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Narrative text type. Paola Catenaccio Lingua Inglese I (LIN) 2009-2010. Text linguistic practice. Consider the following two texts. No parking This is a school yard. Drivers should not park their vehicles here.

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Narrative text type

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Narrative text type

Narrative text type

Paola Catenaccio

Lingua Inglese I (LIN)


Text linguistic practice

Text linguistic practice

  • Consider the following two texts.

    • No parking

    • This is a school yard. Drivers should not park their vehicles here.

  • Which text is more appropriate to function as a street sign? What user-centred standards of textuality have influenced your choice?

Focus constructions in english and their functions

Focus constructions in English and their functions

Inversion: And then along comes Mary

Sentence type in which the logical subject appears in post-verbal position, while some other canonically post-verbal constituent appears in clause-initialposition. The fronting of a certain constituent (usually an adverbial/adjunct or complement) triggers subject-verb inversion.

  • Verbs in inversion

    • are copular or intransitive and express existence or appearance,

    • typically indicate position (be, stand, lie, sit, hang) or motion (come, go, fall, roll),

  • the fronted constituent has locative meaning and is usually an adverbial of place or direction, hence the term locative inversion.

    A preferred option in fiction due to its presentative, topic- and setting introducing function.

    • Relatively rare and strongly conditioned by context; least common in conversation and virtually restricted to the written mode, showing its highest frequency in journalistic writing and fiction as a device for the description of settings and for stylistic effects.

Examples of inversion

Examples of inversion

  • And certainly the atmosphere was less than festive in the headmaster's sitting-room. Near the fireplace a table had been installed, and on it placed two bottles. Behind the bottles stood Mrs Crumwallis - tall, bony, straggly of hair, the only memorable feature about her being her large, round, immensely thick-lensed glasses. (BNC H8Y: 73-75)

  • It was a pack of cards, walking through the garden. There were clubs (they were soldiers), and diamonds, and ten little children (they were hearts). Next came some Kings and Queens. Then Alice saw the White Rabbit, and behind him, the Knave of Hearts. And last of all, came THE KING AND QUEEN OF HEARTS. (BNC FNS: 399-403)

  • Jules Bellaire sat opposite Alice at a white, wrought-iron table on one of the large terraces outside the Château de St Denis. A sun umbrella sheltered them from the wan May sunshine. On the table lay several large swatches of fabrics which Jules had brought out from Paris for Alice's inspection. (BNC FS1: 591-593)

Narrative text type 1315648

Preposing (fronting): Mary her name was

  • Sentence type in which a canonically postverbal phrasal constituent appears in preverbal position.

  • Differs from inversion in structural terms in that the subject remains in preverbal position.

  • Not limited to the fronting of any particular phrasal category, but fronted objects and other nominals are most common, while AdjP preposing appears to be most constrained.

  • Linking function, relating the preposed element to the previous discourse, often by using anaphoric deictic markers such as this, that, these and such.

  • Echoing preceding information (esp. with fronted VPs), also used to convey a speaker's uncertainty or disbelief/doubt with respect to the link of the preposed constituent.

  • Expressing contrast (contrastive topicalization)

    • Often made explicit by the mentioning of both contrasted referents and the presence of connectives such as but.

    • Object-fronting is often chosen in contexts where there is a need to emphasize or contrast a discourse element.

Narrative text type 1315648

  • At the chilly boarding-school to which her parents sent her in the mistaken belief that she would be less lonely among girls of her own age, the prizes for mathematics - a subject which she didn't particularly care for but which came easily to her - were framed reproductions of the works of Italian painters. Duccios and Signorellis and Martinis hung by her bedside at a time when other girls pinned up Elvis and Cliff or even Paul Anka. Such pictures she always found calming to her nerves […] (BNC FB9: 74-76 )

  • Mrs Wilson had not died, but it was said she was very ill and was expected to die. And die she did. (BNC AC7: 1072-1073)

  • "He may be happy to see his father!" Ferdinando shouted. "He is my son and blood will tell. Now let me go." And off he galloped, with her watching until he was a speck on the horizon. (BNC ADS: 1296-1300)

  • "The land was ours by right." Jagatan raised himself on one elbow, and Burun guessed that he had been drinking for most of the afternoon. "I remember when we rode here, your father and I. Young and strong we were." (BNC FSE: 2890-2892)

Remember also

Remember also

  • Cleft and pseudo-cleft sentences

  • Anticipatory it/existential there  extraposed subjects/objects

    • That this will do any good is far from clear.

