A Sample Analysis of Written Discourse

4 April 2017

A Sample Analysis of Written Discourse —through the analysis of larger patterns and cohesive ties For discourse analysis, we usually analyze two main categories of discourse, the spoken discourse and written discourse. When we analyze a piece of spoken discourse, we will exam the identify of the speaker, the purpose of the utterance, the perlocutionary effect of the utterance, and the context of the utterance. Elements like intonation, tone, and genre of the utterance also are included in the analysis.

We can get a close look by the speaking mode presented by Dell Hymes’s SPEAKING model. The SPEAKING model is a method to analyze a piece of utterance, in which we, through the analysis of Setting and Scene, Participants, Ends (Purposes, goals, and outcomes), Act Sequence, Key(Cues that establish the “tone, manner, or spirit” of the speech act), Instrumentalities(Forms and styles of speech), Norms, Genre, deconstruct a discourse.

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As for the written discourse, it is, in some sense, much the same. A text is written within a certain context, aimed at specific readers.

The writer’s purpose is realized with the structure and vocabulary used. This can be exemplified by the following list of everyday written texts; instruction leaflet, letter to/from friend, public notice, product label, newspaper obituary, poem, news report, academic article, small ads, postcard to/from friend, business letter. Though the analyses of written and spoken discourse are the same in some sense, they rely on different methods for exact interpretation. For spoken language, we can rely on visual and aural clues. The clues for written texts are not so obvious.

But as the writer produced texts for particular purposes, he or she would employ difference structures. Connections between sentences and ideas are possible because all texts have structure. This structure is created through an overall textual pattern, lexical signals, inter-clause relations, and lexical and grammatical cohesive links. Recognizing this structure and the relations found within the text can be a very effective method for second language learners to improve their understanding. The interpretation of the structure can help their language acquisition.

The ability to see how grammar and vocabulary contribute to the linking of the sentences ad ideas not only helps in their comprehension of the language but helps them to develop the ability to use the language in a more fluid manner. Text Patterns Text patterns are the forms and information sequencing of texts. For a purposeful writing, the writer will employ different methods to organize the information. The purpose of doing so is to achieve better fluency of language and effectiveness of texts. The General-Specific pattern, the Problem-Solution pattern and the Claim-Counter-Claim pattern are the three commonly employed textual patterns.

Although one pattern forms the overall organization of a text, quite often other patterns are imbedded within, creating sub-patterns. In G. S. organization, the text begins with a general statement regarding a particular topic followed by a series of specific statements that exemplify, explain, or justify the original statement, ending in a general statement that restates the original statement. As the following figure demonstrates, there are two possible realizations of this pattern. Figure 1 general specific pattern General-Specific pattern of “Children Are Influenced by T.

V. ” In the sentence 5 of the essay Children Are Influenced by T. V. , the writer presented the general statement of the essay. In the general statement, the writer clearly defines the thesis. The thesis is the point of departure, which signifies what the writer will write in the following paragraphs. In some sense, the general statement commands the whole essay. Sentence 6, 11, and 18 are the three specific statements the writer used to exemplify the thesis, or sentence 5. In sentence 18, the thesis of the text is repeated.

The argument of the thesis presented in sentence 5 is concluded. We can still find the second form of general-specific pattern in the sample essay. (6)First, one influence that has a major effect on children’s behavior is television. (7)Believe it or not, T. V. plays a big role in how kids act. (8)Shows like the Power Rangers and Beetleborgs can make boys violent and want to fight. (9)Girls are not so easily influenced by television as boys are? (10)Although there are some girls that want to fight along with the boys, for the most part, girls do not like those types of shows.

Sentence 6 serves as the topic sentence of this paragraph. Sentence 7 is a furtherance of the idea of sentence 6. Sentence 8 presented specific TV programs to illustrate the idea. Sentence 9 rounds up the paragraph. Sentence 10, the last sentence of this paragraph, provides exception to the idea presented. The second pattern, Claim-Counter-claim, is often found in texts where there is an element of controversy. This pattern can also be organized in two ways. Figure 2 Claim-Counter-claim pattern This pattern is usually employed to solve controversy.

First the writer establish his ideas by presenting a claim, then present a counter-claim, by the counter-argumentation of the counter-claim, justifies the claim. The third pattern, problem-solution pattern, is extremely common in text. Hoey analyzes such texts in great details. The pattern can be shown by the following figure. Figure 3 The situation presents questions like: where does the story take place? When? Who is involved? etc. The problem describes questions like: what happened? Why did you do what you did? etc. The solution gives response to the problem.

The Evaluation evaluates the response to the problem. These three patterns are fully exploited by writers to achieve effective essays. Frequently, these three form are combined, making variations of these forms. The identification of the organizing pattern of the text can facilitate the interpretation of text. With certain knowledge of the patterns, the ESL learners can well construct their own writing in second language. The analysis of the text patterns not only shows the macro-structure of the organization of the texts, but also elaborates the transition or progression of the topic of written discourse.

To make a text coherent, macro-structure is only one crucial factor, lexical relationships is another important element in the organization of the text. According to Halliday and Hasan, a text is “a unit of language in use”. What distinguishes a text from a non-text is its “texture. ” The texture is provided by the cohesive relations that exist between certain linguistic features that are present in the passage and can be identified as contributing to its total unity. In other words, the texture of a text is formed by the cohesive ties that it contains.

The cohesive relationship which can be formally established within a text, providing cohesive “ties” which bind a text together, is classified by Halliday&Hasan into five main types: reference, substitution, ellipsis, conjunction and lexical relationships. A. Reference Reference is a kind of linguistic form. It uses a word to make reference to some entity in the real world. The reader or listener depends on these linguistic forms for the interpretation of those forms. During the interpretation, the reader or listener has to refer to elsewhere for the interpretation rather than the semantic meaning of the word.

