Time in discourse
Keywords:Discourse, Time, Socio-semantics, Social Practice, Time Summons, Synchronisation, Punctuality, Subjective Duration, Time Management
The paper presents a systemic functional description of English discursive resources for representing and regulating the timing of social practices. Four key categories are distinguished: the time summons, which imposes timing on social activities by decree; social synchronisation, in which the timing of social activities is synchronised with the timing of other social activities; natural synchronisation, in which the timing of social activities is synchronised with the timing of natural events; and mechanical synchronisation, in which the timing of social activities is synchronised with the timing of artificially created events. A number of more delicate categories and other aspects of timing are discussed, together with their realisations. Two texts are analysed to demonstrate the utility of this descriptive framework for the critical discourse analysis of texts in which the management of time is a key issue.
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