“Text can be used for both written and spoken language. It usually refers to a stretch, an extract or complete piece of writing or speech. Texts generally adhere to broad conventions and rules which determine the language and structure used in particular text types.” Cornbleet and Carter The Language of Speech and Writing (2001, p 3)
The word text: Derives from the Latin texere – to weave
What determines the structure of a text? What form does this strucutre take? Is this the same for all texts?
Texts in general are: Self-contained Well-formed Hang together (cohesive) Make sense (coherent) Have a clear communicative purpose Are recognisable text types Are appropriate to their contexts of use Scott Thornbury, Beyond the Sentence, p 19, Macmillan, 2005.
Are all of the following texts? No unauthorised photocopying. So easy to use, no wonder we’re the World’s No1 Brown ‘treating people as fools’ Is it my turn? KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN
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It was generally evident whenever they met, that he did admire her; and to her it was equally evident that was yielding to the preference which she had begun to entertain for him from the first, and was in a way to be very much in love; but she considered with pleasure that it was not likely to be discovered by the world in general, since Jane united with great strength of feeling a composure of temper and a uniform cheerfulness of manner, which would guard her from the suspicions of the impertinent.
Formal vs Informal Literary and Non-literary What makes a text formal? What makes a text informal? Do formal texts only use formal language? What is a literary text? Are literary texts formal or informal?
Text and sentences Are all texts organised in sentences? Are sentences necessary for a stretch of language to be considered a text? What kinds of text are organised in sentences?
Text or discourse? Are they the same? If not what is the difference between text analysis and discourse analysis? “Knowing what a sentence means is one thing, but knowing what ismeant by an utterance is another” H.G. Widdowson Discourse Analysis, p. 13, OUP, 2007
So what is discourse? “Discourse can be anything from a grunt or single expletive, through short conversations and scribbled notes right up to Tolstoy’s novel, War and Peace, or a lengthy legal case.” Guy Cook, Discourse, p 7. OUP, 1989
Discourse analysis is concerned with: “how the encoded resources available in a language are put to communicative use” H.G. Widdowson Discourse Analysis, p. XV, OUP, 2007 i.e. the focus is on the language as a means to an end, an instrument at the service of communication
Discourse analysis is also concerned with: meanings, which are- “socio-cultural constructs of reality: they represent particular beliefs and values that define ways of thinking about the world” Ibid i.e. the focus is on how texts are socially constructed and are to a certain extent a from of social practice
Not only definition of discourse analysis: “This latter kind of language – language in use, for communication – is called discourse; and the search for what gives discourse coherence is discourse analysis. […] What matters is not its conformity to rules, but the fact that it communicates and is recognized by its receivers as coherent” Guy Cook, Discourse, p 6 & 7, OUP, 1989
Spoken texts in particular are governed by the social context which determines the shape of the discourse and the language used. This is thanks not only to a knowledge of language but of knowledge of social conventions and/or the ability to make assumptions regarding the situational context (immediate perceptual context and conceptual context as well as social context) and draw inferences.
Context What are the main kinds of contexts? How do they differ from each other? What implications does the context have on the kind of language used?
How would the following interlocuters express the fact someone had died? Mother to toddler Student to teacher Male teenager to male friend Female teenager to female friend Female teenager to male friend Adult woman to male colleague Lawyer to judge in murder case Newspaper death column
How would the following interlocuters express their need to urinate? Toddler to mother Student to teacher Male teenager to male friend Female teenager to female friend Female teenager to male friend Adult woman to male colleague Lawyer to judge regarding the defendant
Context Public vs private Participants (degree of familiarity) Medium Expectations Level of personal reference Style (from euphemism to dysphemism) Repertoire of scripts Ritualised language Loaded language
Purpose Persuade Instruct or advise Entertain Inform Threaten Request or invite Social function Promise Mixed
What is the purpose of the following texts? Bus ticket List of jobs to do around the house An employment contract “c u l8r @ skul” Birthday card “Nokia – Connecting people” “My other car’s a Porsche” (sticker in the back of an old banger) Cat needs feeding (note left on kitchen table)
Planning Which kinds of text involve most planning? Are spoken texts ever planned? What things are taken into account when planning a text?
