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1{'i{::jfi+j,<;: ,,:.;,.ijiilil?. :,i'',1jlir,..t,;.{ j:"{1,ii:f<?"S,f$ffi

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McCarthv. Michael 1 9 47 -
Discourse analysis for language teachers. (Cambridge language reaching library).
:::: 1. Language. Discourse. Analysis
I. Title

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1 What is disc:ottrse artalysis?
1.8 Written discourse
There are fearurcs which carr be ha'cilecr
by trre sincrair_coulthard ,sation. In Chapter 5 we shall look at some of their findings concerning the
structttre m<rclcl (the*rlr'inow,
at the encl seems to be jssues our extract has raised, as well as others of a similar type. This is not
ypl._.] bounda,rynarker, an<J.l,i,l;;;ir.r'rt.,.,r,;;,;;ir,. a
be seer as a foll.w-up to the ,,,,,, ,"nrri;, b;; ;ir;;; r",...rra
,." nrrn,
to say drat such findings must automatically have any implications for
language teaching, but some of them rnay.
conrplications. fhe stujerrt ,hn .rk, i.
answer fru,n th" l.:ri.,:r,
barnrarr comes i'arrcr t.risrrrpts
a'cr, if arrythirrg,
three people arc rarki'g "r,r,.i.r-r,.,,i, li.1r. n.,,,,, 1.8 Written discourse
,r,r.". l;';i;;;'r;.r. a crassroonr, ma.v
co'sider that the lecturer "i wourd
ha. lost ."lrrrrr ,".;;il;^j;;r..l,,lna *., "With written texts, sorne of the problems associated with spoken tran-
people were behaving of turn,."rr
cornplicatio.s of rhis ki'cr have reci marry scripts are absent: we do not have to contend with people all speaking at
their a*entio' more t,, olrr".ui,rg fr.*"i;";,f" discourse-rirJ"lJ*
arralysts to devote once, the writer has usually had time to think about what to say and how to
cooperate in thc nranagemenr of
b"1.,"* ,n.y say it, arrd the sentences are usually well formed in a way that the urterances
dl.ourr.j."ir,". ,rrr,-' a *ir*, of natural, spontaneous talk are not. But overall questions remain the
r_.uinru,r 19g3:"'.i*J",
building elaborate rnoJels
irr61 "r,rr,,.rr.".'irJ.
co'versationar behaviour 2g6). observ_ I same: wlrat norrns or rules do people adhere to when creating written texts?
crose ," i;;;
b..;;-;h; pr...*niii"'n of a ': Are texts structured according to recurring principles, is there a hierarchy
l sclrool crf analysts roughry
gr,rup.J,"ra.. irr. r'tante etrtnonrrtioiotogirtr,

th.Lrgh sociologists, rirttr.Jporigi;r; of units comparable to acts, moves and exchanges, and are there conven-
"t;; isvchnrogists
sigrrifica't co.rributions. rrii. .1ip."".];l;;
rrave arso made
tional ways of opening and closing texts? As with spoken discourse, if we
an Arnericalr phcrronrc'or1 a'd it has ,io,".*.r"r_ do find such regularities, rnd if they can be shown as elemenrs that have
lv1lr' suc.h c.rcerrt.atcd o' areas of different rcalisations in different languages, or that they may presenr pairs of u*eri.ces ,.1.t.,tu.
l1::-.::l pairs),
o'e a.or'er (the study of problems for leamers in other ways, then the insights of written discourse
how rur'_rakirrg is rnaragecl, lr,r; ;;;;;;;.i;;;;i
ir61s and closi'gs .T-..11..r:d,'irr* analysis might be applicable, in specifiable ways, to languag'e teaching.
conversatiou, and hc
,"lri* e'rer "0.,r_
a.d disappear fronr In Chapter 2, we shall consider some grammatical regularities observable
r1..-p1.,.,*;'.,,.,,i-,.'1'"1-til.'r,ili:: j;lij'l,?tj;,'".,,,',: j,tjlf',jll in well-formcd written texts, and how the structuring of sentences has
observirg how peorrle.orient t<-r,rr. a.'^"a, implications for units such as paragraphs, and for the progression of whole
of the speech event. we shall texts.
shall also look at how the grammar of English offers a limited set
look rrrore rlosrllv ar this kirrcr <,r;;;;;;nar.arrarysis
thc strrde'r -lcctrirc,- ,tr,. .**^.,-;b;;;;;;,,,.,1ifi.. i' chapter 5, but of options for creating surface links between the clauses and sentences of a
wlrich data can be clealt with.
:;,;,;';'i,,.' *ry, i,, text, otlrcrwise known as cohesion. Basically, most texts display links fronr
Because t'e lecturer and' sentence to sentence in terms of grammatical features such as pronominali-
are not i'tlre crassro.rn, studenrs, sation, ellipsis (the omission of otherwise expected elements because they
well as le*urer, feel free tc, raiie new topics. as
S1 asks .t",rf ,t. ,i"ii.lub, are retrievable from the previous text or context) and conjunction of
bLrt he is hesitant' ancl stutters sonrewhat
in rris cluesti'n; such hesitancy is a various kinds (see Halliday and Hasan 1976).The resources available for
significa.nt detail' a.d is a typicar rigtt"t
uia.r.rence. The re*urer feers free grammatical cohesion can be listed finitely and compared across languages
to overlap with his rnr*.. befoie the rr;l;;;;l;.r"n,rii.i'r0".'ir.,"r.
Tu.r-taki.g rights are excrcised, with p.r;,r.-i"ki,rg for translatability and distribution in real texts. Texts displaying such
rurns at tark w^hen they cohesive features are easy to find, such as this one on telephones:
feel they iave the rigrrt t. ,"y .onr.t.,img.
For example, the ba'nan
co'siders his right to continue ,ir.^riig (1.23) lf you'd like to give someone a phone for Christmas, there are plenty
rransactio' to override the
group's conversariou, and the three to choosc from.Wbicheueryou go for, if ll's to be used on the BT
stu.rerrtr'"lr f..i ;il, L""1" .o"rr
right to conrme,t on the'lectur.r'. ,.,',r.r-k'riour
rtr" price of the drinks. , [British Telecorn] network, make sure lf's approved * look for the
However, we nright arso orrserve ,tr.r rtr. label with a green circle to confirm lbis. Phones labelled with a red
rather rhan rtuJ.,'t to stutrent. r*irir
,.rtls alr directeJ^"..r, triangle ere prohibitcd.
