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In this book Michael McCarthy and Ronald Carter describe the discoursal properties of language and demonstrate what insights this approach can offer to the student and teacher of language. The authors examine the relationship between complete texts, both spoken and written, and the social and cultural contexts in which they function. They argue that the functions of language are often best understood in a discoursal environment and that exploring language in context compels us to revise commonly-held understandings about the forms and meanings of language. In so doing, the authors argue the need for language teachers, syllabus planners and curriculum organisers to give greater attention to language as discourse.