context. If we want to understand why people write and speak the way they do, we need to take the cognitive context into account.

Cognitive analysis of discourse focuses on the processes already identified by cognitive linguistics (metaphor, metonymy, framing, image schemata) and applies that knowledge to discourse analysis. During this class we will learn about cognitive processes and phenomena and apply this knowledge in practice. We will analyse speeches, articles and books as well as conversations and television advertisements in the framework of cognitive discourse analysis (CODA).

Class Schedule 2021/22

Adam Mickiewicz University students: tba. (proseminar slot)


To access the Moodle page

  • students of Adam Mickiewicz University find "Cognitive Analysis of Discourse (A. Jelec)"
  • students of Viadrina find "How people think and what they say - WiSe 2016/2017"

Take a look at past course materials

Lecture 1: Introduction to Cognitive Discourse Analysis

This week we are going to learn about metaphors, metonymies, frames and the reasons behind the global domination of Taylor Swift.

Lecture 2: Frames in Cognitive Discourse Analysis

(Before you read the description, make sure you're not thinking about any elephants)

This week we are going to learn about frames. What are they? How do they work? Why are you thinking about elephants?

Lecture 3: Frame analysis in Cognitive Discourse Analysis

Would you like to learn how to find and recognise frames? This week we are going to apply the knowledge about frames to analysing text. We are going to go through the basics of frame analysis and watch a video to find out the frames.

Can you identify why the term "greenhouse effect" did not prove effective in convincing Americans to act against global warming?

Lecture 4: Image schemas; or how we learn to understand the world

Why do babies keep throwing things out of their high chairs? Why do infants seem surprised when a toy chicken lays an egg? This is because they are learning image schemas - patterns that explain the behaviour of the world and objects in it.

This week we are going to see some of the image schemas that people use routinely and see how they can be helpful in understanding media discourse.

Some of my presentations:

Mind: Meet Metaphor

Want to learn how metaphor can save the world? Watch this narrated presentation to find out. (The presentation was prepared for the Polish Scientific Networks 2016 conference in Wrocław)

Polish Scientific Networks 2016

Watch me perform live :)

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