'dominant speaker', a rrangover from
l;;;;rr. rhe re*urer is seen as
the .irrr.oom, whicrr the group have (Wlicli Decenrber 1989: 599)
only recently left? It is ro a.swer su.h questio,rs
exami'e large amounts of data tu
that.;i;;;;;;ffillogir* The italicised items are ali interpretable in relation to items in previous
..gul., p";r;;;;';;';iri"i,"r. sentences. Plenty is assumed to mean 'plenty of phones'; yoll in the first and
that mighr i'dicate adhere'ce a .rures'
""J..iyiug"irorn.,, or of conver- second senteuce are interpreted as the same 'you'1 whicheuer is interpreted
1 \\hat is discourse analysis?
1.9 Text and interDretation
as'whichevcr rclcphone'; it is.rrcrerstor,,cr
as trre tercprro'e, a'd trtisas.the .i'no exception: they create links across seutc.ce boundaries and pair and
fact that it is.ap.proved'. These are features
,,i gr",rr,r" co'esio', but i'chain together itcms that are related ( referrilrg to the same entity).
there are fexical clrrcs too: go,
[,,1 ,k. a.synorrynr
lexical reperition o( phone, aircl of lalrcl. -")
of cltctose, arrd there is i' But readi'g a text is far more complex than that: we have to interpret the
i ties and nrake se'se of thern. Making sense of a text is arr act of interltreta-
tion thar clcperrcls as nruch on what we as re aders bring to a tcxt as what the
author puts into it. Interpretation can be seen as a set of procedure-. and the
Reoder octivify 6 rO approach to the arralysis of texts that emphasises the mental activities
Pick out the cohesive iterns. between crauses involvecl in intcrpretation can be broadly called ltrocedural. procedural
extract in the sarne tvay as was done for
arcr serrtences
-" in this rext approaches ernphasise the role of the reader in actively building the world
the telephone **r, of the text, based on his/her experience of the world and how states and
(1.24) British r'en are a pr*ry.traditi.'ar bqnc',
wrrerr ir c.nres to shaving; events are characteristically manifested in it. The re ader has to activate such
two out of threc use a blacle ,.,"1,, rather than ,,'' knowledge, make inferences a,d consrantly assess his/her interpretation irl
irr their ,".r.r, "i;;.;i;;;".,
Which? readers are r.nore co'ti'e'ral
f ,f the light of the situation and the aims and goals of the texr as the reader
y0u use an erectric shaver, ab.ut the
sal'e pfoportrorr"rn,,nJ'nrf
as irr the rest of .- perceives thern. The work of De Beaugrande and Dressler (1981) is central
t u rope.
For wornen, s.having is by far the nrost popular
j to this approach. If we take a rexr which is cohesive i' rhe sense described
nrethod of above, we can see that a lot more mental work has to go ou for the reader to
removirg body_'air. g5 per ce'r <>f
W'hich? *unr",l ,"nJ"r, *t,,,
rcurovcd bocly hair told us that they used make it coherent:
a shaver.
(W/rlrlri Deccnrbcr I 9g9; 6 l3) (1.25) 'Ihe parents of a seven-year-old Australian boy
weke to find a giant python crushing and trying
to swallow hirn
The incident occurred in Cairns, Queensland
and the boy's mother, Mrs Kathy Dryden said:
N.ticc that, whe' talkirg of corrcsion irr the tcrcpho'e 'lt was like a horror movie. It was a hot night
text, we spoke .f
tnterpretirrg itenrs a'd understa'dirg theln. r trrs rs and Bartholonrew was lying undcr a mosquito
co'esive itenrs are crues.r sig'als rito r',o* 'nportant
because the . net. He suddenly started screaming.
rhe texr,i.,;;l; L.";;i, r1.,., 'We rushed to the bedroom to find a huse
are not abso.-rtes. The. pro'tun it onry gives snake trying to strflnglc him. It was coiletl
us the inforr'atio' that a around his arms and neck and was going down
entity is beirig referred to; ii,r-o.. ,rot necessariry
orre. l, coLrld pote'tially have r"f.rr..i ro
teil us which his body.'
Cltr.istntas i,r,ti.;i;;;;i.*r, Uu, Mrs Dryden and her husband, Peter, tried to
that would have produced a'i'coherenrr.n.iing stab the creature with knives but the python bit
ofthe text. so cohesron is a guide ro coherence, ancl cohererr.. ir runrJtrri,rg the boy several times before escaping.
ir the act of reading the rext. c.herence i, ,1.,. r..ii,rg-rrr"i.;^;;J;,, ,rr. L"a*
"'r*i i""g,
(front'l'he Birmingham I'ost,'12 March 1987, p. 10)
together, that it makes serrse, a'cr is_ not
;'ust a ju'rble of ,.nt.n.., 1r..
Ne.uba.uer 1983:7). The se'te'ces'crare
rrves p'tatocs. srre was born i' This text requires us to activate our knowledge of pythons as dangerous
Irelandj are cohcsive (crarershe), but are creatures which rnay threatcn human life, which strangle their prey and to
.oh.r.,r;'ti ;;; Iir.ray
shares the srcreorype ethnic associ"ti,r,r "nly being
b1t*..r whose presence oue rnust react with a certain urgency. More than this we
potatoes' or rs prepared to assume a cause--effect make the cognitive link between 'a hor night' and the time of the event (this
relatiJnship u.t*..n tt .
two sentences' so cohesion is o'ry part of coherence is implicit ratl.rer than explicit in the texr). The boy's screaming must. be
in reading and writing,
and incleed i' spoke. language too, for trre sa're taken tn be a consequence of the python attacking him (rather than, say,
processes operate there.
prior to the arrival of the pyrh<in). The 'creature' must be taken to be the
python rather than the boy (which 'crearure' could well refer ro in another
1.9 Text and interpretation
text), since parents do not normally stab their children in order ro save dreir
lives. All this is what the reader must bring ro any texr. What we are doing
Markers of various kinds, i.e- the linguistic
signals of sernanric and dis- in making these cognitive links in the text is going further than just noting
course functions (e.g. in Engrish the -ed"on
are very much concern.ed with the surface
th. uJ.b i,,"r;;i.;;;iprrii.rrr, the semantic links between cohesive items (e.g. credture: general super-
the text. cohesive markers are
'f ordinate, slafrs : genus/superordinate ,ltython = species/hyponyrn); we a re
1 What ii discourse ahalysis?
1.9 Text and interpretation
creating coherence (see De Beaugrancle
aricl Dressrer r9g1: G-r2,31-47). reader and text or author might be able to capture difficulties
various procedures that rnecriat"e berween The
cohesion a'd coherence wiil be in text processing and offer ways of attacking them.
