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What is a text?. A text is a sequence of paragraphs that represents an extended unit of speech.

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Presentation on theme: "What is a text?. A text is a sequence of paragraphs that represents an extended unit of speech."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is a text?

2 A text is a sequence of paragraphs that represents an extended unit of speech.

3 According to De Beaugrande and Dressler, a text will be defined as a communicative occurrence which meets seven standards of textuality.

4 Text-centered notions: Cohesion Coherence User-centered notions: Intentionality Acceptability Informativity Situationality Intertextuality

5 Text-centered notions: cohesion Cohesion concerns the way in which the components of the surface text, i.e. the actual words we hear or see, are mutually connected within a sequence. Cohesion rests upon grammatical forms and conventions

6 Text-centered notions: coherence Coherence concerns the ways in which the meanings within a text (concepts, relations among them and their relations to the external world) are established and developed. Some of the major relations of coherence are logical sequences: cause-consequence (and so), condition- consequence (if), instrument-achievement (by), contrast (however), compatibility (and), etc.

7 Cohesion and coherence are text-centered notions, designating operations directed at the text materials.

8 User-centered notions Intentionality: the producer’s attitude aims at producing a set of occurrences which should constitute a cohesive and coherent text. Acceptability: it implies the receiver’s attitude that the set of occurrences should constitute a cohesive and coherent text.

9 Grice’s conversational maxims – Maxims of quantity – Make your contribution as informative as required. – Do not make your contribution more informative than is required. – Maxims of quality – Do not say what you believe to be false. – Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence. – Maxim of relation – Be relevant. – Maxims of manner – Avoid obscurity of expression. – Avoid ambiguity. – Be brief. – Be orderly.

10 Maxim of quantity A: Where is the post office? B: Down the road, about 50 metres past the second left. vs B: Not far.

11 Maxim of relevance A: How are you doing in maths? B: Not too well, actually VS B: Sunday was a fine day to go to the beach!

12 Maxim of manner A: What did you think of that movie? B: I liked the storyline, but the ending was a real shock! VS B: It was interestingly done, sir.

13 Informativity concerns the extent to which the occurrences of the presented text are expected vs unexpected or known vs unknown/certain.

14 In language: the degree of informativity is inversely proportional to contextual probability: The sea is water The sea is water only in the sense that water is the dominant substance present. Actually, it is a solution of gases and salts in addition to vast numbers of living organisms...

15 Situationality concerns the factors which make a text relevant to a situation of occurrence connected with coherence and acceptability. Deictics, for instance, can be decoded only on the basis of situationality.

16 Intertextuality concerns the factors which make the utilization of one text dependent upon knowledge of one or more previously encountered texts: If you are on a diet, your question may be:To eat or not to eat If you are ready to any compromise, you can borrow Henry IV’s statement Paris is worth a mass.

17 Channel Oral texts Written texts Intent of the Communicator Various types of texts (procedural, expository, persuasive, narrative, descriptive)

18 Intent of the communicator Genre of texts: – Narrative – Procedural – Expository (Informative) – Persuasive (Hortatory) – Descriptive

19 When are they used? procedural text: gives instructions on how to do something. expository text: is used to explain something hortatory text (persuasive): is used to encourage or to get someone to do something. As a matter of fact, it is argumentation descriptive text: lists the characteristics of something. narrative text: account of events (novel, newspaper article, biography)

20 TEXT FORMS Text forms evolve and change Authentic text forms are often mixed According to modern studies, there may be even more text types. Nonetheless, practical suggestions tend to classify texts in 3 main types:

21 Text Types (Sabatini) Group 1 scientific texts technical texts legal, normative, regulative texts (treatises,essays, technical textbooks and essays; laws and decrees; regulations, administrative acts)

22 Text Types (Sabatini) Group 2 expository and didactic texts popularising informative texts (e.g. textbooks on social, historical,political topics, popularising texts of various topics,newspaper and magazine articles)

23 Text Types (Sabatini) Group 3 literary texts, both poetry and fiction.

24 A text is a sequence of paragraphs that represents an extended unit of speech.

25 Semantic Syntactic Phonological Prosodic Transcoding Semiotics Specialized texts Non-specialized texts

26 Specialized texts How do we identify them? – External parameters (elements of the communication process) – Internal parameters (formal structure; knowledge structure; linguistic structure)

27 External Parameters A specialized text must be written by a specialist Those who want to translate specialized texts should get familiar with their specialized context, and should know the domain conventions and lexical/structural peculiarities

28 Internal Parameters Formal structure Knowledge structure Linguistic structure: Morphological level Lexical level Syntactic level Textual level Specialized texts are precise, more concise, and more systematic. Precision is a relevant feature. Only experts can control it.

29 Procedural texts Procedural texts can – explain how something works or how to use instruction manuals; – instruct how to do a particular activity.

30 Procedural texts Structure: elementary. Format: according to the type of procedural text. Language: focuses on people in general – Verb tense: present; – use of action verbs; – use of linking words related to time, first, then, when.

31 Persuasive (or Hortatory ) texts The persuasive text represents the attempt of the writer to have the addressee do something or act in a certain way. It wants to be convincing so that the addressee is made to share the writer’s opinion.

32 Features of Persuasive Texts Emotive language – to get a sympathetic reaction. Imperatives – telling the reader what to do. Short sentences – dramatic effect. Logical connectives – e.g. ‘therefore’, ‘because’. Alliteration Address reader directly. Personal and informal tone. Use of contrasts to emphasise particular points. Use of facts to shock the reader.

33 Example In all the discussion over the removal of lead from petrol (and the atmosphere) there doesn’t seem to have been any mention of the difference between driving in the city and the country. While I realize my leaded petrol car is polluting the air wherever I drive, I feel that when you travel through the country, where you only see another car every five to ten minutes, the problem is not as severe as when traffic is concentrated on city roads.

34 Example Those who want to penalize older, leaded petrol vehicles and their owners don’t seem to appreciate that, in the country, there is no public transport to fall back upon and one’s own vehicle is the only way to get about. I feel that the country people, who often have to travel huge distances to the nearest town and who already spend a great deal of money on petrol, should be treated differently to the people who live in the city.

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