    • It is far from clear that this will do any good.

    • I found the problem difficult

    • I found it difficult to solve the problem

  • Passivisation

    • The company sacked 20 employees

    • Tewnty employees were sacked

Focus on information flow

Focus on information flow

Identify the information-packaging constructions in the following short texts and explain why the speaker/writer may have chosen these non-canonical constructions

  • Consider the following dialogue:

    • A: This has blown up into an enormous scandal. I hear that they’re going to fire the secretary of state.

    • B: No, it’s the secretary of defense who they want to fire, not the secretary of state.

Narrative text type 1315648

  • Just as she lit an old candle, there appeared a strange face in the window.

  • I work outside in the fresh air, which I really enjoy, and I don’t have anyone telling me what to do every minute. That I also like.

  • That night he was wakened in his blanket by the dark force of something he had heard and neglected to consider.

Focus on cohesion

Focus on cohesion

  • Lunch. The word – and the thing itself – cause endless trouble still in England at that join in the class pyramid where it is still called dinner. Any Englishman who does call lunch dinner indicates at once and for sure to any other Englishman that he hails from somewhere below the middle of the middle classes. The difficulty is relatively new in the long vista of English history, since the word till quite recently meant a snack between proper meals. There was a time when everyone in England who could afford to do so dined in the afternoon and supped in the evening. Then, with ease and affluence lunch began its metamorphosis to a meal in its own right. It is now a social divider of infinite power.

  • Comment on the following cohesive relations instantiated in the text

    • Reference (personal, demonstrative, comparative; anaphoric, cataphoric)

    • Substitution

    • Lexical cohesion (recurrence and hyponymy)

Descriptive texts produced by students 1

Descriptive texts produced by students (1)

  • One of the most beautiful places in the “fashion capital” is Sempione Park, which is situated in the very heart of Milan. Just behind the Sforzesco Castle, you’ll find this fantastic green island, in sharp contrast with the surrounding noisy roads and grey buildings. Here you can relax and forget about your everyday routine, immersed in the shade of tall and beautiful trees. As you walk one of the many winding paths, you can come across a nice still little lake with its pleasant freshness.

Descriptive texts produced by students 2

Descriptive texts produced by students (2)

  • Our university is placed in a wonderful and new-built area in Sesto San Giovanni. The construction was built in 2003 and it is massive and well-structured. It rose from the ruins of the ancient industrial past, to be ‘transformed’ into a bright, glassy, futuristic place where thousands of people meet in a multicultural environment.

Empire state building

Empire state building


Another narrative text

Another narrative text


Identifying features

Identifying features

  • Function?

  • Cognitive process involved?

  • Introduction?

  • Thematic text base?

  • Verbs? Tenses?

  • Sequence forms?

Introduction and thematic text base

Introduction and thematic text base

  • Situational introduction.

  • Our 200-year history is a story of innovation, popular global brands and the indispensible role that people play making a global company successful.

    It begins in the early 1800 hundreds, with an Englishman, William Colgate …

Sequence forms

Sequence forms

  • It begins in the early 1800 hundreds … At the time … In 1806 … From the beginning

Narrative text type 1315648

I first became interested in the study of aging, maturity and retirement more or less by accident. It was 1973, and I was 23, living and teaching at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. I was completing my doctorate and working on my first book, Bodymind. I was asked by Dr. Gay Luce, who was working on creating an innovative new human potential training program, if I’d be interested in partnering with her. I decided to move to Berkeley to join Dr. Luce in crafting this program. It was going to be a yearlong comprehensive holistic curriculum, very different from the weekend workshops and two-hour lectures that were becoming popular. Before it even got off the ground, it struck Gay that in our youth-focused culture, nobody was using any of these innovative therapeutic techniques with the elderly. She asked if I’d be open to joining her. As a young man in my early 20s, the idea of working with the elderly didn’t initially hold much charm for me. I liked being with people my own age and also doing programs for people in their 30s and 40s. I told Gay I would get the project started and then move on.

Narrative text type 1315648

  • Point of view?

  • Style?

  • Presentation?

Different ways of telling the same story

Different ways of telling the same story?

  • The Tenerife disaster

  • Report

  • Article 1

  • Article 2

Narrative text type 1315648

  • Focus?

  • Text structuring?

Point of view

Point of view



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