Grammar of the Text: its Basic Units and Main Features (based on the novel by David Nicholls "One Day")

Text and its grammatical characteristics. Analyzing the structure of the text. Internal and external functions, according to the principals of text linguistics. Grammatical analysis of the text (practical part based on the novel "One day" by D. Nicholls).

06.03.2015

Term paper:

"Grammar of the Text: its Basic Units and Main Features" (based on the novel by David Nicholls "One Day")"

Moscow, 2013

Content

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1. Text and its Grammatical Characteristics
  • 1.1 What the Text is
  • 1.2 Basic Units of the Text
  • 1.3 Main Features of the Text
  • 1.4 Text Cohesion
  • 1.5 Text Coherence
  • 1.6 Text and Discourse
  • Summary of Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2. Grammatical Analysis of the Text (practical part based on the novel "One day" by David Nicholls)
  • Summary of Chapter 2
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography

Introduction

In the 60-70s of the 20th century, there was an opinion that the sentence does not have the highest level of the hierarchy of language, as previously thought. It has been observed that majority of sentences relatively were structurally and semantically independent: the sentence acquires the quality of the full completion in the unit of a higher level - the text.

The text has been considered by many linguists as the highest level of language, which has its own categories and units, the laws of construction, that is, a specific grammar. Moreover it became evident that many of the phenomena of traditional sentential grammar (such as article determination, word order, incomplete block, etc.) had more adequate interpretation. [2, 154-161]

My work consists of introduction, main part of 2 chapters: theoretical and practical chapters, conclusion and bibliography.

In chapter 1 I`m going to consider such theoretical notions as "text, "basic unit of the text, "text coherence" and "text notions, their types, and also compare notions "text and "discourse.

In chapter 2 I`m going to illustrate examples for each theoretical case of text grammar.

The topic of my research: grammar of the text and its basic units.

The object of study: novel "One Day" by David Nicholls.

The subject of the study: grammatical features of the text, theory and practice

The aim of the study: to analyze the text "One Day" from the point of view of grammar.

Research objectives:

Examine the situation of the problem in the scientific and methodological resources;

Examine the theoretical aspects of the grammar of the text;

Analyze the text from the point of view the grammar of the text.

Significance of the study: Significance is the point of every work. I believe that by reading this paper, the learners will understand the main features of the text and its peculiarities.

The main research method: a theoretical analysis of the scientific and methodological literature. Explore the application of scientific principles in practice.

Chapter 1. Text and its Grammatical Characteristics

1.1 What the Text is

The text is a unit of language in use. It applies to any passage, spoken or written, of whatever length, that does form a unified whole - a semantic unit. The text is the object of studies of the branch of linguistics called text linguistics. Text linguistics is a relatively new branch of language studies that deals with texts as communication systems.

In the 60-70s of the 20th century, there was an opinion that the sentence does not have the highest level of the hierarchy of language, as previously thought. It has been observed that majority of sentences relatively were structurally and semantically independent: the sentence acquires the quality of the full completion in the unit of a higher level - the text.

Text linguistics dealt mainly with ways of expressing cohesion and coherence and distribution of the theme and the rheme of an utterance according to the rules of the functional sentence perspective. Its original aims lay in uncovering and describing text grammars. The application of text linguistics has, however, evolved from this approach to a point in which text is viewed in much broader terms that go beyond a mere extension of traditional grammar towards an entire text.

Despite the fact that there are many publications devoted to problems of text linguistics, there does not exist an adequate definition of the text that would find satisfaction with all researchers. [5, p.136] The difficulties that arise when trying to work out a universally acceptable definition of the text can be explained by the fact that scholars study the text in its various aspects: grammatical, stylistic, semantic, functional and so on.

The text can be studied as a product (text grammar) or as a process (theory of text). The text-as-a-product approach is focused on the text cohesion, coherence, topical organization, illocutionary structure and communicative functions; the text-as-a-process perspective studies the text production, reception and interpretation.

The grammar of the text is the study of texts above the level of the sentence. It shows how texts are put together so as to convey ideas, facts, messages, and fiction.