s experience
rerrrrrredtoingreaterdetair inse*iorrs
6..4J,asthir"..",rft.*-i a-iarysisis ;i'The approach to text analysis that ernphasises the inrerprerive acts
obviously crucial in a'y cliscot,,..-b.J
A'othcr level of irrerprrerariorr whicrr wc arc to reading a'd writi'g. involved in relating textual segments one to rhe other through relationships
' irvorvecr i,,;;; process such as phenonencsrx-redsorx, cduse-consequertce, instrument-achieuenrent
texts is tlrat of recognisil4;, / extudr pdrturr,r.
c".r"in patrerls irr text reoccur and suclrlike is a clause-relational approach, and is best exemplified in the
tir.e and tirne asailr ,,rd't.come i".piy]tgr"i.ed
k'owledge. These patterns are manife.r.a
as part of our curturar of rrVirrter (1977, 1978) and l{oey (1983). The lthenontenon-reasorT
i,, regurarry occurri'g functional :elation which united the two sentences of extract (1.25), along with
retationsh ips betwien
?l:i "t,t we
sentences or groups of setttences;
.,.ri. i',";; ;?;';y; oi.llo'.lr"r.r, iiulse-consequence and instrument-achieuement, can be brought unler the
shall refer to them as textual segnrct neral heading of logical sequence relations. When segments of a texr are
to avoid confusion with gr',r."ti."t ts
within clauses and sentences. A segment "i.,rr.,,;;;J ;il# pared <rr contrasted with one another, then we may talk of matching
rnay sornetimes be a crause, Ielations, wlrich are also extremely common. Logical sequencing and
sometimes a senre'ce,.somerimes a
w'Lole paragraph; *lrrt i, l.Jorrrn, matching are the two basic categories <lf the clause-relational approach.
that segments can be isolatecl ,ri,,g i,
functio'al relations rhat ca. o..i." Lr.-r*"..r
;, ;;;;;;;';,lii. ,., .r
.li r"E.iJ is view of text is dynarnic; it is not just corrcerned with labelling what are
.rlly rwo bits of text. An times called the illocutiondry acts (a bit like speech acts) which
of scg're'rs coi.cicriug *irh s",rtcnces are rhese
trom a report oll rwo senre'ces individual clauses, sentences and paragraphs perform in a text, but is
a photographic exhibition:
rred with the relationships the textual segmenrs ellrer inro with one
(1'26) Thc strcss is on docu'rertary ancr rightry
so. Arty prrotographs are a
bore. l ,ir It would of course be wrong to suggest that all texts are like the two
('f he Guudian,2T October l98g:
senrences fronr the photo exhibition text ancl tl-rat the whole operation of
' The i'terpretatior reading was some sort of perverse guessing-game where authors made life
that_ makesnlost scrse is tlrar the relatio'srrip betwee'
tlre seco'cl se'rence and rhe first is trrar
difficult for readers. Texts often contain strong clues or signals as to how
tl. r".ona provides a re(tsonfor the li:we should inte rpret thC relations between segments; these are not absolutely
6rst. The two'ts are thereforetr-r-^"pir)r.,orretrct1-reasorxrelatio.ship
deterministic, but are sultporting euidence to the cognitive activity of
with o'e another. An exanrple of . ,"g,;;
co'srsring of more r'an one deducing the relations. For example, we may find in a text a senrence such
serrence can be seen in exrracr (t.27),i"h"."
first segnre't (se'rence r).ancr the r..;trJ;;;;re'r
th.,.1;;l;,;il;li,*J.n,t. as: 'Feeling ill, he went home', and here we would note that the sub-
(se'rences 2-5) is one of rl ordination of one element to another by the grarnmatical choice of joinirrg a
ltb.enomenor-exan.4tle; all of serte'.-es;:;i^". ,o b. .."J to a subordinate one is a characteristic
act of exemplification for the text to p"., .f rf,. i main clause device of cause-
make serrse. ", i' consequeuce relations; it is a signal of the Iikely relation, which would have
(1.27) Naturally, the pay for their to be reinterpreted if the sentence were 'Going home, he felt ill'. Equally, an
rhe more rhey want
ro rename their neighbourhoods. Suppose
y<r_u,ve iust .ough.i up
'rouses, author might help us with a con junction 'Because he felt ill, he went home',
{2s0,000 for an unspect".ula, h.rur. u,;;; ii or else use items of general vocabulary to signal the same relation:'The
area with loads of cachet. The estare a
f;;;;. :
y.i';:i "" reason he went ho,me was that he was feeling ill'. Other rypes of signals
yo u, ve pa i d a
H igh ga,e
that it's in Crouch Errd.
- i-',.;., ;i,'illl :: [*','iHn',,' :* include repetition and syntactic parallelism (using the same syntax in two
) or more different clauses to draw attention to a comoarison or contrast. for
(Simon Hoggart, The ()bseruer ,r, example). ln the sentence 'The politicians were in a huff, the industrialists
Mdgdzitrc, 1l March 1990: 5)
The interpretation of rerations between textuar were in a rage, the workers were in the mood for a fight', the parallelism of
segments is a cognitive acr * be * prepositional phrase' underlines the comparison
on r^e parr of ttre reader:If o,:licl,, b. ,,;;;.;.{i; ;; the 'subject
the text as it unfolds, such as (for extracr't.zq -
|l';riil;1?;l',11,,, o, .,' between the three groups of people. The clause-relational approach takes
tary; why?' L.r this sense, reading dre texr is o, documen_
the stress is all this evidence into account in its analyses.
rike a dialog". *irir'ri.
and the processing of two segments courcr
be seen as anarogous""rrr".,
to the
crearion of an exchanee in spoken discourse.
the author is a reality o"r an analyticar construct
ls not a question that can be
easily answered here, but a model w6ich
s,--qests this kird of interaction

28 29
1 What is discourse analysis?
1.10 Larger patterns in text
reader, just as the sn.raller clause-relation were, and in the same way, are
Reoderoctivity 7 *4 of.rcn signallcd by the sarne sorts of grarnmatical and lexical devices such as
subordination ancl para[lelisrn. In our coucoctccl tcxt, for instance, we havc
Here are sorne extracts fronr_rear a conl'urrction (but) indicating an aduersatize relarion, backward lelical
tcxts. Decicrc what ki'cr of reratio.
between segnlerrs separared t; exists reference to 'this problenr' (darnage caused lry X rays) and a forwarcl
; ,l;rii'i;'1,, ..r", ;;rJ.;;;r.- reference to thc solution (lead-lined pouches). Iloth readers and writers
supporting evidence such as syitactic "".h "n, need to be aware of these signalling devices and to be able to use rhe rn wheu
i. The BBC has put off a.rew corporate
atlvertisirrg carrrpaign due to necessary to process textual relations that are nor imntediately obvious arrd
aired this m.rrtlr; ext"i'g trr. ui.t,,", be
arrcr varues of both televisicrn to compose text that assists the reader in the act of interpretation. The
and radio. / A BBC spuk"inr"n
.l.ll."t.iy suggests that this may nor larger patterns such as the problerrr-solution pattern are culturally
be tlre appropriate tirre to
be teiling trre autlic'ce how ingrained, but they are often realised in a sequence of textual segmenrs
wonderful tlre Bceb is.
