Academic Commons


Unified Discourse Analysis: Language, Reality, Virtual Worlds, and Video Games

Heil, Catherine Regina

James Paul Gee’s Unified Discourse Analysis: Language, Reality, Virtual Worlds, and Video Games not only offers a comprehensive theoretical framework that can be used to analyze discourse, video games, and action, but also explores the underlying commonalities that unite these seemingly disparate domains. The root of Gee’s theory is that “conversations” are not limited to talk, but also include text and action (what he calls “conversations with the world”). In life, humans have conversations with the world by taking on various identities (avatars) and “playing” as themselves through their interactions. Readers, too, interact with text by conversing with it in their minds, gleaning what they see as relevant based on the objectives of their avatars. Gee argues that video games, as a new multimodal communicative form, ought to be granted the same consideration that literary critics have given to texts and discourse analysts have given to discourse. Video games, like other forms of communication, involve interaction and turn-taking: A player performs an action in a game, and the game responds. Throughout this book, Gee weaves together illustrative examples from history and experience, images and analyses of video games, segments of classroom discourse, and even excerpts from literature and poetry to support this expansive framework.


Also Published In

Working Papers in TESOL & Applied Linguistics

More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Published Here
November 9, 2015