The exophoric reference looks out of the text for interpretation. The enophoric reference indicates inward searching of the text for interpretation. Endophoric reference is of two kinds, those which look back in text for their interpretation, which Halliday calls anaphoric relations, and those which look forward in the text for their interpretation, which are called cataphoric relations. (1)When children are young, they tend to act different than when they are older. When the writer uses children in the very first sentence, the reader, as interpreter, will naturally seek for the entity in the real world.

As the first sentence of the essay, the readers do not have enough information for the interpretation of the children, so it is quite understandable for the reader to resort to outside, outside of the text, for better interpretation. In the main clause of sentence one, the pronoun, they, is employed. It is used twice in the clause. They need to look back in text for their interpretation. The only noun they can refer to is children in the preceding clause. Thus a tie is established. B. Substitution Substitution is defined as that an expression may simply be replaced by a pro-form in the text.

It can be used to avoid repetition and achieve cohesive text as well. In order for us to interpret a sentence which contains a pro-form the expression which is substituted by the pro-form, must be found in the context. (3)Little kids are usually very easily influenced by their surroundings. (4)Whether it is television, friends, family members, or just plain strangers, everyone and everything are influences on a little kid. (5)I believe that young boys are usually more easily influenced than young girls.

From the sentences-above, we can find the use of their in sentence 3, which is used to refer to little kids, it in sentence 4, which is used to refer forward to any of the following; television, friends, family members strangers, everyone or everything, I in sentence 5, which refers to the writer. (12)Although most children are taught not to talk to strangers, we would be surprised how many actually do. The do in sentence 12 substitutes the verbal phrase are taught not to talk to strangers. The use of substitution can well reduce the redundancy of the text. It may effectively achieve cohesion and coherence of text. C. Ellipsis

Ellipsis may be regarded as a special kind of substitution, substitution by zero. Ellipsis is used to avoid repetition and accentuate predominant information so as to connect the context. As a result, the interpretation of one sentence largely bases itself on another in the text. Thus their relationship of cohesion is established. D. Conjunction Conjunction differs from reference, substitution and ellipsis in that it does not set off a search backward or forward for its referent. It is not anaphoric or cataphoric. However it is a linguistic cohesive device in that it signals a relationship between segments of the discourse.

Halliday suggests four broad categories Additive conjunctions simply add on a sentence or clause as if it were additional information or an afterthought e. g. and, in addition, furthermore, for instance, besides etc. The Along with television in sentence 11 introduces another sentence, which provides another exemplification of the thesis of the essay. (11)Along with television, children may also be influenced by people they don’t know. Adversative conjunctions draw a contrast between the clause or sentence they introduce or are contained in and the preceding clause or sentence with which they form a cohesive relationship e. g. ut, however, yet, on the other hand, nevertheless etc. Take the following sentences for example, (10) Although there are some girls that want to fight along with the boys, for the most part, girls do not like those types of shows. (27) Even though they are young, girls are still more cautious than boys. Causal conjunctions make a link of cause or consequence between two clauses or sentences e. g. so, therefore, as a result, hence, because etc. for example; (19)Because friends and family members are people that kids trust, they tend to want to be like them. (28)Therefore, I believe that young boys are more easily influenced than young girls.

Temporal conjunctions make a time link, usually of a sequential nature e. g. then, finally, next, subsequently, after that etc. In the sample essay, it can be illustrated by following examples. (6)First, one influence that has a major effect on children’s behavior is television. (18)Finally, kids are most influenced by their parents and their friends. Conjunction, unlike other already mentioned term, is a special category of words, which provide logical connection of ideas. As for reference, substitution and ellipsis, they are simply word-for-word connection. This can be clearly shown be a simple analogy.

When workers are make pearl necklace, the pearls, just like the words, are assembled together. The works repeat the pearls, just like the speakers repeat the words in their variants. The thread provides a connective force, just like the conjunctions in essay writing, which provides logical connections. E. Lexical Cohesion: For lexical cohesion, we should identify what is going to count as repetition. We know words relate to other words in many different ways. The relation can be called these relations links. The links are created through repetitions of words. Lexical repetition mainly includes: a. Repetition i. Simple repetition

Simple lexical repetition occurs when a lexical item that has already occurred in a text is repeated with no greater alteration than is entirely explicable in terms of a closed grammatical paradigm. For example, (3)Little kids are usually very easily influenced by their surroundings. (4)Whether it is television, friends, family members, or just plain strangers, everyone and everything are influences on a little kid. More complex lexical repetition occurs either when two lexical items share a lexical morpheme (root), but are not formally identical, or when they are formally identical, but have different grammatical functions.

For example, (5) I believe that young boys are usually more easily influenced than young girls. (6)First, one influence that has a major effect on children’s behavior is television. (22)If a kid hears his friends cuss all the time, then he/she will probably start cussing too. ii. Synonymy and near synonymy When two items substitute for each other in context without loss or gain in quality and with no discernible change in meaning, these two items are synonymies. For example, photo – picture, the two words are synonymous. The link is a simple paraphrase.

This can be justified by the following example, (1)When children are young, they tend to act different than when they are older. (2)They are not mature yet and are still easily influenced. (3)Little kids are usually very easily influenced by their surroundings. The children in sentence 1 is substituted by little kids (in sentence 3), which is close in meaning to children. (22)If a kid hears his friends cuss all the time, then he/she will probably start cussing too. (23)If a child, whether it be a boy or a girl, places a lot of trust in a person, every action that person takes will influence the kid.

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