1.2 Basic Units of the Text

Analyzing the structure of the text, linguists identify semantically connected sentence sequences as certain syntactic formations. One of prospective trends in modern text linguistics is describing such syntactic formations, or text units, identifying patterns according to which they are built and studying relations between them. Irrespective of their specific features, all text units are united by their common function - they represent the text as a whole integrally expressing the textual topic.

It should be noted that there are some scholars who do not recognize the existence of linguistic units beyond the framework of the sentence. This opinion can be explained by the lack of a complete systematic description of linguistic peculiarities of such units.

The problem of text units has been addressed by numerous scholars both in Russia and abroad. Speaking about Russian linguists, we should mention the works by I. R. Galperin, O.I. Moskalskaya, E.A. Referovskaya, Z.Ya. Turaeva, G.Ya. Solganik and others. [9]

The supra-phrasal unity is a minimal text unit consisting of two or more sentences united by a common topic. In some cases the supra-phrasal unity can coincide with the text if it's a short one, for example, a news item in the newspaper, a miniature story, etc. However, most commonly, the supra-phrasal unity is a component of a larger text. The supra-phrasal unity consists of at least two sentences, it is characterized by topical, communicative and structural completeness and the author's attitude towards what is being communicated. The supra-phrasal unity is a complex semantico-structural unit, the communicative value of which does not equal the sum of meanings of its constituent sentences, it is a new semantico-structural formation.

It should be noted that sometimes it is not easy to delimit the boundaries of the supra-phrasal unity. In some cases it can coincide with the paragraph (this is especially typical of scientific papers and business documents), while in others the paragraph can be easily divided into several supra-phrasal unity, for example, in fiction and poetry.

As for the correlation of the supra-phrasal unity and the paragraph, a few decades ago the supra-phrasal unity was considered to be a unit equivalent to the paragraph. In today's text linguistics there are two approaches to this problem. Some scholars still believe that the supra-phrasal unity coincides with the paragraph, or rejecting the term "supra-phrasal unity, consider the paragraph to be a complex syntactic unity.

Other researchers draw a strict demarcation line between the supra-phrasal unity and the paragraph saying that the former is a unit of composition while the latter is a unit of punctuation.

In the first place, the supra-phrasal unity is essentially a feature of all the varieties of speech, both oral and written, both literary and colloquial. As different from this, the paragraph is a stretch of written or typed literary text delimited by a new (indented) line at the beginning and an incomplete line at the close. [11]

In the second place, the paragraph is a polyfunctional unit of written speech and as such is used not only for the written representation of a supra-phrasal unity, but also for the introduction of utterances of a dialogue, as well as for the introduction of separate points in various enumerations.

In the third place, the paragraph in a monologue speech can contain more than one supra-phrasal unity and the supra-phrasal unity can include more than one paragraph.

grammar text linguistics novel

1.3 Main Features of the Text

Texts have both internal and external functions, according to the principals of text linguistics.

Part of the internal function may be referred to as cohesion. This is how the actual words in the text are connected and flow together to create meaning at a sentence level. Texts use devices such as conjunctions, ellipses, and substitution to connect words so that they flow from one sentence to the next. This helps the reader create meaning within the text.

Coherence is another internal element of text linguistics. This is how the sentences are put together as a whole to create the meaning of the entire text. In other words, while cohesion may look at the individual elements of a sentence, coherence is about how each sentence, paragraph, and the overall text are constructed so that the reader can understand it. It also looks at how the text is arranged in time.

An external function of text linguistics is intertextuality. This concept is the study of the interconnectedness of different texts. In some cases, it may be necessary to have studied one text in order to understand another. For example, in order to understand a critical article, it may be necessary to have read the text that the article is about. In this way, many different texts may be connected.

Texts may also be better understood by looking at the contexts in which they were written. This context may be historical and may include looking at the events that were happening in the world at the time the text was written. [4, 25-29] Text linguistics may also look at the social context, which includes the social aspects of a culture at the time the text was written. Studying these contexts may help readers understand the meaning of the texts more clearly.

From the point of view of grammar such notions as "coherence" and "cohesion will be considered more detailed.

