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Written Discourse

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  1. Written Discourse • Different demands placed on the speaker compared to spoken language: • Take time to write • Choose a particular word • Go through over what has been written • Check progress Why? – to ensure that sentences are well formed.

  2. Teaching writing in the classroom • Process writing – help students to develop self-monitoring technique when they write. • 1. raise students’ awareness of the difference between speaking and writing. • 2. cohesive devices need to be develop in parts • 3. make students write pieces of writing – teach them to use the devices in every piece of their writing • 4. put the different process together and make students write a coherent piece of written text. • Care must be taken to prevent students from searching for an easy system which will enable them to automatically write good English without cognitive thought. Such an attitude would certainly cripple the impetus launched by written discourse analysis.

  3. Speech and Writing

  4. Cont.

  5. Cont. • McCarthy (1993) - written discourse analysis is not a new method for teaching languages. Rather, it is " . . . a fundamentally different way of looking at language compared with sentence-dominated models" (p. 170). • Written text conforms to rules that most successful writers unconsciously follow and native readers unconsciously expect to find. • By studying the textual and lexical elements of these texts, one can learn to regularly recognize the overall structure of a text.

  6. Cont. • Biber and Finegan (1989) distinguish written from spoken features: • Informational vs production • Elaborated vs situation-dependent reference • 3. abstract vs non-abstract But these are not absolute tendencies – use of IT – emails, sms?? A drift towards spoken language (written in the ‘orate’ mode)

  7. Cont. • Written text may encode a high degree of shared knowledge between reader and writer. • Dear Simon, • Thanks for your letter and the papers. I too was sorry we didn’t get the chance to continue our conversation on the train. My journey wasn’t so bad and I got back about 9. • - references are made to another text shared by the writer and the reader – ‘your letter and papers’, ‘the train’ (exophoric reference), ‘our conversation’. • The degree of implicitness and explicitness will depend on what is being communicated and to whom.

  8. TEXT • Actual use of language/product of language use • Language produced for communicative purpose • Identification & interpretation • Language & context – important to understand the context. • E.g: • KEEP OF THE GRASS! • WET PAINT! • WARNING!

  9. The examples showed: Written text – a match between communicative purposes of text (to get a message across, to express ideas & beliefs, to explain, etc) with its interpretation. What a text producer meant by a text and what a text means to a receiver.

  10. Features of text structure • How written discourse analysis can identify larger text structures and other pertinent discourse features in a text. • What makes any length of text meaningful and coherent has been termed texture. • Texture is the basis for unity and semantic interdependence within text and a text without texture would just be a group of isolated sentences with no relationship to one another.

  11. Grammatical cohesion • Coherence - contextual meaning, at the paragraph level. • Cohesion - the internal properties of meaning. relates to the “semantic ties” within text whereby a tie is made when there is some dependent link between items that combine to create meaning. • Therefore, texture is created within text when there are properties of coherence and cohesion.

  12. Coherence • E.g: label on aspirin bottles • WARNING: keep this and all medication out of reach of children. As with any drug, if you are pregnant or nursing a baby, seek the advice of a health professional before using this product. In the case of accidental over-dosage, contact a physician or poison control center immediately.

  13. Cont. • Is the text coherent? • Prior experience – drugs are bad for children and pregnant woman or nursing mothers. • Prior texts – the word WARNING.What conclusion can you draw from the word? • Purpose – reader - warn, inform • - company – avoid lawsuit • Conditions of product – image of reader as intelligent • The last two are the legal aspects and commercial interests – common corporate culture • The ability of the reader to interpret the text shows the degree of coherence of the text – dependent on the context of the event/text.

  14. Cont. • A text can be cohesive but incoherent. • The process may seem complicated but actually it is not really so, as long as you prepare things in advance and know what has to be done in order. You need to read the manual carefully to ensure that the final result is as expected. COMPARE WITH THIS We spent our holidays in Sabah. The beaches there are beautiful. We stayed at a hotel by the beach. This is a state where you can get fresh fruits. Fruit contain vitamins and these are essential for a healthy life. So is regular exercise, like jogging. Try to exercise every day.

  15. Cohesion • The concept of cohesion in text is related to semantic ties or “relations of meanings that exist within the text, and that define it as a text”. • Within text, if a previously mentioned item is referred to again and is dependent upon another element, it is considered a tie. Without semantic ties, sentences or utterances would seem to lack any type of relationship to each other and might not be considered text. • E.g: “Wash and core six cooking apples. Put them into a fireproof dish.” • ‘them’ ? - presupposes “apples”. The pronoun ‘them’ provides a semantic tie between the two sentences, thus creating cohesion. • Cohesion creates interdependency in text.

