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How to Do Critical Discourse Analysis

How to Do Critical Discourse Analysis
A Multimodal Introduction

240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Language and communication shapes and is shaped by the society we live in. Using a multimodal approach –graphic, vocal, written – the book guides students to an understanding of how language, power and ideology are negotiated in visual communication and media texts, from magazine and advertising, to YouTube and music videos.

It draws on discourse analysis, appraisal theory, stylistics and conversation analysis to present a systematic toolkit for doing language and image analysis. Using case studies and examples from a range of traditional and new media content, the book equips students with the necessary tools to analyze and understand the relationship between language, discourse and social practices.

Timely and relevant, How to do Critical Discourse Analysis is a unique and compelling textbook for students in media, communication, linguistics and journalism.

Introduction: How Meaning Is Created
Making Active Choices: Language as a Set of Resources
Analysing Semiotic Choices: Words and Images
Presenting Speech and Speakers: Quoting Verbs
Representing People: Language and Identity
Representing Actions: Transitivity and Verb Processes
Concealing and Taking for Granted: Nominalization and Presupposition
Persuading with Abstraction: Rhetoric and Metaphor
Committing and Evading: Truth, Modality and Hedging
Conclusion: Doing Critical Discourse Analysis and Its Discontents


How great to have this practical introduction to doing critical discourse analysis, especially one that provides examples of multimodal discourse analysis. Extremely useful for students in media and cultural studies who need tools for the study of text, talk and images.

Teun van Dijk
Pompeu Fabra University

The authors have truly achieved the impossible: to make extremely complex phenomena accessible for students and scholars alike. Thus, this textbook will provide a most helpful guide when looking for adequate ways to grasp and analyze the intricate interdependence of written, oral and visual forms of semiosis.

Ruth Wodak
Lancaster University

David Machin and Andrea Mayr have written a well informed book combining critical discourse and visual analysis. They present, in a very accessible way, a range of semiotic tools introducing readers to both theory and practice. Highly useful to students of communication studies in general.

Carmen Rosa Caldas-Coulthard
Centre for English Language Studies, The University of Birmingham

Media and cultural studies scholars have needed this book for some time - a critical and comprehensive introduction to the themes and tools of multimodal critical discourse analysis and, importantly, a clear framework for applying them in analysis. The book both summarises and develops a critical approach to analysing visual and linguistic communication, and should be mandatory reading for every student and scholar interested in examining how text and talk function.

John Richardson
Newcastle University

This book is a must for any student or scholar who is interested in ‘doing’ critical discourse analysis. At present, it is not easy to find a book like this one which is dedicated to providing a practical introduction to the analytic tools used by CDA practitioners...I am impressed by the fact that the authors explain extremely complicated phenomena in such an accessible way, which shows their excellent understanding of the subject in question.

Song Guo
School of Foreign Languages, Tianjin University of Commerce, People’s Republic of China

This excellent book demonstrates a wide range of meanings that can be conveyed by language in a manner that is accessible to students.

Dr Jamie Harding
Department of Social Sciences, Northumbria University
January 23, 2018

Very interesting practical introduction to CDA. Easy way to engage with basic concepts and a very useful roadmap to a hands on approach.Relevant and valid textbook

Mr Antonio Mendes
London College of Communication, University of the Arts London
September 30, 2016

Good concise guide with clear use of language throughout

Ms Louise O'Boyle
School of Art and Design, Ulster University
August 6, 2016

Authored by two of the most outstanding scholars in the field of Multimodal Critical Discourse Studies, this excellent book constitutes a perfect blend between the theory and the practice. Strong points: a clear style; case studies; an extended bibliography; and a useful glossary.Weak points: the analysis remains too linguistic and more could have been done for analysing visual elelments; more examples and more pictures would have been desirable.

Mr Francesco Screti
Education , Glion Institute of Higher Education
February 1, 2016

I've adopted this as a key textbook for my undergraduate course. It's a very accessible introduction to CDA and the fact that it incorporates visual semiosis makes it particularly appealing to undergraduates

Dr Jane Mulderrig
School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, Sheffield University
January 30, 2016

David Machin

David Machin is Professor of Linguistics at the Institute of Corpus and Applications, Shanghai International Studies University.  He publishes in a range of academic fields applying multimodal critical discourse analysis to provide unique insights.  His books include Introduction to Multimodal Analysis (2020), Doing Visual Analysis (2018), Visual Journalism (2015) and The Language of War Monuments 2013). He is coeditor of the journal Social Semiotics, which publishes researching which uses multimodal critical discourse analysis and is on the editorial board of a range of leading journals in the field.  More About Author

Andrea Mayr

Andrea Mayr is currently Associate Professor in Media and Communication at Zayed University, UAE, where she works in the fields of Critical Discourse Analysis and Multimodality, with a particular focus on crime and deviance, social exclusion and (digital) media activism. In her widely used books and peer-reviewed journal articles she applies mostly linguistic methods to the study of multimodal communication, such as in Language and Power (2019). More About Author