1.4 Text Cohesion

Cohesion can be defined as the links that hold a text together and give it meaning. The term cohesion was introduced by Halliday and Hasan in 1976 to denote the way in which linguistic items of which texts are constituted are meaningfully interconnected in sequences. Each piece of text must be cohesive with the adjacent ones for a successful communication.

There are two main types of cohesion: grammatical, referring to the structural content, and lexical, referring to the language content of the piece and a cohesive text is created through many different ways.

According to Halliday and Hasan identify five general categories of cohesive devices that create coherence in texts: reference, ellipsis, substitution, lexical cohesion, and conjunction. [10,p.96]

1. Reference.

Reference is realized by nouns, determiners, personal and demonstrative pronouns or adverbs. Reference is a sending of linguistic means to either the preceding context (retrospection), or to the next context (prospection). The reference of the retrospective is called anaphora, and prospective - cataphora. The most obvious means of reference in the English language is an article determination: anaphoric link is usually marked by the definite article and cataphoric link is marked by indefinite article. Many English sentence adverbs (contrariwise, likewise, similarly, etc.) are the means of anaphoric link, that transparently pointing to a previous context. [2]

2. Ellipsis

Ellipsis refers to the structural incompleteness of the sentence. Elliptical sentence, however, can always be "finish building" to the full, while there are two fundamentally different types of ellipsis: paradigmatic ellipsis and syntagmatic ellipsis. The first of these reach their full structural analogs with reference to the linguistic competence of a native speaker, that is, to the knowledge of rules about structuring sentences. This type of ellipsis is not considered as a means of intertextual cohesion. On the contrary, syntagmatic ellipses reach the full structural analogues solely thanks to the appropriate linguistic context.

3. Substitution

Substitution is very similar to ellipsis in the effect it has on the text. Substitution involves the replacement of full-meaning element or elements of the previous context on the empty-meaning element or elements in the following context. The most striking example of the substitution is pronominalization - the use of pronouns instead of nouns. Example: Jack could neither read nor write. He was illiterate. Another way of substitution is using "do or "to. Example: Who knows Mary? - I do. Would you like to go to the theatre? - I'd love to.

4. Conjunction

Conjunction, creates cohesion by relating sentences and paragraphs to each other by using words from the class of conjunctions (I was terribly angry. And Ann was too.), numerals, adverbs (firstly, secondly, lastly) or sentence formations (I mean).

5. Lexical cohesion

Lexical cohesion assumes as a communication tool to use lexical items "serve" the same subject area. For example, there are such words as "books, librarians, to read, reading halls, shelves, journals in a text fragment, it is clear that describes situation relating to a library or reading room. [2]

1.5 Text Coherence

Coherence in linguistics is what makes a text semantically meaningful. The notion of coherence was introduced by Vestergaard and Schroder as a way of talking about the relations between texts, which may or may not be indicated by formal markers of cohesion. Beaugrande define coherence as a "continuity of senses and "the mutual access and relevance within a configuration of concepts and relations. [1, p.189] Coherence, as a sub-surface feature of a text, concerns the ways in which the meanings within a text (concepts, relations among them and their relations to the external world) are established and developed.

Text is not only structural but also thematic unity, and thus can distinguish meaningful parameters that characterize it as a unit of a higher level. Note, however, that sometimes informative text options listed below are considered as belonging to the theory of pragmatics. [2]

1. Intentionality. There are objects and intentions of author of the text.

2. Acceptability. It`s a parameter indicating availability of text to the recipient and emphasizing the active role of the recipient in the text.

3. Informativity. It is a degree of representation of something new, unknown, unexpected. It emphasizes the basic property of the text of bearing of certain information.

4. Situational parameter. It is a match of form and content of the text of the situation of communication. It allows to "place" the text in the format of communication, making it relevant for communicants.

5. Intertextuality. It is the relationship of the text to other texts. In contrast to the above-mentioned types of cohesion and coherence it does not consider the internal but external relations communication of the text. Each new text - consciously or not - is generated by the author given existing ones, which "traces" are found in the text.

