Examining interspecies interactions in light of discourse analytic theory: A case study on the genre of human-goat communication at a petting farm

F. De Malsche*, L. Cornips

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)


This paper investigates how linguistic research can contribute to the field of interspecies studies through an ethnographic study on human-goat communication. It addresses two research questions: whether traditional discourse analytic theory can be used to analyze non-human communication, and whether the specific concepts of communicative events, purposes, and move structure within genre theory can be applied in these contexts. The data show that genre theory can be applied, and that both the humans and the goats attempt to make their communicative goals salient to the recipients. The results illustrate the possibility of applying traditional linguistic theory to non-human contexts, and it is argued that discourse analytic theory should include interspecies interactions to gain new insights in general communicative paradigms.

(c) 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-70
Number of pages18
JournalLanguage & Communication
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Posthumanist linguistics
  • Interspecies communication
  • Human-goat interaction
  • Genre theory
  • Animal agency
  • Discourse analysis

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