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Towards a semiotic definition of discourse and a basis for a typology of discourses

Journal article
Authors Max Boholm
Published in Semiotica
Volume 208
Pages 177–201
ISSN 0037-1998
Publication year 2016
Published at Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI)
Pages 177–201
Language en
Keywords corpus, definition, discourse, semiotics, representation, Peirce
Subject categories Languages and Literature


This article engages with the widely used academic concept of discourse. The aim is threefold: first, to provide a comprehensive overview of how the notion of discourse is conceived based on (a) definitions in the academic literature, (b) dictionary definitions, and (c) corpus data; second, to define discourse as a set of related representations; and, third, to suggest a basis for a typology of discourses. Following Peirce, a representation is regarded as a relationship between a signifier, signified element, and interpretant. A basis for a typology is developed by considering various types of representations and ways they are related.

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