Riassunto esame linguistica inglese (secondo anno), libri consigliati: "Discourse analysis", Widdowson e "Translating texts from theory to practice", Ulrych
-1 person +simple past
-from positions and directions in space, to technical objective descriptions.
-Analysis of places, people and relations, by the use of spatial chaining
strategies indicated by spatial positions in the sentence.
-spatial circumstances occupy the theme position
-description range from technical, objective, neutral properties to and more
frequently, attitudinal and evaluative/hyperbolic , metaphorical, comparative
and evocative viewpoints
-subjective impressions of relations and qualities , impressionistic descriptions.
Adverbials of place to reinforce the style.
-use of the simple past+ simple present of stative or motion verbs is existential
(ex there’s) nd shows timelessness.
We may get a vivid imagine of the writer’s experience.
-use of 1 person of a non-personal third person
-Stages to be followed by the reader, constructed through sequential chaining
strategies of temporal circumstances or processes. People and objects are
related through intended future behaviour.
The reader is expected to follow the steps:
-Recipes, instructions or prescriptions
-An evident future behaviour, an action demanding sentence, constructed
through sequential chaining strategies of temporal circumstances or processes.
The reader is expected to follow the steps through the use of imperative form
ex. Trust me, always remember, the passive voice and modal verbs.
-Would is used to give advice and when history is uncertain must shows
evaluation “ex. Must be painful”;
-Will is employed when giving recommendations and introducing the following
site on the itinerary, as in “you will need to spend at least three good hours to
-If clauses are employed with the same purpose: persuasion. Directions are
followed on the authority of practical validity
-The point of view may be subjective, as in instructions, or objective, as in
directions and regulations. It is expressed through the 1 person or the 2
-Narrative, descriptive and instructive tests have grammatical form associated
with them which may be expanded to form sequences of a textual nature and
they are all centred around real-world events and things.
-In contrast, expository and argumentative texts are cognitively oriented, as
they are concerned with explanation and persuasion which are both mental
-Present, through the use of through- and counter-argument patterns, and of a
-Attitudes sustained in relation with their opposites.
-Recommendation is often introduces by expressions such as It is advisable,
would be the best time
Typical expressions are opinion verbs, or expressions of intention, decision,
expectations and beliefs, Expectations may not be fulfilled.
-Negative sentences and contrastive expressions
-Five types of argumentative style: informal, ironical, appreciatory, depreciatory
-Generic concepts are dealt with, as well as the definition or explanation, along
various degrees of subjectiveness (through characterisation specified by
-Ideas and impressions are summarised from constituent elements of concepts,
ideas or impressions, or analysed into their constituent elements
-The writer presentation of statement and stance aims at persuading the reader
and generate consensus
-Verbs are often in the present tense, passive voice and impersonal forms
-Five styles: the formal, the comparative, the informal, the illustrative and the
Few texts are pure realizations of a single type:
-Advertisements may be both argumentative/persuasive (this is good
because…) and instructive/exhortative (So buy now!)
-Expository texts can be neutral or contain evaluative elements (reviews,
references, letters to the editor)
-Laws regulate some aspects of society, leading the behaviour of its members,
nut also inform on these aspects (they are both instructive and expository)
A context can be thought of a situation in which we find ourselves, the actual
circumstances of time and place, the here and now of the home, the school,
the work place and so on. It is also the common knowledge of the people
concerned in the conversation.
When people talk to each other, they will naturally make reference to what is
present in such situations, present in the sense of both place and time.
So people make sense of what is said by making connection between the
language and the physical context of utterance.
The language serves to point out something which is present in the perceived
environment, and the listener can only understand what the speaker means by
the utterance by making the necessary connection.
Context is a source of meaning for every language event since it gives the
hearer or reader a frame of reference within which to interpret what has been
uttered or written.
The important point to note is that text does not in itself establish context but
serves to activate it in the reader’s mind.
To summarize: context is a psychological construct, a conceptual
representation of a state of affairs. In communication, what happens is that a
first-person party (a speaker or writer) produces a text which keys the second
persona party (listener or reader) into a context assumed to be shared. Once
the context is keyed in, then it can be extended or modified, by means of more
It may be that the first person party’s assumption of shared context is
mistaken. In spoken interaction, there is usually the possibility of repair
whereby the two parties can negotiate the required contextual convergence.
The contexts that texts are designed to key into are constructs of reality as
conceived by a particular groups of people, representations of what they know
of the world and how they think about it.