  16. Lexical Cohesion • Lexical cohesion differs from the other cohesive elements in text in that it is non-grammatical. Lexical cohesion refers to the “cohesive effect achieved by the selection of vocabulary”. 2 basic categories of lexical cohesion - (1) reiteration and (2) collocation. • Reiteration - repetition of a lexical item, either directly or through the use of a synonym, a superordinate or a generally related word. There was a fine old rocking chair that his father used to sit in, a desk where he wrote letters, a nest of small tables and a dark imposing bookcase. Now all his furniture is to be sold, and with it, his own past.

  17. Cont. • Collocation - lexical items that are likely to be found together within the same text. Collocation occurs when a pair of words are not necessarily dependent upon the same semantic relationship but rather they tend to occur within the same lexical environment. After World War II, Europe’s agricultural sector radically reformed by modernizing, mechanizing and enlarging farms. The change meant a drastic reduction in the need for semiskilled agricultural labor and triggered a mass migration to Europe’s cities. Forty years ago one in five people of Europe’s labor force worked the land. Today farmers and farm laborers make up a scant 5 percent of the European Union’s work force.

  18. Referencing • Referencing - to retrieve presupposed information in text and must be identifiable for it to be considered as cohesive. • Referencing - indicates how the writer introduces participants and keeps track of them throughout the text. • Types of referencing: • i. Exophoric referencing- refers to information from the immediate context of situation. The schoolmaster was leaving the village, and everybody seemed sorry. The miller at Crescombe lent him the small white tilted cart and horse to carry his goods to the city of his destination, about twenty miles off. The size of the vehicle proved quite sufficient for the departing teacher to carry his valuables and things. Schoolmaster, village? – the writer expects the reader to share a world with him independent of the text, whereby references are assumed.

  19. Cont. • ii. Endophoric referencing (anaphoric & cataphoric)- refers to information that can be “retrieved” from within the text. • Anaphoric - refers to any reference that “points backwards” to previously mentioned information in text. The newer sounds came after American sculptor Peter Rockwell bought a few 14th-century stone houses abandoned by farmers after World War II. With his wife Cynthia and four children, the Rome-based artist started to fix them up as a place for vacations.

  20. Cont. • Cataphoric- refers to any reference that “points forward” to information that will be presented later in the text. • It’s as certain as death and taxes. Presidents have periods of popularity and then periods of not so much. There are more than tough periods than honeymoons for them. Now all eyes are on the current President of the U.S.A. Barrack Obama, his honeymoon with the U.S. public is seemingly on the wane.

  21. Grammatical cohesion: Ellipsis and Substitution • Ellipsis - something is left “unsaid” in the passage and the reader must supply the missing information. It is a type of ‘missing element’ . It occurs more often in spoken conversation. • In the last eight months four high-tech companies have moved from Paris to “The Green Desert,” lured by cheap rents and lovely countryside. Local employees who don’t want to leave the region have a vested interest in the business’s success. “local employees” - refers to the employees of the four high tech companies.

  22. Cont. • Substitution - the substituted item maintains the same structural function as the presupposed item. • 3 types of classification are: • (1) nominal, (2) verbal and (3) clausal. • In nominal substitution, the most typical substitution words are “one” and ones” and they substitute nouns. • In verbal substitution, the most common substitute is the verb “do” and is sometimes used in conjunction with “so” as in “do so” and substitute verbs. • In clausal substitution, an entire clause is substituted.

  23. Cont. • I went to lock the gate. When I got there, I found that somebody had already done so. • “The Germans in Horioudaki have asked that the church bells stop ringing so early in the morning,” complains one Mani resident. “They can do that because they’re all German.” • Both subsitution and ellipsis can only be used when there is no ambiguity as to what is being subsititutedor ellipted. • Antique desk for sale. Suitable for ladies with thick legs and large drawers. • Fur coats made for ladies from their own skin. • FOR SALE. Very unique home in downtown Los Angeles. Large lot. Many trees. One you will enjoy living in.

