Critical reading of a text through its electronic supplement

Kieran O’Halloran
Published Online: Oct 15, 2010
Abstract | References | Full Text: HTML, PDF (920 KB)

Abstract

A by-product of new social media platforms is an abundant textual record of engagements – billions of words across the world-wide-web in, for example, discussion forums, blogs and wiki discussion tabs.  Many of these engagements consist of commentary on a particular text and can thus be regarded as supplements to these texts.  The larger purpose of this article is to flag the utility value of this electronic supplementarity for critical reading by highlighting how it can reveal particular meanings that the text being responded to can reasonably be said to marginalise and / or repress.  Given the potentially very large size of social media textual product, knowing how to explore these supplements with electronic text analysis software is essential.

To illustrate the above, I focus on how the content of online discussion forums, explored through electronic text analysis software, can be used to assist critical reading of the texts which initiate them.  The paper takes its theoretical orientations from the textual intervention work of Rob Pope together with themes in the work of the philosopher, Jacques Derrida.

Keywords: Corpus linguistics, critical discourse analysis, critical reading; electronic supplementarity, interavention, Jacques Derrida, lexical cohesion, Rob Pope, text absences, text margins

Biographical Statement

Kieran O’Halloran is a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics in the Centre for Language and Communication at the Open University, UK.  He is interested in the application of corpus linguistics to discourse analysis—specifically to critical discourse analysis, literary stylistics and argumentation—as well as cognitive issues in critical discourse analysis.

Publications include Critical Discourse Analysis and Language Cognition (Edinburgh University Press, 2003), Applying English Grammar: Functional and Corpus Approaches (Hodder Arnold, 2004 with Coffin and Hewings), The Art of English: Literary Creativity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006 with Goodman), ‘Researching argumentation in educational contexts: new directions, new methods’ (Special Issue) International Journal of Research and Method in Education, 2008, 31(3) (guest edited with Coffin), and Applied Linguistics Methods: A Reader (Routledge, 2009 with Coffin and Lillis).

Email: k.a.ohalloran@open.ac.uk


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