(The ()bscruer, l5 Novcrr:bcr
which is uot so straightforward as our concocted rexr suggesrs. The
19g6:,12) sequence situation-froblem-response-evaluation may be varied, but we
2' In llritarr' the porver t'e u'io's
adcrer{ arr cxrra dreacr, / which do normally expect all rhe elen\en;s to be present in a well-formed texr;
r'acle llri tish politics a.'fspecial .^r",, where the sequelrce is varied, signalling plays arr even more important part
.;;-',rr". c",,ii n",, r,.
l-hatcher was regarded il;;:i
,.r,r,"thi,rg uf'" r"u,,."t,rry expcrinrerrt. in signposting the text, that is, showilrg the reacle r a way round it.
rar'er like a carrary ^.
dow' ,rri,,".lri.,"fr . ;;; ;;i, ;iil.r;;.,.,
. " " "&'
'ur jU "
(tltr.srttrtl,ry fintcs Mj,tgrzirrc,
l)r.ccrrr[cr ltt79: 14)
Reoder octivity B r.O
Identify the elements of the problern-solution pattenl in these extracts from
advertisernents and note any signalling devices.
1.10 Larger patterns in text
pa*er's whicrr resularly .approach to text also co'cerns itserf witrr larger PEEII]{G WAIIPAPER, MUSTY SMETLS
occur in rexrs. lf w. .onsider a simple
following, which is cor.rco*ed for the text like the
;.k; ;;lii;;;;li:';.:1,'r, ,..
lil:::: ^.:l:lci',q
suDlect areas
whic' is found i' tru'drecls .f texts i,r;;;;
arrd culltexts: "r.i.,y .r
;iifl Rising Damp
(1'28) lMosr peopre like to take a carnera Rising damp, if not treated effectively could in time cause extensive damage to the
witrr them when they travel
abroad. But,all airports nowadays structure of your home, ruin decoration and furniture. Damp also causes repugnant
have X-ray security screening and
X ravs can damage fihn. one soiution mould and mildewy smells and could be a hazard to health.
,u , i, ,.-#lr,.r.
a specially designed,lead_lined pouch.
Th.r. ;.;;;;aJ:;.
prorect film from all but the strongest
X rays. Doulton Wallguard guarantee
The first sentence presents us with
a situationand the second se'tence
some sort of complication- or problem. with to cure rising damp
The third
to rheproblem and the hn.l ,.,.,t.n.|
,.";;;;;;;;riU., Doulton, the international
:i^t!1::t gives a por'r;rr-ri)iiio, " ,t specialists in ceramic technology have
tlle response' such a sequence of rerations"torrt'^"'j)'otir*lr"t"r,r" developed a unique ceramic tube
pattern' and probrem*sorution patterns that when installed in walls draws
aro extremery common in texts. moisture out and ensures it stays
Hoey (1983) a'alyses .uch t.*ts. i"
common rexr parre-rs' some of ;.;;^;;ril,
as well as some orher out for good. This tried and tested
process requires no structural work
which'we shalr reiurn
These la.rger parrerns which may ci.pi.. e. ;1" and is usually installed in just one day.
rr" r"n"J ln texrs (and indeed which
may constitute the whole text) aie the obyects.,f i";;;;;;;i"""Uu Guaranteed for 30 Years
rr,. >>
.1 I
\ilhat is discottrse analysis?
r l.LL Concltrsion

Further reading
2. In enginrering jargin rhere is a
phenomenon known as N.V,H. It Coulthard (19ti5) is an indispcnsablc introduction to discourse arralysis, as is Stubtrs
stands for noise, vibration and harshness.
Brown and Yule (1983) is a thorough and detailed survey, but is harder going
Yorr carr easily tcll ltow barlly yorrr At t Irc lror<l rlesigrr arrrl<lcvclopnrclrt because of its less obvious structure.
car sullcrs litrrr N.V.ll. by tlrc volurrrc ccntl c wc havc ;r r<xrrn wlriclr is krrolvrr Van Dijk's (198.5) collcctiorr of papcrs covcrs a vast rangc of arc;rs within discourse
at which you have to play yorrr radio
as tlrc arrcclroic cltarrrlter. It's here, orr
analysis; the introcluction scrs tlre sccne, arrd the plpcrs carl be tlippcd irrto
and thc way rhat. you fecl a{icr a lorrg according to arca of intcrest.
the rolling road, that our acoustics
journey. It's very tiring. Levinson (1983), although concerned with the broader field of'pragmatics', pro-
cngincers explore rrew techniques in
rudirrrentary crrrc is to fill thc vides a balanced criticisnr ofthe British, exchange-srructure school as against the
sound pt oofilrg.
car with sound dearlcnirrg rrratcrial.
American convcrsation analysis.
. -fhe rcsult
is a car tlrat rrever fccls G. Cook (1989) is x nrore recent book at an introductory level.
Everybody tloes tllis to solne exrent,
as i['it's tryirrg. Evcn at Arrtobalur speccls, For the original Birmingharl discourse n.rodel, Sinclair and Coulthard (1975) is still
cven Ford.
lvith the srrrrxrth V6 errgine ancl all unsurpassed, thotrgh extensiorrs and rnodifications as described i1 C<lulthard
But we believc tlrat preverrtion is rourrtl indcpentlcirt suspension, tlrc and Morrtgomery (1981) and Sinilair and Brazil (1982) should also be consulted.
better th:\rr cure. Aftcr all, with the perforrrrance is ef lirrtless. Further extensiorrs and moclifications are to be found in Carter and Burton (1982),
technology that we have at our disposal, Francis and Hunstorr (1987), and, specificaiiy orr the follow-up move, Hewrngs
waYs or' (987\.
::ilil ;lilicientinc More introductory reading on acts and communicative functions, as well as on
speech ancl writing may be found in Riley (1985).
(f ront The Sttnday Timcs Mtgazine, Schenkein (1978) is a serninal collection of American corrversarional analysis.