Although some of the knowledge that the text producer assumes to be shared
is of particular things, events, persons, either within the immediate situation of
utterance or not, these particulars are typically related to more general
schematic structures of knowledge.
A schema is a construct of familiar knowledge.
We can distinguish between:
-the co-text, the linguistic context, the context of word and sentences that go
with the text, an interrelationship and interaction between sentence elements.
-the context of situation: the extra linguistic context, the total environment
beyond the text
The distinction between the two was first made by the anthropologist
Malinowski in his theory of context in relation to translation.
M. was faced with the problem of how illustrate his ideas on the remote culture
of a group of pacific islanders to an English-speaking public. It was impossible
to render islander language in English without making reference to the cultural
background. Various alternatives were open to him: free translation, literal
translation, or translation with an extended commentary.
The last solution consisted of placing the texts within their environment, the
translation with commentary was able to provide information not only about
the immediate situation in which they were uttered but also about the total
cultural background which lay behind them and which determined their
The first is the c. of situation and the second the c. of culture.
So we can say that:
-the context of situation is defined as the immediate social and situational
environment in which a text is being realized
-the context of culture is the more external context surrounding the text and
its specific context of situation. And this is the awareness of cultural differences
[culture: the personal development, the knowledge of a country’s history and
institutions, the sociolinguistic and anthropological sense. Socially conditioned
aspects of human life.
So, a text is both an object, a product of its environment, of its Context of
situation and Context of culture, and an instance of social meaning in a specific
The relation between text and context is a systematic and dynamic one:
-on the one hand a text is the result of the context in which it is being realized
and where language is being shaped to function purposefully
-on the other hand, a context is then realized in turn by the text: through a text
a context is being created
The relationship between language use and context of situation identified by
Malinowski was further developed by Firth who saw linguistics essentially as
the study of meaning in terms of how language functions in context. He
therefore worked out a set of variables which had to be present in the context
of situation for meaningful interactions to take place: the participants, the
action taking place (verbal or non-verbal), other features and the effect of the
The variable of a language event can also be looked at in terms of Halliday’s
A relationship exists between a given situation and the language used in it.
Register is related to the use to which language is put in a particular social
context and is determined by the nature of the activity in which the language is
We use register to say different things, to express different meanings according
to the kind of social activity we are engaging in.
Registers tend to reflect conventionally-accepted types of discourse, which
mainly differ in grammar and vocabulary.
Halliday distinguish 3 main variables in the context of situation and
consequently I the register:
-THE FIELD OF DISCOURSE refers to what is actually taking place (event or
activity) that is to say to what the participants are doing with the language, in a
particular spatial and temporal setting. It also includes what the interaction is
about (the subject-matter or a topic) and what the participants know or not
know about it (shared/unshared knowledge)
So we can speak of technical, scientific and legal registers, the language of
sports, institutional registers etc.
-specialised vs non- specialised (the vocabulary specific to the field or the
vocabulary that is common to other fields)
-Experiential domain: types of texts
-Goal orientation: general vs in detail orientation towards categories of reader
(websites vs travel guides)
-THE TENOR OF THE DISCOURSE refers to the role relationship between the
participants in a communicative event. The level of formality of language is
influenced by the social situation in which it is produced and the status of the
Martin Joos has defined 5 levels of formality which can be seen as a continuum:
frozen, formal, consultative, casual, intimate. Another division can be: formal,
-Power relations: equal/unequal
-THE MODE OF DISCOURSE refers to the part of language itself is playing in
It concerns the medium that is chose (spoken written, written to be spoke,
spoken to be written) and the channel through which the communication takes
place (essay letter, lecture, telegram).
There are also others variables:
-Role: ancillary (language accompanying nonverbal activity as when we talk as
we cook together) or constitutive (the event is defined by the language as in a
-Directionality: uni-directional channel or bi-directional (unidirectional allows
only monologue, bidirectional allows dialogue)
-Media: use of visual contact (ex. Visual for a telephone conversation) use of
multimedia (blackboard, PowerPoint)
-Preparation: spontaneous vs prepared, rushed vs time for reflection
Thematization is the tendency to arrange sentence in a manner as to draw
attention to what is communicatively more important.
In fact, a text will generally be arranged in a way as to focus the reader’s
attention on those parts of its content which are considered to be most
Not every word of very part of the text can have the same weight since this
would make reading and understanding an impossible task.