Features involved in planning Target (also multiple) Setting (incl. register) Time spent Medium used Longevity Conformity Pre-existing ‘scripts’ (conscious and subconscious planning) Use of lexical phrases/set phrases Complexity of syntax Style
Jobs to do As there has been a lot of rain just recently along with a rise in temperatures it would be advisable if you found enough time to weed the vegetable patch, if not the carrots and the lettuce will be choked and we will not have any produce later on in the year. I have been very busy recently and therefore have not found time to hoover the bedrooms for at least two weeks. Rather than go for a walk on Saturday afternoon I think I should stay at home and remedy this situation.
The best laid plans… Perceptions of interlocuter/reader Power roles (in spoken texts) unintended direction
Spoken text/discourse types How many can you think of? Greetings Speeches Lectures Conversations (many subtypes) Radio & TV Requests Interviews Orders/instructions Sweet nothings Warnings Songs Complaints How many of these are scripted?
Ephemeral nature of spoken language Which of the above are ephemeral spoken forms? Which are long-lasting/permanent forms? What about hybrid forms?
Analysing spoken texts “spoken discourse should not be judged using the rules of written English: terms such as ‘word’, ‘sentence’ and ‘paragraph’ … come from the study of writing.” Carter et al., Working with Texts, 1997 p 243
Spoken texts “speech is characteristically used in pursuit of a purpose… The practice of inventing a sentence… is a practice of the sentence grammarian, not the user’ Brazil, A Grammar of Speech,1995, pp 26-7
What a fuss! I for one don't want an election in November - it would be the worst possible month. As for Cameron talking about running scared and cowardice - how utterly childish can you get? This is playground stuff. What would he do given the same circumstances I wonder? Give Brown a chance I say. What kind of texts are the following? What do you base your thoughts on?
hope you are all ok. i have holidayitis and am very excited!!! everyone is fine here.we went to see pirates of the carribean today but i cant tell u what it was like because i fell asleep-much to the disgust of robin who thought it was fab!!,
A: Wouldn't take it so far, but there was definitely a fluttering of the eyelashes. But after listening to D on the phone to his one and only today, I'm pretty sure there's no risk of him straying. He was positively sweet with E. She's in Berlin and was obviously saying sweet nothings to him which he was answering as neutrally as he could with me listening in. Ahhhhh! You still haven't told me whether you're coming tomorrow. Not that it matters. If you haven't turned up by a certain time I'll drink the wine on my own! B: Ute...no-one can truly love a German- speaker… please don't quote me. (Ha ha ha.)
Same texts, different words First things first, I poppa, freaks all the honeys Dummies - playboy bunnies, those wantin' money Those the ones I like 'cause they don't get nathan' But penetration, unless it smells like sanitation Garbage, I turn like doorknobs Heart throb, never, black and ugly as ever However, I stay coochied down to the socks Rings and watch filled with rocks. As a general rule, I perform deviant sexual acts with women of all kinds, including but not limited to those with limited intellect, nude magazine models, and whores. I particularly enjoy sexual encounters with the latter group as they are generally disappointed in the fact that they only receive penile intercourse and nothing more, unless of course, they douche on a consistent basis. Although I am extremely unattractive, I am able to engage in these types of sexual acts with some regularity. Perhaps my sexuality is somehow related to my fancy and expensive jewelery.
