Discourse genres as determiners of discursive regularities: A case of semiotic predictability?

Jeoffrey Gaspard


This article focuses on discursive regularities that can generally be observed in text corpora produced in similar communication situations (medical interviews, political debates, teaching classes, etc.). One type of such regularities is related to the so-called ‘discourse genres’, considered as a set of tacit instructions broadly constraining the forms of utterances in a given discursive practice. Those regularities highlight the relatively regulated, non-random nature of most of our discursive practices and epitomize the necessary constrained creativity of meaning making in discourse. In this perspective, we suggest that the concepts of Thirdness and Habit, as theorized by Charles S. Peirce, can be fruitful in describing the role and importance of such regularities in our sociodiscursive life. More specifically, we believe that discourse regularities are ideal case studies if one wishes to investigate instances of predictability in semiotic (discursive) processes. Overall, we suggest that their study can be one of many research orientations through which a prediction-based scientific conception of semiotics could be applied.


discourse genres; communication situation; Thirdness; predictability; Charles S. Peirce; discursive regularities

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12697/SSS.2016.44.3.03

SIGN SYSTEMS STUDIES. ISSN 1406-4243 (print), 1736-7409 (online). E-mail: sss@ut.ee. Postal address: Sign Systems Studies, Dept. of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Jakobi St. 2, 51014 Tartu, Estonia