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Presentation on theme: "Academic year 2012-2013 Degree course: CDL IN SCIENZE DELLA COMUNICAZIONE Dr Luisella Leonzini LINGUISTIC TOOLS FOR INTERPRETING TEXTS."— Presentation transcript:



3 COMMUNICATION AS A SOCIAL ACTION Language is a continuous process of choice among the various options offered by the system network, the co- patterning of which realises a given kind of meaning rather than another. Language is a system of meaning options which are activated according to functional critera Language is a social and cultural construct

4 The elements which make up any act of communication ADDRESSER: who organises the message ADDRESSEE : to whom the message is addressed SETTING : the context in which communication takes place MESSAGE : the form communication takes and the information it carries CONTACT : the medium (spoken, written, written to be spoken), the channel (phonological, graphological) the psychological connection between the addressor and the addressee while communicating CODE : the language used while communicating

5 WHAT IS A TEXT ? a sequence of words/sentences that hold together as a semantic and a communicative unit which makes sense a network of meaningful relations which occur in a contextual situation

6 TEXT FEATURES: FIELD, TENOR, MODE FIELD (WHAT) refers to what is happening : the social action TENOR (WHO) refers to who is taking part and how they relate among each other: the participants MODE (HOW) refers to what part the language is playing: the symbolic organization of the text (its status, its function in the context, the channel, the rhetorical mode)

7 THE CONTEXT OF SITUATION What precedes the text The situation which comes before the text The immediate environment in which a text has a meaning within a set of circumstances such as time, place and purpose

8 Functional organization of Language 1.Ideational :Experiential (doing and happening involving the participants) Logical (logical sequence of the doings and happenings) 1.Interpresonal (interaction and posisition of addresser and addressee) 1.Textual (informational and thematic structure)

9 IDEATIONAL FUNCTION 1. IDEATIONAL : it transmits information between members of society, it expresses the speaker’s experience of the external world and the internal world. It expresses the field, the action and the process/es (transitive structure) Language as a representation Participants Process/es circumstances

10 IDEATIONAL FUNCTION: PROCESSES MATERIAL PROCESS PARTICIPANTS: ACTOR, GOAL, BENEFICIARY Actor: logical subject Goal: to whom the action is directed MATERIAL PROCESS: act of doing, both transitive and intransitive Ex: 1.the boy (actor) kicked (m.p.) the ball (goal) 2.The mouse (actor) ran up (m.p.) the clock (goal) 3.She (actor) gave (m.p.) me (beneficiary) a gift (goal)

11 IDEATIONAL FUNCTION: PROCESSES MENTAL PROCESS PARTICIPANTS: SENSER and PHENOMENON senser: who feels/thinks,/perceives phenomeon: whatis felt/thought/perceived MENTAL PROCESS: act of sensing (perceiving, affecting, cognition) Ex: 1.Perception: He(senser) heard her singing(phenomonon) 1.Affection: My sister (senser) liked (mental/affectio p.) the gift (phenomeon) 1.Cognition: He (senser) believed her story (phenomenon)

12 IDEATIONAL FUNCTION: PROCESSES RELATIONAL PROCESS 1. PARTICIPANTS: CARRIER and ATTRIBUTE; IDENTIFIER and IDENTIFIED; 2. RELATIONAL PROCESS: act of being 2.1 INTENSIVE (attributive/identifying): X is A 2.2 CIRCUMSTANTIAL (attributive/identifying): X is at A 2.3 POSSESSIVE (attributive/identifying): X has A

13 IDEATIONAL FUNCTION: PROCESSES RELATIONAL PROCESS 2.1 INTENSIVE: relation of sameness, X is A Ex. 1.Intensive attributive( A as an attribute of X) : Sara (carrier) is wise (attribute, she is a member of the class of wise people) 2.Intensive Identifying ( A as the identity of X): Elizabeth II (identified) is the Queen of England (identifier)

14 IDEATIONAL FUNCTION: PROCESSES RELATIONAL PROCESS 2.2 CIRCUMSTANTIAL: X is at A Ex. 1.Attributive: The party( carrier) is on Friday (circumstance) 2.Identifying: Tomorrow (identified) is the 29 th April 2011 (identifier)

15 IDEATIONAL FUNCTION: PROCESSES RELATIONAL PROCESS 2.3 POSSESSIVE: X has A Ex. 1.Attributive: Sara (carrier/possessor) has (r.p.) a piano(attribute/thing possessed) 1.Identifying: The piano (identified/thing possessed) is ( r.p.) Sara’s (Identifier)

16 IDEATIONAL FUNCTION: PROCESSES VERBAL PROCESS PARTICIPANTS: SAYER, RECEIVER, TARGET, VERBIAGE VERBAL PROCESS: process of saying Ex. 1.He (sayer) told (v. p.) me (receiver) the truth (verbiage) 2.He (sayer) blamed (v.p.) his sister (target) for the loss (circumstance of reason) 1.He (sayer) spoke (v.p.) as Chairman of the committee (circumstance of role)

