1.1 GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Over the years, several researches have been conducted in the field
of discourse analysis with various definitions given to it. Brown and
Yule (1983:1) opine that “the analysis of discourse is necessarily the
analysis of language in use”.
Ambiguity is the word used by Stubb (1993:1) to describe discourse
analysis. He says; “the term discourse analysis is very ambiguous…to
refer to mainly the linguistic analysis of naturally occurring connected
spoken or written discourse”.
Cooks (1996:1) argues that “although the main focus of discourse
analysis is on language, it is not concerned with language alone. It
also examines the concept of communication”.
Discourse analysis has been applied to the analysis of many literary
works by scholars. Cooks (1996) uses discourse analysis to analyze
advertisement. Woods (2006) examines the discourse of advertising,
politics, law, medicine and the discourse of education respectively.
Laniru (2010) uses it for “who wants to be a millionaire,” a television
program in Nigeria.
This investigation is an attempt to take discourse analysis some
steps further, using its basic elements such as turn taking, exchange
structure, context, participants and so on, alongside some pragmatic
features to make explicit the implicit aspect of the interaction between
our participants, Jesus and the Samaritan woman as recorded in John
chapter four of the holy Bible. Our expectation is that this will give a
better understanding and insight into the conversation.
1.2 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The Holy Bible is one of the most sought after books in the world
today. Jesus Christ who has His name or image as the central subject of
discourse from Genesis to Revelation is possibly the most mentioned name
in the universe. However, the interpretation of many of the teachings,
conversation and events he partook in, are being subjected to diverse
meaning explication by several people both in the field of religion and
A discourse analysis of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman
attempts to show how elements of discourse analysis can be used in
decoding facts and foregrounded information from the Holy Bible.
1.3SCOPE AND DELIMITATION
This research seeks to undertake a discourse analysis of Jesus’
conversation with the Samaritan woman. It attempts to show how best
discourse and some pragmatic elements can be used to decode the meaning
of conversation in the Holy Bible. Jesus’ conversation with the
Samaritan woman has been selected from several Biblical conversations
just as a sample among others.
Some researchers have conducted investigations into the Holy Bible
using discourse analysis. For instance, Balogun’s “A Discourse
Analysis of selected parables of Jesus Christ (2010)”. However, as at
the period of this study to the best of our knowledge, no researcher has
used discourse analysis to analyze Jesus’ conversation with the
Moreover, “A discourse analysis of Jesus’ conversation with the
Samaritan woman” will not only add to the knowledge bank but it will
show how effectively discourse analysis can be used in decoding meaning
in conversations in the Holy Bible which has been described by many as
being more spiritual than psychological.
Our primary data will be drawn from the New International Version of
the Holy Bible because of its simplicity and general acceptability. The
data will be as recorded by Saint John chapter four (John 4). It will be
presented excluding the writer’s comments in an exchange structure
format. The elements of discourse analysis found within shall be used
alongside some pragmatic elements.