-10 l)ccenrbc r 1979, pp. 42,49)
On written text, I{alliday ancl l-lasan (1975) is esserrtial for the notion of cohesiol,
De Beaugrarrde arrd Drcssler (1981), though difficult in placcs, expands on the
procedural approach, while Winrer (1,977 and 1978) and Iloey (1983) are the best
works for the clause-relational rnodel.
1.11 Conclusion Hewings and McCarthy (1988) offer a summary of the clause-relational approach
'We with s6rme pedagogical applications.
have seen in this chapter that ciiscourse analysis
is a vast sutriect area Halliday (1978) contains much discussion on language in its social setting.
within linguistics, enconlpassing as ir does the ."+;,
"i ,r"i..,, ,,ra
Widdowson (1979),De Beaugrande (1980), Van Diik (1980), Neubauer (1983) and
written la'guage over and above sucrr ,,
clause or senre.ce. I' this brief introdu*ion
,1r;-r;;;i;i'of tr.,. Tannen (1984) are all useful soLrrces on cohesion/coherence.
wc hr". l;;k;.r ,ilu-rr"ro,rr" Reddick (1986) argues for the importance of personal interpretation in the analysis
erelysirg spcech.arrd writirrg ard iusr ,u,,,. of text structure.
:^1f ",f
partlcr.lrar *lodels we heve choserr to highlight. "rf.or'oi,hrr.
Tlrere is of course
a lot rnore
ro rooK at. tor example, we have trot corrsitlered tlrc
hig question of
discourse i' its social s+qing. In subseclue't chapters this we sharr return ro
and menrion the Hallidayan rnoder of language
as sociar action (see
Halliday 1978), looki'g at types of rneani'g i,riiriourr.
snrp wrrn tre uotron of register, the li.guistic "nJ
,iJ. ..r",i""-
features of the text that reflect
the social conrexr in whicfi it is producJcr. rt,i,
rna further ai*"rri"n or rrr.
approaches ourlined here will fornr the background
ro a reas;;;.iri rr,.
teaching as trrey are cJnve'tionaily understood: "r
f-tt':t "j,language
teueLs or Ianguage description (gramrnar, lexis and plronology)
and the
usc (reading, *iiti,,g, lisieni'g ,p.rt iqg-llifr*. *iff
also De suggestlons concerning teaching n-raterials "na
a'd proceduies whencver
it seems that discourse analysis ha, soi.,. .iirect bearirig;;;d;;;;;;.r.
2 Discourse analysis and granunar
2.2 Grdmmatical cohesion and textualitt
second sentence. \ff/here referenrs are withhercr
in this way, we can tark of
catapltoric referencr. r-his is a crassic ,r"ui.. fu. .t,g"gilrg ,rr.'r."d..,,
atrentiou; refercnts ca' be withhelcl for q.ite long srretches of text. Reoderoctivity 1 r'O
Exercises which docs i/ rcfcr to in these short extracts: a noun phrasc in thc text, or a
i'volve r'oking back i' rexrs ro firrcr the refere'r
exal'plc, a Irro,o'., havc_l'rrg'i-,"",., ..rr.,r,.,r,r'.ia of, for situation ?
first .".u,rJ"i",,gu"g.
teaching a.d testirrg. Usualry suc-rr ",ra l. A pionccring 'school-based rnanagement' progranr in Miarni-Dade
<.tr thetttca, be decoded
without major difficulty; oiher items such ^r"hlrrrrr,
as i, arcl rlr;r,rr"y-d.,r,o.. County's 260 schools has also put some budget, salary and personnel
troublesome because of their abirity to refer dccisiorrs in the hands of local councils, composed largely of teachers.
to longer stretches of text a'd
cliffuse prt-rposiriorrs rror rrecessnriti 'll's a recognitiorr that our voices and input are inrportant,' says
1.,"r.1,1,,..."b1.'by .;;;;;r.., i""r",i.,,
from the text' problenrs ca' arso aiir. *h.r. iunior highschool teacher Ann Colman.
lower-rever lea.rers are so
engaged in decoding the (Newsu,ee k, 17 October i988; 23)
crause or ,.'ri.,r.. irr", ,rr.y
ose sight of the links back to earrier "rr.r""..,
.r*r. nr; evicre'ce of locarcrifficurties iclea of deterring brrrglars with a big, ferocious hound * but
2. Like thc
hirrdering global proc.essing at given points in
the unfolli;;;;r;rr.r. carr't starrd dogs? For around {45 you can buy an automatic dog
should rror :rutonratically be'read'"r i'trir"nr a,rn."iii*'r"iil';:;;;,r, barking unit - Guard God, or the Bostorr Btrlldog, both available by
the discourse level. onlyifinrervenrior.r ar tr.," rever fails ti s;i;;]".g..", rnail order from catalogues like the ones you're sent with credit card
processirg proble'rs we bcgin to co'sider statenrcnts. You plug it in near the fror.rt door and its built-in
interve'tio' i' the forrn of
traini.g'discourse skills'to build-up rhe sort of p.rgnr"ti.;;;;;;;;'", nricrophone detects sharp noises.
how refere'ces are decoded, which murt, .fr., ,. (WDirDi Octobcr 1988: 485)
'reading/liste'ing'in ail, be the basis of effective
the.rearner's tirrr lrngu"g. too. Nonetheless,
trrere wiil
alwavs be cases where first ra'Fuage rkiil^i"g
teachers r.ay find thenrselves ii.uLg to irrrervene
r; ,t;;l;;.i"p.a, ,"a
ttirnake up r,,iirno.r-
conrings. That, 'however, is a prohienr area Matters beconre rnore conrplicated when wc look at tbis and that in
beyo'd ttr. puiui.* of thi,
book. discou rse:
Grammar teaclrers have lo'g been arvare recurrirg interference factors t)
with pronouns and reference,iLrch as the 'f 4\ You may prefer to vent your tumble dryer pernranently through a
Japanese teridency to.onrr'r. rr" non-opening window. Tbis isn't quite as neat, since tlre flexible hose
and she, the Spanish tende,cy ro confuse tii,
ar.rd yorrr, urJ'Ju"", ,rra
is rot much discourse analysts. can say to .rr. i.,or.'.u.;;;;;;;.r. ilr.*
remains visible, but if does save knocking a hole in the wall.
(Which? October 1988: 502)
lvhil 9an be (and often is not) directly i"rght abour a sysrem such as that of
English rs the different ways of refeiri'g"to tn.
air.o'urr. ilii ;; or (2.5) Only a hanclful of satellite orbits are known to be changing. Such
items such as it, this and trtat, which- clo
seem to translate"r. in changes are usually subtle and can be detected only by long-term
one-to-one way to other languages, even where 'otthese ,.. .lor.ll fogn"r.a olrservations. One exception is the orbit of Neptune's large moon
(cf. cerma', Fre'ch, sparrish). sonre e x:rrnples'r Triton, which is shrinking quite rapidly, That is because it circles
lrow ref
to segmenrs of discourse foilow in (2.3-5); the 6rst ere'ce i. o".
iterns refer
Neptuue in the direction opposite to the planet's revolution,
Halliday and Hasan (1976: 52):
gi"." uy gerrerating strong gravitational friction.
(Netu Scientist,23 January 1985: 33)
(2.3) It rained day and night for two weeks. The basernent
flooded and
everything was under water. It spoilt all our calcularions. These are written examples, but speech abounds in the same choices of i/,
Here l, seems to this and lbat. Surprisingly, conventional grammars do not give satisfactory
'the events of two weeks,, or ,trre fact that
and flooded', thar'rea.
it rained descriptiotrs of such usage (e.g. see Quirk et al. 1985:858). Discourse
is, the situatio. . *hol. .ar'rr.. ,r-,"" r"y , analysts have touched upon the area (see Thavenius 198! 167-9), and the
entity in that situation. ", "". insights of different analysts have a certain amount in common.
It is helpful, for a start, to return to the notion of discourse segments as
functional units, rather than concentrating on sentences (or turns in
2 Discourse analysis and grammar
2.2 Glammatical cc>besiott and textuality
speeph), a'd to see rhe writer/speaker as faced with a nr-rrnber of straregrc
choices as t. how t., ,.late.seg,nerts to o,r. (2.8), can nrake an entity into the focus of attention and create new foci
,.nurtr". .,rJ I;;-;r''..r.n, of attention as the discourse progresses. That, as in Linde's explanation,
t'em to rhe receiver' A sinrpre Jrnn,pr" iira"'r
how people reacted when asked to iescribe
" tlr.,.,erts. i". can be used to refer across foci of amention, and, as is suggested by (2.5),
that there. were sig'ificant differe.ces in the iirtributio' srre observed can push a propositiou our of central focus and marginalise it in some
of lr a'd that in way.
people's descriptio's. oue room or area *",
attentior', i.e. was the c'tity being tarked abour,"l*.y,,
.*..,rr'.?"."r.r The discussion of this one questiorr of discourse reference has been
,lr"iolrir-"i).r'p.irr."l". lengthy i'
order to exernplify the type of apprclach discourse analysrs take
mome't; pronouri'al refere'ces to the focus of
atte'tio' al,nosr to grarlmar, in that they look for patterned recurrences across different
always made wirh rr, lvrrile refcrences ,..,rr, ,iiff"r.ut
focuses of attenrion data and try to rclate rlre separate levels of analysis in a meaningful way.
used tbat:
Individual grarnrnatical choices are seen as significant in the staging and
(2.6) Ancl.the livirrg roor, was a very sr':rll organisation of rhe discourse as a whole, and not jusr as local problems to
with tw. winclows that
wouldn't operr and.things rike thar. A'cr it rooked'ice. be resolved within the bou'ds of the capital letter and the full stop. And the
L had a
t]ea[rttful brtck well_ same approach is valid not only for questions of reference, as we shall see
(2.7) You entered into a tiny littlc lrallway and the when we look at worcl order and tenSe and aspect choices,
kirchen was off that.
Extract (2.6) is all within ore focus of arte'rio. (the
rivirg roonr), while
(2'7) refers across fro'r one focus (the kitchen)
ro anorher (the halrway).
This is nor ro say Linde's con.rusions sorve the *rr"i.
Reoderoctivity 2 t4 ,

reterence problem; it is sirnply to. make the

point ,t., ..'1 u,r"n.*...a collect sorne examples of lf, this and that used as discourse reference items
granrrnarical questions ca' be resolved ar the
iir.ourr. l.u.l, inoi nru.t after the fashion of the examples discussed in this secion (any English-
good discourse analysis recog'ises the ri'ks
berwee' .liscourse"nJ
o.e"nlrrion language r)ewspaper should provide plenty of data). Do they fit the general
ard granrmatical choice. As such, discourse-lev"l inu.rtigrii-.,r'".."orr.n conclusion drawn above as to their usage in discourse? lf not, try ro
invaluable readi'g for teachers'l*ki;;" f".Iarswers to grammaticar 'rewrite' the rule.
An example of an err.r i. discourse reference frorn
a speaker
mav help us ro resolve the stiil u'concruded irru. 'o'-rative
oi;1,'irr ii)ili'iii,.rn,
writer is givirrg a chapter-by-chaprer sunrmary of his jirr..- LOOKING OU'TVARD: EXOPHORIC REFERENCE
tation, starting with the introducti-on: "'i"..liiy 'We
have mentioned the possibility of referring 'ourward' from texts to
(2'8) Introduction: It traces the dcvelopnrcrrts i' crialcctorogy in rece't
identify dre referents of reference items when backward or anaphoric
yea rs. reference does not supply the necessary information. Outward, oi .*o-
(Author's data 1989) phoric reference often directs us to the immediate context, as when
someorre says'leave it on the table please'about a parcel you have for them.
English here denrands ,Tbis rraces ...' or rhe full Sometimes, the referent is not in the immediate context but is assumed by
noun phrase The
lntroduction repeated. Neitrrer it nor that wilrdo. Ir;;.;;;i;riii^.." the speaker/writer to be part of a shared world, either in terms of know-
|. :::-O,li.l.n ""ry
entity lras already beerr marked r. th. f*u, of .ii.nrion, ledge or experience. In English the determiners often act in this way:
usua'y Dy uslng a derctic word (such as a, the, or nxy,
versions such as (2.9*11) are acceprable:
or thisltbat),so that (2.12) The gouernment Are to blame for unemployment.

(2.9) (2.13) She was using one of those strirnmers to get rid of the weeds.
The introducion is lengthy: ir covers 56 pages.
(2.10) It would be odd if someone replied to (2.12) with the question 'Which
This introduction is fine. It is brief arrcl precrse.
government?'. It is assumed by the speaker that the hearer will know which
(2.11) My introduction was too short. It had to be rewritten. one, usually 'our goverrrment' or 'that of the country we are in I are talking
'we about'. The same sort of exophoric reference is seen in phrases such as lle
can now conclude that it can'ot be used to refer
back to a, eutity u'less Queen, the Polte, the army, and in sentences such as '\i7e always take the
it is already the focus of attenrion, but this, i,r rh. .o..*i.J'r.iri""
", "r
2 Discourse analysis and gratnnur
2.2 Grammatical cohesion and textualitt,
car sirrce wc carr jusr put the kicls, the dclg a'd the luggagei'to
wnose Lr llas exact equivare'r t. F.ngrish the rrny nced
it.' A learner King trial iury
'o articlc_taught to have this adjourns with
cc'tral use of the explicitly..'orr thc othcr tr.,J,-.p"it .r, or
InrrgLragcswitlr exterrdcd rrsi.,f .refirirc :rrticrcs ,u ."r",.
situatio's whcre these rv'ultl rror be nrarkerl as definire in 1",,.r.i ,''"r,,, i,, transcript
tir'es produce wlriclr, t. thc rlrrglish car, sce' t.rir" Donnls Johnson
exophoric refcrence, srrch as'Do you likc thofolk,.r-,uri.?'*tr.n,ro,rruri.
to be heard (cf. 'Do you like folk nrtrsic?').
i. tflll, JURY in the trial of three collecting was for several purposes,
I people accused of conspiring to
- Exophoric refererrce (especiaily in thc press) is ofre' to a 'worrd of
or does the one whole aim have to
rnurder the Northern lreland be murder?"
discourse' con'ected with the cliscourse ,rf t1.,. ,,ro,rr.nt, Sccrctary, Mr l'om Kine, adiourned the judge said the Crown had to
but rrot directry. last night after rnore lhan ,"u"n
Brtish,popular newspaper headlines sonretirnes refererrces
prove an agreement to murder so
such as hours' deliberation. that the jury was sure. It was not
hat 'Jress. Queerr princess Di'. Here the reader 'rake is assumed 'ilrey sperrt the niqht
to have within sufficient to prove it as a possibility
followed certai' srories i' rhe press, and the refere'ce i, rik;-; Wirrchester crown court buildings,
anaphoric one' to a text separatecl in tinre arrtl space f.u,n
i;;;:rr,,g. where the trial is takihg place. Five
or probability, but it must be provei
beyond reasonable doubt.
ilr.'Jr.r.,rr. hours after they retired to consider
Native speakers ofter lrave difficulties with such refereuces their verdict, the judge recalled
havc o'ly bec' away fro.r the papcrs arrcl raclio .r televisio' "u.n'ii lhcnr L) answcr a question they had
for a week or [)ut to hrn tn a note.
two; the foreigu learrrer nray experie'ce eve u greater clis.rientatio'. 1'hat question was "Can we
An exanrplc of a tcxt refe rrirrg to srrch a,r ,rssi,nred s[arcd worlcl convict if we think the inlormation
is exrract
(2'14), which talks <tf
,'the e'ti,re privatisation programme,; readers are (front The Guardian,2T October 1988, p.20)
assumed ro kuow that this refcrs ro ihe British governrnent,s
sell-off i' l9g9
of the entire public rvater service into private i.,",r.1s,
(2'14) L,ighty per cenr of Brirair's sewage works are breaking poilution
laws, accordirrg to e refort to lre published this week.'' Exophoric ,peference directs the receiver 'out of' rhe text and into an
. l"he f.lfillinlr a govcrnrlcrrt pro'rise r. clcau trrc'r up will assurnecl slrared world. This idea of a sltared world overlaps with the idea
rrrr irrr. billiorrs, a'd put the entirc priuatisatiotr prograntnrc at risk. of a shared world built-up by sender and receiver as any diicourse unfolds,
(l lte C)bseruar,4 l)cccnrbcr l ggg: -1) and for this reason, some lirrguists see no real distinction between ana-
Exophoric refere'ces will .ftcn be t. a w.rld shared lry se'der a'd phoric and exophoric reference (e.g. Brown and yule 1983: 201), since both
proceed on basis of an assurnption by the sender that the receiver is, ar
recei'er o_f the linguistic nressage, regardless of cultural br.lgro*rd,
but any poirrt in time, availed of all the k'owledge necessary to decode any
equally often, references will bc cr.rlture-bound antl outsicle tlr.'.*p.ri.n..,
reference iterns. But for practical purposes the distinction may be a useful
of tlre language learner (e.g. British refereuces to the city, tr,e ciarirrilor,
and so on). Irr these cases the learncr will one to retairr as it enables us to evaluate to what extent anr discourse is
rn.on.ul, run.,. rorr.. of self-containecl, supplying its referents internally, or to what extent it
encyclopaedic infor'ration .r ask an i'forma.t.'eed
This aspect of l;;g;;;; depends heavily on external, culture-specific real-world referents.
learning is a
_gradual farniliarisatio' with the cultural conrexr it rz.
Language teachers and materials writers will need to r'onitor
cultural exoph'ric refere'ces in texts chosen for teachirrg to ensure tff"t
th. Consider these opening lines of a news arricle:
referential bLrrden is nor roo sreat.
(2.15) she claims Leo Tolstoy as a dista'r cousin. Her grandfather was
Alexei Tolstoy - the fanrous ,Red Count' who sided with Lenin's
revolutionaries. Now, Tatyana Tolstaya has put pen to paper, in her
Reoder octivity 3 r.0 case to demonstrate that sonleone frorn the family can write
cornpactly. In her stories of ten to twelve typewritten pages, ,l
Find exophoric references in the followiug extract and consider whether
they are likely ro create culrural difficulties for a learner of Errglish.

4o 41
2 Discourse analysis and granunar
2.2 Cranunatical cohesion and texhulity
try to show thc wlrolc lifc of e 2.2.2 Ellitsis and substittttion
::ir^"]l,l* Person fronr birtlr to death,,
slle savs-

2l Scptcrlbcr Ellipsis is the ornission of elements rrorrnally required by the grammar

lNerunueek, l9U7 : 12)
which the speaker/writer assumes are obvious frorn the context and
we do nor esrablish wlto she is untir thc sccorrd scurc'ce. Forward-rooking therefore rreecl lrot be raised. This is not to say that every utterance which is
or cataphoric rcfere.ce of this kirrcr oftcrr irvorves p.o,r,r,,rrr-i*i"i, I not fully cxplicit is elliptical; rnost messages require some input frorn the
i'volvc.thcr rcfcrcrrcc iterrrs t'., such as thc clef ite article: ."n
contcxt to tttakc scttsc of tlrcnr. Ellipsis is clistirrguishccl by tltc structtrrc
(2'16) 'I-he tiyt
would hardry Irave bee' noteworthy, except for tbe ' having sclme 'nrissing' elemenr. If two people have to stack ancl label a pile
wlro nrarle it. In ilid_July a powerful Amcricarr
I ,of items aud one says to the other 'you label and I'll stack', the fact that
"^ .''"'"
fiuancier flew to :, label and stack are usually transitive verbs requiring an object in the surface
Mexico city for a series of tarks rvitrr high-rever,.,t
incltrding presiderrt Migucl cle la M:rclrii a'd lrir-iin"n."
oli.i"rr, structure is suspendcd because the context 'supplies' the object. Another
Gustavo petricioli.