Each clause can be divided into two:
-Theme: the information that is already known to the reader, the initial part of
It indicates what the sentence is about.
It is context dependent in that the reader has access to the information offered
-Rheme: the new information. The remainder of the clause that functions as
the new context independent element.
The choice of what information to put where depends both on writers’
hypotheses about what the reader knows and on the way they wish to organise
The theme/rheme distinction in English coincides with the ordering subject and
The theme as we said, is the first part of the clause and has the function of
“announcing” the starting point pf the message. When it occurs in this
expected part of the clause the theme is considered unmarked. In English
declarative clauses the unmarked theme for a main clause is the subject.
There can be a deviation from normal word order:
FRONTING: an element different from the subject is moved to the opening of
the sentence and an element or the subject is moved to the end of the
-INVERSION: the fronting of a clause element is often associated with
inversion. This can take the form of subject-verb inversion, as when place
adverbials are transposed to theme position
-CLEFTING: division of the sentence into two clauses each with its own verb.
It starts with the anticipatory it (empty theme) followed by the verb be and it is
used to give focus to a part of the clause which would otherwise not be
-PSEUDO-CLEFTING: wh- pronoun becomes the subject to foreground another
-LEFT/RIGHT DISLOCATION: Left dislocation set the point of departure for the
whole sentence and are marked themes.
Right dislocation refers to postponed identification: a kind of substitute theme
is used initially in the clause and refers cataphorically to the delayed theme
which is dislocated to the right to the end of the clause
-END FOCUS: anything that comes at the end of a clause will be interpreted as
the focal element in written discourse.
-PASSIVE VOICE: in the active construction the person who does the action is
the subject/theme, in the passive what matters is not the agent but the person
or thing influenced by the verb
So, the focus moves from what or who causes th happening to the happening
The theme/rheme division of a clause contributes to the development of
communication since it serves to move the discourse forward.
Together theme and rheme constitute THE COMMUNICATIVE DYNAMISM of
successive sentence in a text with the theme carrying the lowest degree of
communicative dynamism and the rheme drives the communication forward.
This functional organisation of the clause in terms theme and rheme has come
to be referred to as THE FUNCTIONAL SENTENCE PERSPECTIVO OR FSP
The choice and ordering of the theme and rheme in relation to superior text
units (paragraph, chapters) and the whole text is referred to as thematic
The most common pattern of thematic progression are:
a) -Linear thematization of rhemes, the most basic and straightforward form
of thematic progression
b) -Thematic progression with constant theme: subsequent themes are
related to the first theme
c) -Thematic progression by means of a split theme
d) -Thematic progression with subsequent themes derived from hypertheme
e) -Thematic progression with subsequent constant themes related to the
f) -Thematic progression with subsequent new themes related to a constant
COHERENCE AND COHESION
People don’t communicate in grammatical unit but in semantic units.
The distinction between a grammatical unit and a unit of meaning is that the
former refers to a formal level of language (how sentences are organized into
texts) and the latter to a functional level (how people put language to
So, we can distinguish coherence and cohesion.
Coherence refers to the organisation of meaning in relation to one another.
The elements of the text correspond to the natural, real-world order of events
It refers to the semantic unity created between the ideas, sentences,
paragraphs and section of a piece of writing. It also means that a text is easy to
read and understand because it follows a certain kind of logical order and the
organization of ideas is systemical and logical.
The readers make cognitive links in the text and recognizes textual patterns.
These patterns are manifested in functional relationships between pieces of a
text (textual segments): phrases, clauses sentences or groups of sentences.
These relationships can be of various kinds:
It represents the grammatical and lexical relationship between different
elements of a text which hold it together. To achieve good cohesion you need
to know how to use cohesive devices.
So, a text is cohesive if its elements are linked together and it is coherent if it
But a text can be for ex. Cohesive (linked together) but incoherent
(meaningless) and vice versa.
REFERENCE, SUBSTITUTION, ELLIPSIS AND CONJUCTION
11 mesi fa
Riassunto di linguistica inglese basato sui libri consigliati dal docente: "Discourse analysis" di H.G. Widdowson e "Translating texts from theory to practice" di M. Ulrych.
Text and discourse, language functions, context and co-text, register, thematisation, coherence and cohesion, the negotiation of meaning, the co-operative principle, critical discourse analysis.
I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher clato di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Linguistica inglese e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Cagliari - Unica o del prof Denti Olga.
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