Text, Context, Pretext: Critical Issues in Discourse by H. G. Widdowson

By H. G. Widdowson

Content material:
Chapter 1 textual content and Discourse (pages 1–16):
Chapter 2 textual content and Grammar (pages 17–35):
Chapter three Context (pages 36–57):
Chapter four Context and Co?Text (pages 58–73):
Chapter five Pretext (pages 74–88):
Chapter 6 severe Discourse research (pages 89–111):
Chapter 7 textual content and Corpus research (pages 112–127):
Chapter eight research and Interpretation (pages 128–146):
Chapter nine technique and process (pages 147–164):
Chapter 10 end (pages 165–174):

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Extra info for Text, Context, Pretext: Critical Issues in Discourse Analysis

Sample text

Meanwhile, there is another issue about S/F grammar that we need to address. TCPC02 25 7/28/04, 10:31 AM 26 Text and grammar I have been arguing that when language is put to use, the resulting text acts upon context, and in this pragmatic process the encoded semantic potential is only partially realized. This is why evaluation cannot be a function of understanding in Halliday’s sense. But there is a further difficulty: the semantic analysis is bound to be partial on its own terms as well. This is because the potential that the grammar seeks to capture is misrepresented by the very process of accounting for it.

He then goes on to suggest that this also applies to ‘a modern civilized language’, but we are prevented from seeing it because of the priority accorded to writing. So he takes his observations about a particular ‘primitive tongue’ to warrant a conclusion about spoken language use in general: it should be clear at once that the conception of meaning as contained in an utterance is false and futile. A statement, spoken in real life, is never detached from the situation in which it has been uttered.

Furthermore, if we want to argue that the use of the passive (and of these thematic variants too for that matter) not only reorganizes information to alter the clause as message, but actually represents a different ideational perspective on the event, then we need to account for it in the transitivity systems as well. In short, what we have is a complex set of implicatíonal relations across the different divisions of the grammar and what we need is some explanation of the interpersonal and ideational consequences of alternative thematizations, of just how the textual function combines with the others to breathe life into them.

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