Spread the love



It is a known fact that Discourse Analysis is the analysis of language in use. This work showed how discourse analysis and pragmatic elements can be used in decoding facts and foregrounded information in the Holy Bible especially Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman. The discourse elements such as: participants, context, turn-taking, exchange structure, reference, presupposition, inference, intention were used to bring out the foregrounded information in the conversation. In conclusion, we were able to show that addressee deduced or inferred more information from addressor’s utterance beyond what the original intention might have been.







Title page                                                                               i

Certification                                                                          ii

Dedication                                                                             v

Acknowledgment                                                                 vi

Abstract                                                                                 vii


  • General Introduction 1
  • Purpose 2
  • Scope and delimitation 2
  • Justification 3
  • Methodology 3


2.1 Introduction                                                                                            4

2.2 Discourse                                                                                                            4

2.3 Discourse Analysis                                                                               5

2.4 Elements of discourse analysis                                                                       8

2.4.1Participants                                                                                          8

2.4.2 Context                                                                                                            8

2.4.3 Turn-taking                                                                                         11

2.4.4 Exchange structure                                                                            12 Initiation, response and feedback                                                            12 Adjacency pairs                                                                              13

2.4.5 Topic                                                                                                    13

2.5 Pragmatic concepts of discourse                                                         14

2.5.1 Presupposition                                                                                 14

2.5.2 Implicature                                                                                          15

2.5.3 Reference                                                                                            17

2.5.4 Inference                                                                                              18

2.5.5 Intention                                                                                              18

2.6 Data description                                                                                                19

2.6.1 Jesus Christ                                                                                         20

2.6.2 The Samaritan woman                                                                                   20.


3.1 Introduction                                                                                            21

3.2 Datum 1                                                                                                   21

3.3 Datum 2                                                                                                   27

3.4 Datum 3                                                                                                   31


4.1 Summary                                                                                                 37

4.2 Findings                                                                                                  38

Bibliography                                                                                                 41





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.


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 outside religion.

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.


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 Samaritan woman.

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.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *