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LECTURE IX. SUPRA-SENTENTIAL CONSTRUCTIONS. CONNECTIONS OF SENTENCES IN THE TEXT

The sentence is not the top-level in the language structure.

The text is studied in linguistics as any passage, spoken or written, of whatever length, that forms a unified whole. This unity is achieved by many types of links between sentences in a text.

The text is a semantic unity characterized by cohesion (relations of meaning that exist within the text) expressed by different language means:

(1) Cohesion in the semantic context (general text meaning, text topic) is achieved through types of theme and rheme progression. The theme and the rheme (focus) may be arranged like a chain (example a), or in a radial way (example b), or both ways are combined.

E.g.  (a) Once there lived (T1) a man (R1). He (T2) lived in a hut(R2). The hut (T3)(was near the forest (R3).

T1 → R1. → T2  → R2.  → T3 →  R3.

(b) Tim is a studentHe lives in BostonHe has a sister.

T1 → R1. T1 → R2. T1 → R3.

(2) Lexical cohesion is relationships between sentences which are shown through their vocabulary, equivalence in lexical items:

  • Repetition of words and phrases;
  • Use of synonyms and near-synonyms;
  • Use of general words;
  • Use of antonyms;
  • Use of collocations (relationships established in the context, factual knowledge, pre-supposition.

(3) Grammatical (syntactic) cohesion is achieved by deictic means (correlative pro-forms) and syntactic devices (conjunctions, connectives etc.), for example:

  • Logical connectors (many of them are the same as the connectors between clauses)
    • enumeration: first, to begin with, finally…
    • addition: and, also, equally …
    • transition: now, to turn to …
    • summation: all in all,
    • result: as a result …
    • contrast: on the contrary …
  • Place relaters (here, there, where … );
  • Tense use (sequence of tenses);
  • Time-relaters (earlier, former, previous, already, before …);
  • comparison;
  • parallel constructions;
  • ellipsis in dialogues ;
  • substitution (deictic means):
    • for noun phrases: all, any, both, the same
    • for adverbs: here, there, it …
    • for predicate: auxiliaries

Note: A deictic expression (or deixis) is a word or phrase (such as this, that, these, those, now, then) that points to the time, place, or situation in which a speaker is speaking. Deixis is reference by means of an expression whose interpretation is relative to the (usually) extralinguistic context of the utterance, such as

  • who is speaking (person deixis; any expression pointing to a person)
  • the time or place of speaking (time and space deixis; expressions pointing to time and location)
  • the gestures of the speaker, or
  • the current location in the discourse (discourse deixis)

deixis

Text analysis example

Try to make the Visitor Center your first stop at any park. There you will find information on attractions, facilities, and activities such as scenic drives, nature trails, and historic tours. Descriptive films, literature, and exhibits will acquaint you with the geology, history, and plant and animal life of the area. The park staff will answer questions about accommodations, services, and the attractions. Most of the parks described in this book do not offer meals and lodging. Many parks can provide assistance for those who have visual, auditory, or other physical limitations. Most have parking lots, restrooms, and other features that are accessible to disabled persons. If accessibility is important to you, however, inquire in advance.

Analysis: This text is characterized by specific thematic and rhematic distribution as the narration progresses. Besides, the links between the sentences are provided by:

  • Repetition of words and phrases (attractions, parks)
  • Use of synonyms and near-synonyms (acquaint, answer questions about, provide assistance; those who have visual, auditory, or other physical limitations—disabled persons )
  • Use of general words which are further specified (attractions, facilities, activities…)
  • Place relaters (There ) Substitution (Most have…) etc.[/su_list]Repetition of words and phrases (attractions, parks)
  • Use of synonyms and near-synonyms (acquaint, answer questions about, provide assistance; those who have visual, auditory, or otherphysical limitations—disabled persons )
  • Use of general words which are further specified (attractions, facilities, activities…)
  • Place relaters (There )
  • Substitution (Most have…) etc.