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Discourse, Power and Society

Estermann Beat, Université de Généve, Seminararbeit,06.06.2001

This essay gives an analysis of the relation between discourse, power and society and attempts to design a model that accounts for the different ways in which power is present in discourse and thus in society - a model which might be used as a basis for the development of a framework for discourse analysis as well as for the conceptualisation of social change and its relation to language change.
The first part deals with the question as to what 'discourse' is and what role it plays with regard to the individual's identity, to the construction of social relationships, the interpretation of psychological processes, and to the creation of meaning.
The second part's focus is on how power is contained in discourse: it outlines a dynamic concept of power which subsequently is used to show how different aspects of discourse are related to different forms of power.
The final part contains a brief discussion of some of the implications of the model developed in the preceding parts, especially with regard to discourse analysis and social change.

The Formation of Pidgin Languages

Estermann Beat, Université de Généve, Seminararbeit, 07.06.2001

This essay will attempt to shed light on formation and development of pidgin languages. Several theories exist concerning the origin and evolution of pidgins, some of which are almost diametrically opposed to each other. We can roughly distinguish between two main types of theories: the monogenetic approach, according to which all pidgin languages are based upon a single common ancestor, and the polygenetic approach, which assumes that different pidgins developed independently from each other.
In the first part of the essay I shall give an account of the monogenetic approach and its implications, its shortcomings and merits. The second part will deal with the polygenetic approach and its different facets, whereas the third part will concentrate on the different stages of pidginisation as well as on several socio-linguistic factors which play a role in the development of a pidgin. In the last part I will conclude that whereas most of the different approaches which have been discussed have some validity insofar that they draw our attention to specific aspects of pidginisation, none of them is entirely satisfactory and that some questions relating to pidgin formation remain unresolved.

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Von: Chris Young
07.08.07 23:37

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