1.6 Text and Discourse

Last years, along with the development of the theory of the text is actively developing the theory of discourse. Text and Discourse are similar concepts, but not identical. Under the text, most researchers understand the example of writing, literary speech. But it doesn't exist distinct and generally accepted definition of "discourse. The term "discourse" began to be used widely in the 1970s. According to the Anglo-American linguistic tradition, a "discourse" refers to a connected speech and the discourse is identified with the dialogue. Thus, the discourse has been considered as a component of linguistic communication, and, more broadly - as speech (oral and written), included in a communicative context. Discourse is the verbal response to the situation of human communication; it is human activity along with other activities.

Discourse like a text has its own formal features. As the most important should be called discursive vocabulary (discursive marker, discourse operator) - verbal elements, which adequate interpretation is possible only during their inclusion in the structure of the speech. By discursive vocabulary scholars include interjections (Oh, aha), sentential forms (you know, you hear), particles (even, only just) and some others. [6, 148-200]

Summary of Chapter 1

The text is the object of studies of the branch of linguistics called text linguistics. The text can be studied as a product (text grammar) or as a process (theory of text). The text-as-a-product approach is focused on the text cohesion, coherence, topical organization, illocutionary structure and communicative functions; the text-as-a-process perspective studies the text production, reception and interpretation.

The supra-phrasal unity is a minimal text unit consisting of two or more sentences united by a common topic.

Texts have both internal and external functions, according to the principals of text linguistics. Part of the internal function may be referred to as cohesion.

Coherence is another internal element of text linguistics. An external function of text linguistics is intertextuality.

According to Halliday and Hasan identify five general categories of cohesive devices that create coherence in texts: reference, ellipsis, substitution, lexical cohesion, and conjunction.

Coherence in linguistics is what makes a text semantically meaningful. There are 5 parameters of text coherence: intentionality, acceptability, informativity, situational parameter, intertextuality.

Last years, along with the development of the theory of the text is actively developing the theory of discourse. Text and Discourse are similar concepts, but not identical. Discourse is the verbal response to the situation of human communication; it is human activity along with other activities. Discourse like a text has its own formal features.

Chapter 2. Grammatical Analysis of the Text (practical part based on the novel "One day" by David Nicholls)

In this chapter I`m going to consider different examples of text`s grammatical characteristics, such as basic units of the text, text cohesion (reference, ellipsis, substitution, conjunction, lexical cohesion), text coherence (its basic parameters: acceptability, informativity, situational parameter, intertextuality). All examples based on the novel "One day" by David Nicholls.

1. Basic units of the text.

1.1) In this example the basic unit of the text is 3 sentences, that have one common idea: wishes and expectations of a young men.

He wanted to feature in magazine articles, and hoped one day for a retrospective of his work, without having any clear notion of what that work might be. He wanted to live life to the extreme, but without any mess or complications. He wanted to live life in such a way that if a photograph were taken at random, it would be a cool photograph. [6 p.9]

1.2) In this example the basic unit of the text is 2 sentences that have common idea: describing a letter. But the paragraph contains more sentences, and this example disproves one of the theories that basic unit of the text is only one paragraph.

And then he saw the letter. Six blue sheets densely written on both sides. He stared at it as if an intruder had left it behind, and with his new sobriety came the first twinge of doubt. [6 p.49]

1.3) And this example show that basic unit of the text is the whole paragraph that has one common idea: describing the father.

His father is already standing in the doorway, as if he`s been there for years. He is wearing too many clothes for July; a shirt-tail is hanging down beneath his sweater, a mug of tea is in his hand. Once a giant to Dexter, he now looks stooped and tired, his long face pale, drawn and lined from the six months in which his wife`s condition has deteriorated. He raises his mug in greeting and for a moment Dexter sees himself through his father`s eyes, and winces with shame at his shiny shirt, the jaunty way he drives this sporty little car, the raffish noise it makes as it swoops to a halt on the gravel, the chill-out music on the stereo. [6 p.120]

2. Text cohesion

2.1 Reference

a) Anaphora

The definite article is sending to preceding context, where were talking about coming day, describing curtains in the rented room and were known such people as Tilly-bloody-Killick or Callum O`Neill.

