This paper has two purposes. One purpose is to introduce a tool for analyzing some aspects of discourse. This tool is based on what I will call “Basic Information Structure” (“BIS” for short). The second purpose is to apply this tool to a specific example so that I can both make the use of the tool clear and speak to an issue I wish to address.
The issue I want to address deals with “academic language” (Gee 2004; Schleppegrell 2004). Academic language is a general name for many different varieties of language associated with academic disciplines or with academic content in schools, for example, the styles of language and other symbol systems associated with chemistry or social science.