Discourse analysis is a term that has come to have different interpretations for scholars working in different disciplines. For a sociolinguist, it is concerned mainly with the structure of social interaction manifested in conversation; for a psycholinguist, it is primarily concerned with the nature of comprehension of short written texts; for the computational linguist, it is concerned with producing operational models of text-understanding within highly limited contexts. In this textbook, first published in 1983, the authors provide an extensive overview of the many and diverse approaches to the study of discourse, but base their own approach centrally on the discipline which, to varying degrees, is common to them all - linguistics. Using a methodology which has much in common with descriptive linguistics, they offer a lucid and wide-ranging account of how forms of language are used in communication. Their principal concern is to examine how any language produced by man, whether spoken or written, is used to communicate for a purpose in a context.