  24. Patterns in text • Clause-relation – there is a wide variety of patterns which regularly occur in text. • (1) Most people like to take a camera with them when they travel abroad. (2) But all airports nowadays have x-ray security screening and x rays can damage film. (3) One solution to this problem is to purchase a specially designed lead-line pouch. (4) These are cheap and can protect film from all but the strongest x-ray. • S1: a situation • S2: problem • S3: response to the problem • S4: solution to the problem/conclusion. • Problem-solution pattern.

  25. Cont. • Question-answer pattern – advertisement selling a product/service. • (1) Worry about thinning hair? (2) Worry no more. Svenson team of professional hair experts are here to help you (3) Contact us today at 03-8888456 for free consultation. • General-specific pattern – manual, description of an object, property. • general statement general statement • specific statement 1 specific statement • specific statement 2 even more specific • specific statement 3 even more specific

  26. Cont. • (1) The house is perched atop of the hill. (2) On the left side of the house, is the living quarters of the residents. (3) On the right side of the house is the living quarters of the servants. (4) The well tendered and kep garden opens up at the back potion of the house…

  27. Cont. • Latvia, Riga , Riga, Old Town; Vecpilsetas street • (1) For sale 5-rooms apartment in prewar building in the Old Town. There are 143 sq.m. + 60 sq.m. terrace. (2) The repairs are minimal. (3) The apartment is furnished. (4) There is a good planning - 3 separated bedrooms, wide living room, which is joint with dining room and fully equipped kitchen. (5) There are 2 bathrooms with bath and shower, and heated floors. (6) The heating is central. (7) There is the boiler for hot water heating. (8) There is a big terrace on the roof with the fantastic view over the city.

  28. Cont. • (1) In engineering jargon there is a phenomenon known as N.V.H. (2) It stands for noise, vibration and harshness. • (3)You can easily tell how badly your car suffers from N.V.H. by the volume you have to play your radio and the way that you feel after a long journey. (4) It’s very tiring. (5) The rudimentary cure is to fill the car with sound deadening material. (6) Everybody does this to some extent, even Ford. • (7) But we believe that prevention is better than cure. (8) After all, with the technology that we have at our disposal, there are more scientific ways of reducing N.V.H. (9) We have a room at the Ford design and development center which is known as the anechoic chamber. (10) It’s here that our engineers explore new techniques in sound proofing. • (11) The result is a car that never feels as if it’s trying. (12) With the smooth engine and round independent suspension, the performance is effortless.

  29. Tutorial task • Task 1 • Read carefully the following 2 texts. • Analyse the textual features presented in the lecture.

  30. Text 1 • Elk Island National park is an island, not in the geographical sense, but in terms of its landscape of small hills and depressions surrounded by flat plains, and by virtue of its purpose, to create a fenced refuge for the protection and preservation of 3000 head of hoofed mammals, one of the highest concentrations of big game animals world. It was the first federally controlled area in Canada to be enclosed to protect a native mammal, the elk, and also the first large mammal sanctuary established in Canada. Set in the Beaver Hills, 45 kilometres east of Edmonton, Alberta, its 194 square kilometres rises 60 metres above the surrounding prairie, an oasis of boreal mixed forest and aspen parkland vegetation. It is also an island of protection for the heritage resources within its boundaries, and an island of tranquility for the 350 000 – 400 000 visitors who each year approach the park as a destination for nature and wildlife viewing.

  31. Texts 2 • During the summer, my sister and I milked the cows, but now that school has started, my father milks the cows in the morning, and us at night. • Mrs McAllister watched as the giant airplane taxied out of the gate. Then like some wild beast she pointed her nose down the runway and screamed terrifically into the sky. • Please place your garbage in this barrel. It will be here weekends for use. • Recent visitors were Jonathan Goldings and their in-laws the Brett Packards, from Lake Placid, N.Y. Brett had his tonsils removed in Centerville. It was a pleasant surprise to have them for supper.

  32. Texts 3 • The patrons at the Blue Cuck café overlooking Perth’s Cottesloe Beach were drinking coffee and having breakfast as the early morning swimmers splashed about just off shore. • Kim Gamble, owner of the café-a favourite spot of the city’s business and political elite-was doing his paperwork on the balcony. • Suddenly, as he and his customers watched in horror, a five metre white pointer shark ploughed into a group of swimmers, tearing one man’s leg off and leaving him to die, and then chased one of his companions towards the beach. • “From the balcony I could see this huge shark-it was really huge”, a shaken Mr Gamble said soon after the attack. “There was a whole sea of blood and it was pulling the person”.