Hybrid texts What kinds of text can be considered hybrid? What features of written language do they have? What features of spoken language do they have? Multimodality (e.g. this lecture)
Spoken vs Written Spoken texts often jointly constructed (only happens in published letters between correspondents) Written texts more planned, structured, grammatically correct, clear layout. Two or more people can shape spoken texts. Written texts shaped only by author(s) – though editors can have a say. (cfr newspaper)
Summing up – 1 Spoken language SPEAKER MESSAGE SUCCESSFULLY CONVEYED LANGUAGE SYSTEM PRONUNCIATION GRAMMAR VOCAB PARALANGUAGE VOICE FACE BODY WORLD/CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE (INCULDING PRAGMATICS) REASONING/ INTERPRETATION /INTENT
Summing up – 2 Written language WRITER MESSAGE SUCCESSFULLY CONVEYED LANGUAGE SYSTEM COHESIVE DEVICES GRAMMAR VOCAB PLANNING WORLD/CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE (INCULDING PRAGMATICS) OF SENDER & RECEIVER REASONING/ INTENT/PURPOSE/ FUNCTION
HOWEVER… How can we guarantee a text is interpreted how it is intended? i.e. does the discourse achieve its purpose?
Purpose and Achievement Which kinds of text, spoken or written do you think have more chance of being interpreted as intended, i.e. of achieving their purpose?
What is discourse to the discourse analyst? “So the term discourse is taken here to refer both to what a text producer meant by a text and what a text means to the receiver.” H.G. Widdowson, Discourse Analysis, p. 7, OUP, 2007
Primary and secondary purposes: written and spoken texts Depends on context and setting Target/audience/readership Perceptions of interlocuter/reader (nearly all texts have an informative function)
Can you identify the purpose of these texts and the context they might have occured in? As I think is made perfectly clear in your contract of employment, staff are expected to be fully dressed at all times.
2pkts Emmenthal cheese slices 14 cold new potatoes 2 Bloody Marys (count as food as contain Worcester sauce and tomatoes) 1/3 Ciabatta loaf with Brie coriander leaves – ½ packet 12 Milk Tray (best to get rid of all Christmas confectionery in one go and make fresh start tomorrow) 13 cocktail sticks securing chees and pineapple Portion […] turkey curry, peas and bananas Portion […] Raspberry Surprise made with Bourbon biscuits, tinned raspberries, eight gallons of whipped cream, decorated with glacé cherries and angelica.
Ten years ago people who cared about the environment were laughed at as sandal-wearing beardy-weirdies and now look at the power of the green consumer.
Drink more than fourteen alcohol units a week. Smoke. Spend more than earn. Fall for any of following: alcoholics, workaholics, commitment phobics, people with girlfriends or wives, misogynists, megalomaniacs, chauvinists, emotional fuckwits or freeloaders, perverts.
A:I’m not talking about a ventilating deconstructionalistic freshness of vision. I’m talking about the ultimate vandalisation of the cultural framework. […] What I mean is, if you’re taking that sort of cutesy morally relativistic, “Blind Date is brilliant” sort of line… B: I wasn’t, I just really like Blind Date
A brilliant comic creation. Even men will laugh.
Language and situation occur together The situation often dictates the language used, but the language used can shape the situation leading to an outcome/upshot.
outcome/upshot In other words - getting things done Speech act theory Locution Illocution Perlocution
Discourse and the foreign language learner Problems decoding and encoding Linguistic competence Encoding conventions Shared knowledge Sensitivity to social, not only linguistic, conventions Understanding ambiguity Communicative strategies
Understanding notices TOILET OUT OF ORDER. PLEASE USE FLOOR BELOW
Planning and Purpose Context and Audience Discourse
Conclusions? Just a simple reminder of where we started – with identifying what a text is. And to go back even further, we might mention that the very word text derives from the Latin texere, which means ‘to weave’. Indeed texts have to take into account a whole variety of things if they are to achieve a purpose. If the text is to be at all beautiful we need a degree of linguistic competence. However, if the text is to be considered ‘successful’ it should not only be well woven, but also serve its purpose. This relationship between form and function, text and context, is the main focus of discourse analysis.