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Text Grammar

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Text Grammar

Text grammar is rather a new branch of linguistics. It deals with the text and considers it the Highest unit of speech. If we consider isolated sentences in a discourse, we find that it’s very rare that one sentence expresses the complete idea, which is clear without any context. Usually in order to make ourselves understood we have to produce a whole sequence of sentences which forms what is termed now a discourse – the process of communication, The sentence I’m sorry! Can’t be translated properly without a context. In fact we speak not in sentences but in texts. The problem of a good text goes back to old times, to ancient Greece (the 5th century BC), when a lot books on rhetoric were written.

The text is a sequence of  linguistic units joined together by semantic connections and characterized by integrity, wholeness and cohesion.

According to R. De Beaugrande and W. Dressler the text is a communicative occurrence which meets seven standards of textuality, namely cohesion and coherence, intentionality, acceptability, informalitivity, situationality, and intertextuality. Cohesion is the main text property concerning the surface structure of the text. It is the connection of text components on the basis of grammatical rules and relations. The standard example of cohesion is the relations between the pronoun and its antecedent, e.g. We are passing a film poster and he said, “That’s a good film: Have you seen it?

There are the following means of cohesion in English: parenthesis, word order, the use of articles and pronouns, forms of the verb, ellipsis, recurrence, coordinating conjunctions.

     Coherence concerns the deep structure of the text. It is the temporal and spatial continuity of events. It encloses meaningful and cognitive relations in the text. The following text can’t be considered coherent, though the cohesion is present here.

It was dark and the sun was shining brightly. An old woman of 16 was sitting next to him. She was reading a book.

          Intentionality defines as the intention of the text maker to build up a cohesive and coherent text and achieve some definite communicative purpose.

          The term acceptability as well as intentionality has come from the speech-act theory and defines as the expectation of the recipient to get a cohesive and coherent text appropriate in definite communicative situations.

          Informativity expresses the theme of the text, the new and unexpected information for the text comprehender.

         Situationality reflects the factors which make the text relevant and actual for a definite communicative situation. Having come to the lecture on Theoretical Grammar the students don’t expect to listen to the problems of nuclear   physics.

      Intertextuality reflects the correlation of the text with a definite type of text and the correlation with other texts. In the first case we deal with the typical, formal features of a particular text, for example an interview, a report, etc. In the second case intertextuality presents the pariphrasis of famous saying and proverbs, titles of the books, etc. E.g. the transformation of W. Shakespeare’s “Much Ado about Nothing” into Much ado about bluffing. (Economist, April 13, 2002) Много шума из блефа, or the transformation of “The barking dog never bites” into Europe barks. But does it bite? (Economist, January 11, 2003) or Кто сеет ветер, пожнет бурю – Кто посеет насилие, тот не должен удивляться, если при сборе урожая он получит разок по морде. (Торстен Kапелле “Rettem dem Dativ!” – “Спасите дательному падежу!” – сборник надписей немецких студентов на столах и стенах аудиторий в университетах. Capelle, 1983).

         Prof. Galperin defines the text as a complete speech act, which is characterized by six standards: completeness (logical and semantic0, written form, abstract model, delimitation into title and SPU/s, cohesion, and communicative intention.

According to Prof. Moskalskaya there are two basic units above the sentence: the supra-phrasal unity (a microtext) and the speech unity (a macrotext).

SPU is a grammatically organized sequence of sentences forming a textual unity. The close connection between the constituents of the text (coherence) is manifested in its semantic, communicative and structural integrity.

      The semantic integrity concerns the theme of the text, its meaningful centre. The transition from one theme to another denotes the beginning of a new SPU.

      The communicative integrity presents the theme-rheme sequence of the text. Each subsequent sentence in the SPU is based on the previous one moving forward from the known information to the new, unknown one. There are several models of the theme-rheme structure in a SPU.

The structural integrity reflects the grammatical connections between the sentences, the cohesion of the text. Speaking about the cohesion of the text we should mention two types of relations in the text: anaphoric and cataphoric.

Cataphoric or prospective relations are effected by connective elements that relate a given sentence to one that is to follow it. In other words, a prospective Cataphoric connector signals a continuation of speech as in the house that jack built where the refers forward to the specifying that Jack built.

e.g. In analyzing a novel, we note a number of basic elements which the author has developed in his narrative. The elements are theme, plot, characterization, setting and conflict. (forward reference)

Anaphoric or retrospective relations are effected by connective elements that relate a given sentence to the one that precedes it and is semantically complete by itself e.g. Jack built a house. It  was large, where it refers back to the house.

In the printed text, the supra-phrasal unity very often coincides with the paragraph. The paragraph (episode) is a stretch of written (printed) liyerary text delimited by a new line at the beginning. In typical narrative discourse, major changes in time, place, or characters correspond to paragraph (episode) boundaries though they do not themselves represent such boundaries. The paragraph is also used for the introduction of utterances of a dialogue, as well as for the introduction of separite points in varibus enumerations.

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Exam Questions. The Subject of Theoretical Grammar. Syntagmatic relations. Segmental units. History of English Grammars. Parts of speech. The noun as a part of speech.

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Exam Questions. The Subject of Theoretical Grammar. Syntagmatic relations. Segmental units. History of English Grammars. Parts of speech. The noun as a part of speech.

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