17 IDEATIONAL FUNCTION: PROCESSES BEHAVIOURAL PROCESS PARTICIPANTS: BEHAVER VERBAL PROCESS: process of behaving Ex. She (behaver) is weeping (b.p.) for him (beneficiary)

18 IDEATIONAL FUNCTION: PROCESSES EXISTENTIAL PROCESS PARTICIPANTS: EXISTENT VERBAL PROCESS: process of existing/happening Ex. 1.There was a storm (existent event) 2.There is a man at the door (existent entity)

19 IDEATIONAL FUNCTION OTHER PARTICIPANTS PARTICIPANTS: BENEFICIARY someone for whom the process is said to take Place ex.: 1.She sent her best wishes to John 2.He is doing all this for his mother 3.The hotel charged me 10 euro for the call 4.I was charged 10 euro for the call

20 IDEATIONAL FUNCTION OTHER PARTICIPANTS PARTICIPANTS: RANGE the range/scope of the process ex.: 1. They are playing to win 2. She is playing tennis

21 IDEATIONAL FUNCTION CIRCUMSTANCES EXTENT: Spatial: I run 10 km a day temporal: she plays the piano two hours a day LOCATION: Place: she is sleeping in the living room) time: He starts his course at 10 o’clock MANNER: means, quality, comparison Means: I travel by train, she did it by chance Quality: it rained heavily, she spoke quickly Comparison: it went through my head like an earthquake

22 LANGUAGE FUNCTIONS CIRCUMSTANCES CAUSE: reason, purpose, behalf Reason: They die of starvation Purpose: She did it in the hope to please him Behalf: I am writing on behalf of my mother Lucia ACCOMPANIMENT: She went to the cinema with/without Mary MATTER: They are talking about the weather ROLE: I am saying that as a friend

23 INTERPERSONAL FUNCTION 2. INTERPERSONAL : it expresses, establishes, and maintains relations between the members of society, it implies interaction. It expresses the tenor Language as an exchange (giving, receiving; demanding, responding)

24 INTERPERSONAL FUNCTION THE PRIMARY 4 SPEECH FUNCTIONS: 1.OFFER (would you like a cup of tea?) 1.COMMAND (Give me a cup of coffee) 1.STATEMENT (I have just had a cup of coffee) 1.QUESTION (have you had your breakfast yet?)

25 INTERPERSONAL FUNCTION MOOD: 1.SUBJECT (nominal group) 1.FINITE part of a verbal group: tense (is), modality (must) 1.RESIDUE the remainder of the clause Predicator: verbal group minus temporal/modal operator Complement: nominal group Adjunct: adverbial/prepositional group

26 INTERPERSONAL FUNCTION EX: 1. Prince William is (mood) marrying to Kate tomorrow (residue). Mood: Prince William (subject), is (finite) Residue: marrying (predicator), to Kate (complement), tomorrow (adjunct) 2. The article has already (mood) been written on (residue) Mood: the article (subject), has (finite), already (adjunct) Residue: been written (predicator) on (adjunct)

27 TEXTUAL FUNCTION 3. TEXTUAL : it expresses cohesion and coherence in a text, it is concerned with how information is distributed in the text. It expresses the mode, the way the message is organised and developed: 1. theme-rheme 2. given/new Language as a message

28 TEXTUAL FUNCTION THEME: point of department of a message 1.MARKED THEME: it does not correspond to the subject 2.UNMARKED THEME: it correspond to the subject RHEME: the remainder of the message, the part in which the theme is developed ex.: 1. Who (unmarked theme) killed Oscar? (rheme) 2. How many times( marked theme) have you been to NY? (rheme) 3. After lunch (marked theme) will please help me with the laundry? (rheme)

29 WHAT IS COHERENCE? when a text is semantically set up it is coherent it concerns the ways in which the components of the textual world, which underlie the surface of the texts, are mutually accessible and relevant.

30 WHAT IS COHESION? when a text is linguistically (lexicogrammatically) organised it is cohesive

31 TEXTUAL COHESION AND TIES A text is a continuous sequence of individual messages, any message is composed of items which relate with each other. This kind of relation is semantic and build up ties. A Ties are relations between items occurring within a message (item A and item B semantic relation) 1.CO-REFERENTIALITY 1.CO-REFERENTIALITY: situational identity Ex: Maria is an Italian student, she is from Naples. 1.CO-CLASSIFICATION 1.CO-CLASSIFICATION : different situational event Ex: Michael works at the university, Mark does it too 1.CO-EXTENSION 1.CO-EXTENSION : the same field of meaning Ex: She has bought a new pair of black shoes, tomorrow she will probably buy a pair of blue ones

