Text and sequential implicativeness (agostina, ximena)

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Text and sequential implicativeness (agostina, ximena)

  1. 1. 1) Provide theoretical explanations about each of the following topics.2) Illustrate with examples.1) THE TEXT To Systemic Functional Linguistics, a text is a semantic unit, that is to say a unit ofmeaning. It is a unified whole which arises from the language in use, as a product of socialinteraction, conveyed and encoded in a particular situation, and realized by sentences,communicating a collection of meanings in a harmonic way. Thus, a text is alwaysunderstood in a particular linguistic context. It can be considered a passage of whatever length, written or spoken, not agrammatical unit, but one that carries meanings, expressed by a set of choices the speakerdoes, which ones are determined by the social and cultural context. For example, someaspects of context, such as field, tenor and mode, are defined by the immediate linguisticand social environment and are clear examples of elements that vary according to thespeaker’s choices. Field is what is being talked about, the topic of a text; tenor is the relationestablished among the participants involved in the interaction, the social distance orhierarchy, the role relations of power; and mode is the symbolic organization of a text,how the text is transmitted (the channel of communication), and the role of languageaccording to the context. Texture is an important element that let us distinguish a text from non-text. Textureis what gives unity to a text, by holding the clauses together. Texture includes twocomponents that are closely related: cohesion and coherence. Cohesion is the internalorganization of a text, whereas coherence is established by the interaction between theexternal context and the text itself. A text cannot have texture if there is no reference. Thereference refers to how the writer/speaker introduces topics and participants and keepstrack on them along a text. Beiras Ximena, García Giménez Agostina
  2. 2. Language can be described as a semiotic system because it encodes meanings whichare socially conveyed, i.e: it involves sets of choices or oppositions conveyed among theparticipants with a specific aim during the social interaction. Thus, as a semiotic system,language has three levels: semantic, lexico-grammar and phonological-graphological.Within the semantic level, the relation among the text and its internal context, and withthe external one, there are three types of meanings: the experiential meaning isexpressed by the content words of the clauses; the verbs show action, the nouns showparticipants and circumstances, the adjectives qualify nouns or noun phrases, etc.; theinterpersonal meaning is shown by the types of clauses and modality used according tothe relation between the interactants; and the textual meaning which is provided by thesequential implicativeness, the linear sequence in which each fragment of a text createsthe context within which the next bit or chunk of the it can be interpreted. The lexico-grammar level is the responsible of turning the meanings into wordsorganized into grammatical structures; and the phonological-graphological one, is the onein charge of the realization of the text into sounds (phonology), or into graphemes(graphology).2) “The Happy Prince”, a short story written by Oscar Wilde was chosen to illustrateexamples to back up the theoretical content developed above. Firstly, we can say that this tale is a text but to make this assertion, it is necessary toknow if texture is present in this piece of writing, since it is the element that differentiatestext from non-text. To know if “The Happy Prince” has texture, it has to be cohesive andcoherent. We can say it is coherent because despite the context of the tale was built by theauthor, it can be understood due to the similarity with reality, since it is invented withelements of our real context, creating the own environment in which the story occurs,which means that coherence is present in it. Beiras Ximena, García Giménez Agostina
  3. 3. It is also cohesive, because it presents and internal organization of it that conveysmeanings and gives sense to the story, the elements are joined together forming a unifiedwhole. Besides, this short story arises as a product of social interaction, from the necessity ofthe writer to transmit meanings to the other interactants, to the readers, and isdetermined by the writer’s choices of what he wants to communicate and the social andcultural context. For example, in “The Happy Prince”, we will analyse such aspects ofcontext as field, tenor and mode, which are defined by the reasons mentioned above. Field: The topic of this text is a moral of how valuable is to make good deeds forothers, even when we sacrifice ourselves and our own lives, in favor of helping others,because God, will reward in the eternity of Heaven. Tenor: The participants involved in this interaction are the writer, who tells the story,and the readers, especially children, for whom Wilde wrote this short story. There is socialdistance, because the writer narrates a tale that the public doesn’t know, he has theinformation and he decides to share it with the readers, and he did that by telling it in aform a short story. Mode: The channel of communication is written, is a narrative text presented in theform of a short story. So, on the whole we can assert that this tale is a text, because texture is present, andresults from a social interaction, determined by aspects of context and the set of choicesthe writer does to transmit it.From page 15, in the short story, we took a fragment of a dialogue between the two maincharacters, the Happy Prince and the Swallow to develop the concept of sequentialimplicativeness.Here is the fragment: -“Who are you?” he said. -“I am the Happy Prince”. -“Why are you weeping then?” asked the Swallow; “you have quite drenched me”. Beiras Ximena, García Giménez Agostina
  4. 4. From this extract, we can assume various things from the context, for example thatthe Happy Prince, despite being called happy is crying and feels sad and hopeless, becauseof the question of the Swallow, “why are you weeping then?”. In fact, going back in thetext, before this dialogue, it is said “the eyes of the Happy Prince were filled with tears”.So, the meaning of this sentence creates the context within which the next one can beunderstood. Another example we found from this conversation is when the Swallow said to theHappy Prince “you have quite drenched me”, which gives us a hint that probably theSwallow was stood below the statue of the Prince because he got all wet due to the tears.This is also an example of sequential implicativeness, because going back severalparagraphs; we found the sentence that gives sense to what the Swallow said: “So healighted just between the feet of the Happy Prince”. Once again, this sentence creates thecontext within which the expression of the bird, “you quite drenched me” can becomprehended. Beiras Ximena, García Giménez Agostina

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