1a) Dexter could see the pink of the new day seeping though the heavy winter curtains that came with the rented room. [6p.13]

2a) Anyway, the only people with oars and rudders and aims are dreary bores and squares and careerists like Tilly-bloody-Killick or Callum O`Neill and his refurbished computers. [6p.43]

b) Cataphora.

1b) In the first example conjunction "that indicates the following message and serves as means of cataphoric link.

The main thing is that I think about you a lot, that`s all. [6p.48]

2b) In the second example indefinite article means that it's a first mention about the day and in following context will be given more information about it.

It`s a big day for Dexter Mayhew too. He lies in a tangle of damp sheets, eyes wide, and imagines all of the things that might go wrong. [6 p.157]

2.2 Ellipsis

2.2.1 In this example is shown incompleteness of the answer, but it can be finished like: "It`s a tradition.

"It`s a Friday. Friday all day. St Swithin`s Day as a matter of fact.

"What`s that then?

"Tradition. If it rains today it'll rain for the next forty days, or all summer, or something like that." [6 p.15]

2.2.2 In this example the answer is also incomplete and can be finished as "I won`t make a religion out of it. But we can finish this answer only thanks to context, but not grammar.

"But not too nice. I mean don`t make a religion out of it, niceness.

"I won`t" [6 p.31]

2.3 Substitution

2.3.1 In this example using the pronoun "he instead of noun "Scott" is a mean of substitution.

Scott smiled benignly and nodded. "Go on then! Take a break - `He stretched an arm towards the door, adding with infinite compassion: "Go get yourself some nachos. [6 p.55]

2.3.2 In this example the verb "Do serves as a mean of substitution but it`s also similar with means of ellipsis.

"Sorry about that. booze thing. I owe you an apology.

"Yes you do." [6 p.181]

2.4 Conjunction

2.4.1 In this example is used "too" as mean of conjunction

Feeling foolish and let down, she drank once more from the empty glass. "Too much brandy. We should go." She began to look distractedly for the waiter, and Dexter began to feel foolish too. [6 p.95]

2.4.2.1 In this example is used "I mean as mean of conjunction

"And also to say I thought the same thing too. At the time. What I mean is I liked you too, "romantically, I mean. I mean I didn`t write poems or anything, but I thought about you, think about you, you and me. I mean I fancy you." [6 p.98]

2.5 Lexical cohesion

2.5.1 In this example are used lexical units that describe one situation: in the restaurant.

He dunked his ciabatta in the little dish of olive oil as if loading a paintbrush, opened the menu and worked out what he could afford to eat. [6 p.138]

2.5.2.1 In this example are used lexical units that describe one situation: the weather.

Outside a heavy curtain of black and purple clouds had formed across the sky. The warm wind had that ferric tang that precedes a storm, and Emma felt pleasantly woozy and brandy-flavored as they walked north across the piazza. [6 p.150]

3. Text coherence.

The parameter of intentionality expressed by author`s goals and intention. The main goal and intention of David Nicholls is expressing relations between man and woman, their friendship and love.

This text is acceptable for wider auditory from teenagers to adults thereby the parameter of acceptability is complied fully.

The parameter of informativity is complied not fully as this text hasn`t got some new information for most recipients.

The situational parameter is expressed fully as the structure of the text, its content corresponds to a real life, where exist love, hate, friendship and other feelings and emotions.

The parameter of intertextuality is also expressed fully and there are some examples of it.

1) In this example intertextuality is expressed by "a Jane Austen sigh, that means a romantic, thoughtful, long-drawn sigh. It`s a reference to the author, Jane Austen and her works, where the protagonists are romantic and loving girls with a hard life.

Emma turned back to her reflection in the cracked mirror, plumped up the puffed sleeves of her Empire line dress, removed her spectacles and gave a Jane Austen sigh. [6 p. 20]

2) In this example intertextuality is expressed by quote from novel "Far from the Madding Crowd" by Thomas Hardy. And this quote is description of feelings and the relationship of the main characters of the book "One day, that are presented in Part Four of the book.