32 TEXTUAL COHESION AND COHESIVE DEVICES Cohesive devices make up cohesive ties, they build up relations both within the text (co-text) and outside the text (context). They may be: ENDOPHORIC (when the source lies within the co-text) 1.anaphoric (when the encoding device comes after the source) ex.: My mother retired a couples of years ago, she is very happy now. 2.cataphoric (when the IED precedes its linguistic referent) Ex: I will tell you something new: John and Clarissa have left Italy forever. EXOPHORIC (when the source lies outside the text)


34 COHESION: GRAMMATICAL COHESIVE DEVICES 1.REFERENCE ( co-referentiality) Personal reference : pronominals, possessives Demonstrative reference: articles and demonstratives Relative reference: relatives Comparative reference: comparatives 2. SUBSTITUTION (co-classification) Nominal substitution ( old man > one) Verbal substitution (works > does) Clausal substitution (they told him the truth, I suppose so) 3. ELLIPSIS (omission of noun, verb, clause)

35 COHESION :GRAMMATICAL COHESIVE DEVICES 4. CONJUNCTION (logico-semantic relation) Additive : and, or, nor, furthermore, in addition, for instance, thus, on the other hand Adversative : but, though, yet, nevertheless, however, actually, instead Casual : because, for this reason, thus Temporal : after, finally, at last, in the end, then

36 COHESION: LEXICAL COHESIVE DEVICES 1. REITERATION (identity or relatedness of reference) a. repetition ( the same word is repeated) b. variation (synonymy, antonymy, meronymy, hyponymy)

37 COHESION: COHESIVE DEVICES 2. STRUCTURAL COHESIVE DEVICES a. PARALLELISM: the repetition of grammatical structures b. THEME/RHEME development theme the psychological subject, the point of departure, what the writer is going to deal with rheme how the theme is developed c. GIVEN/NEW organization given is common ground, information recoverable from the text new new information/elements

38 COHESION: ORGANIC RELATIONS 1. GRAMMATICAL a. conjunctives (casual, concessive, etc) b. adjacency pairs ( question/answer; offer/acceptance; request/compliance) 2. CONTINUATIVES a. conjunctions, adverbs, prepositional phrases (cause, effect, condition, concession, comparison, contrast)


40 CLAUSE RELATION  PARATAXIS: The organization of clauses into related units of equal status (coordination) ex: 1. Mary came and asked John about his mother 2. The teacher entered and gave us the test results.

41 CLAUSE RELATION  HYPOTAXIS: The organization of clauses into main and subordinate structural and semantic units (subordination). The subordinate, or secondary elements are dependent on the main clause. Ex:  A few of those of us who’d got the requisites five passes (relative) were encouraged (main clause) to take A-level (final clause)  One or two dropped out (main clause) because of the sheer gap between the knowledge (causative) we’d been able to store up at school (relative) …

42 CLAUSE RELATION: LOGICO-SEMANTIC RELATION 1. EXPANSION it occurs when the secondary clause expands the primary clause by ELABORATING: EXTENDING ENHANCING

43 CLAUSE RELATION: LOGICO-SEMANTIC RELATION  ELABORATION (elaborating, restating in other words, specifying in greater details, commenting, exemplifying) Ex: 1. They ‘d gone on French exchanges and other foreign trips; they’d gone to the RSC at Stratford; they’d gone on outward-bound courses and done the Duke of Edinburgh award.

44 CLAUSE RELATION: LOGICO-SEMANTIC RELATION  EXTENSION (expanding, extending, adding information) Ex: 1. ….a man in late middle age with whom I’d barley exchanged greetings (hypotactic extension) 2. …burst into an unfettered grin and gave me a bear hug 3. But it wasn’t obvious to me until long after…

45 CLAUSE RELATION: LOGICO-SEMANTIC RELATION  ENHANCEMENT (embellishing and qualifying with some circumstantial features of time, place, cause or condition) Ex: 1. So when someone pipes up this week to say (hypotactic enhancement) 2. Whether this is caused by myopia … (hypotactic enhancement) 3. It’s not that grammar school should be abolished; it’s that every school should be a grammar school ….(paratactic enhancement)

46 CLAUSE RELATION: LOGICO-SEMANTIC RELATION PROJECTION: LOCUTION, IDEA 1. Locution (projecting one clause through another as a locution) Ex: 1.Mark said: I’m leaving tomorrow 2.Mark said he was leaving the following day 2. Idea (projecting one clause through another as an idea) Ex: 1.Mark thought to himself: I will leave Italy 2. Mark thought to himself he would leave Italy

47 COHESION AND COHESIVE CHAINS What is a chain? A chain is a repetition of cohesive links throughout the text  We can deal with: IDENTITY CHAINS SIMILARITY CHAINS

48 COHESION AND COHESIVE CHAINS o Identity chain: It has the same referent Ex: a man, his, he, the president, etc o Similarity chain: It refers to similar things/person (semantic filed) Ex: 1. head teacher, GCSE, top grade results, exams, teachers; 2. Evaluation, assess, test, interview, exam, graduation,

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