Part Four

2002-2005

Late Thirties

"They spoke very little of their mutual feelings:

pretty phrases and warm attentions being probably

unnecessary between such tried friends.

Thomas Hardy, Far From the Madding Crowd

[6 p.351]

4. Discourse

If we`ll consider the following examples as examples of oral speech, we have examples of discourse but not text. Discourse is marked by discursive markers like well, um, just, so.

1) "What are they about, these TV shows?

"Well one`s abut London nightlife, a sort of what`s-on-in-the-capital thing, and the other`s a sports show. Extreme Sports.

"Extreme Sports? What are "Extreme Sports?

"Um, well, mountain-biking, snow-boarding, skate-boarding" [6 p.250]

2)"Well I`m doing this new show called Sport Xtreme. Xtreme with X. Surfing footage, interviews with snow-boarders. You know. From all around the world.

"So you`re travelling a lot then?

"I just present the footage. The studio`s in Morden. So yes, I do travel a lot, but only to Morden.

"Well, like I said, if you ever felt like a change in career. You know a bit about food and drink, you can get on with people if you put your mind to it. Business is people. I just think it might be for you. That`s all" [6 p.274]

Summary of Chapter 2

According considered examples sometimes it`s difficult to determine what type of text cohesion is used in each case. So, one example may be example of using ellipsis, reference and substitution at the same time. But this fact doesn`t disprove the possibility to distinguish various types of cohesion and doesn`t prevents the allocation of its various types.

Having considered the basic parameters of coherence it can be concluded that the text is coherent, that is traced integrity of the text, which consists of the logical-semantic, grammatical and stylistic relatedness and interdependence of its component elements.

Discourse and text are similar but not identical. Discourse is more uncertain than text and semantics of its main features may just give more expression to verbal context.

Conclusion

The text is the object of studies of the branch of linguistics called text linguistics. The text can be studied as a product (text grammar) or as a process (theory of text). The text-as-a-product approach is focused on the text cohesion, coherence, topical organization, illocutionary structure and communicative functions; the text-as-a-process perspective studies the text production, reception and interpretation.

The supra-phrasal unity is a minimal text unit consisting of two or more sentences united by a common topic.

Texts have both internal and external functions, according to the principals of text linguistics. Part of the internal function may be referred to as cohesion.

Coherence is another internal element of text linguistics. An external function of text linguistics is intertextuality.

According to Halliday and Hasan identify five general categories of cohesive devices that create coherence in texts: reference, ellipsis, substitution, lexical cohesion, and conjunction.

Coherence in linguistics is what makes a text semantically meaningful. There are 5 parameters of text coherence: intentionality, acceptability, informativity, situational parameter, intertextuality.

Last years, along with the development of the theory of the text is actively developing the theory of discourse. Text and Discourse are similar concepts, but not identical. Discourse is the verbal response to the situation of human communication; it is human activity along with other activities. Discourse like a text has its own formal features. According considered examples sometimes it`s difficult to determine what type of text cohesion is used in each case. So, one example may be example of using ellipsis, reference and substitution at the same time. But this fact doesn`t disprove the possibility to distinguish various types of cohesion and doesn`t prevents the allocation of its various types.

Having considered the basic parameters of coherence it can be concluded that the text is coherent, that is traced integrity of the text, which consists of the logical-semantic, grammatical and stylistic relatedness and interdependence of its component elements.

Discourse and text are similar but not identical. Discourse is more uncertain than text and semantics of its main features may just give more expression to verbal context.

Bibliography

1. .. . ., 2003;

2. .. . - ., 2005

3. Close R. A. A Reference Grammar for Students of English. - M., 1983

4. Givn T. On understanding grammar. N. Y., 1979;

5. Huston R. Word Grammar. - Oxford, 1984

6. Nicholls D. One Day. - London, 2010

7. Schiffrin D. Discourse Markers. - Cambridge, 1987

8. http://ru. wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%E8%F1%EA%F3%F0%F1

9. www.multitran.ru

10. http://tpl1999. narod.ru/index/0-109

11. http://any-book.org/download/54968.html

stud.wiki




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