;;i;,;;;; way of sayirrli tlris is, of course, that structures are only fully realised when
f, they need to be, and that el[ipsis is a speaker choice made on a pragmatic
2l Septcrnbcr l9g7 : 44)
assessment of the situation, llot a compulsory feature when two clauses are
Iloth exarnples of cataphoric refere'ce were fou'cl in joined together.
the same issue of
Newsweek, which u'derlines the mosr clraract"ristic !fle shall coricentrate here on the type of ellipsis where the 'missing'
fun.iio" ;i-.;;;;"".
refe.rence: to eugage and hord the rearder's element is retrievable verbatim from the surrounding text, rather in the way
with a 'read o' a'cr find
"rr.*i.rn exarrlPlc,5
our'nressage. Irr ncws stories arrcl irr literaturc, that anaphoric and cataphoric references are, as opposed to exophorrc
of cataphoric
referetlceareoftetrfoundirttheo;lerring,.,',..,'..,.,i,h:;;;. references. For example:
(2.17) T'he chilclren rvill carry the small boxes, the adults the large ones.
Reoderoctivity4 *.0 '
where 'will carry' is supplied from the first clause to the second. This type
of rnain-verb ellipsis is anaphoric; in English we would not expect:
Identify the cataphoric reference iter'a'cl its referc't in this extract: (2.18) "'fhe children the srnall boxes, the adults will carry tlre large ones.
It lras often b..n.onlp"r"cl to New Orlcans,s Marcli Gras
outdoor celebrati<rn. Certainly Ncrv york,s Mulberry
as an though sonre kind of analogous structure does seem possible in Japanese
Street and (sce Hinds 1982: 19 and 48). Ellipsis as a notion is probably a universal
surrouncling blocks have been as crowcled over tlre l"st
.' f.* .1"y, feature of languages, but the grammatical options which realise it in
I{oyal and Bourbo'srreers in thc Frcnch (]uarter are ",
for the _Mardi
Gras.. More than thrce nrillion people are estimeted discourse lnay vary markeclly. For instance, English doeshave the kind of
to have
celebrated the 6lst a.'rral Feasi crithe San Gerrrraro cataphoric ellipsis suggested by our rejected example (2.18), but usually
ao*,., ii
Greerrwich Village since it lregan on Thursclay. only irr fr<rrrt-placed subordinate clauses (see Quirk et al. 1985: 895):
('fhe Guordiau, 15 Septcnrber 19g7: 23\ (2.19) lf you could, I'd like you to be back here at five thirty.
English has broadly three types of ellipsis: nominal, verbal and clausal.
Nominal ellipsis often involves omission of a noun headword:
cataphoric refgrence is the reverse of a'aphoric reference
and is relativery
(2.20) Nelly likcd tlre green tiles; myself I preferred the blue.
straightforward, but language learrrers roay la.k aware'ess The Rornarrce and Germanic languages have this kind of nominal ellipsis
or confidence to
put it i'to use in constructing t.*tr, need to have the fearure and it should not present great difficulties to speakers of those languages
too, 'ray
explicitly taught .r exercised. 1h... ir, ^,r.i trre danger of it, ou..ur. o, it, learning English.
use in unnatural coutexts. As always, it is a questioriof
traiuing the learne. Ellipsis within the verbal group may cause greater problems. Two very
to observe fearures of language above serrence rever
*h.rl ,i*1 n-,i*i-', no, common types of verbal-group ellipsis are what Thomas (1987) calls
necessarily be automatically transferred from Ll,
especiaily rii.., in echoing and auxiliary contrasting. Echoing repeats an elemenr from the
English, reference often ir.rvorves the definite articre
ani a.n-,onrirrnu.r, verbal group:
which do not rranslate easily into many other languages.


2 Discourse analysis and grammar 2.2 Grantmatical cohesion and textuality

(2.21) A: Willanyone be waitirrg? dirlrr't answer; only looked at the swings with arixiety.
l3: Jim arrl/, I should think. 'l sometimes wish,' he said, trying hard to ernpty l-ris nrouth, .I
Contrasting is wherr the auxiliary changes: could ioin irr rnyself.'
'I3ut yon wouldrr't?'
(2.221 A: I Ias shc rcmarricd ?
'Wlry not?'
B: Ncr, but she u,ill one clay, I'm sure. I-le saw thc sudden clrallenge in lrer eycs. And was that r srnilc
sonrewlrcre in that lreld-aloft face?
Thomas also rnakes the point tlrat in E'glish, varyi.g dcgrees 'Well, if you fcel that rvay . . . ?'
of ellipsis are
possible within the sarne verbal group: ' '- rvhy dof t yo:u?'
'Why clorr't l?'
(2.23) A: Should ar)y one have been told?
I): John ; should. (Grrhrrrr Srvift, Tbe Su'eet Sbop Otrnrr, Pcnguin Books l-inritcd, 1986: 27)

I should have.
I should have bcen.
These varianrs are rlot directly trarrslatable to other la'guages other aspecs of ellipsis that are difficult for lear'ers occur in rhe area
and will have
to be learnt. where ellipsis overlaps with what is often treated under the grammar of
with. clausal eJlipsis in Engrish, i'dividuar clause erements rnay coordinatiort (e.g. 'goats' milk and (goats') cheese', 'he fired and (he)
omirred; especially colnnlon are subject-pronoun omissions missed the target', etc.). Once again, specific rules of realisation may nor
. (.doesn,t
matter', 'hope so', 'sorry, can'r herp you', erc.). whole stretches overlap between languages.
oi .inu.rt
components rnay also be onrittec{: Substitution is sirnilar to ellipsis, in that, in English, ir operares either at
(2.24) Fle said he,uvould take early rcrirerncnt as soon as
nominal, verbal or clausal level. Thc itenrs conruronly used for substitutron
he could antl he in English are:
One(s): I offered him a seat. He said he didn't wanr one.
For this type of scntence, many.languages
will require at the very least some
kind of subsrirute for the main verb-ard a,., otject pro,,u,-,,.,' such as Do: Did Mary takc that lctter? She rnight have done.
to Solnot: Do you need a lift? If so, wait for me; if not, I'll you there.
produce a form roughly equivalent to .He said h" woulcl see
take early Sante: She chose the roast duck; I chose the same.
retrrement as soon as he could and he has done it.,
Ellipsis not o'ly creares difficulties in learni'g whar strucural omissions Most learners practise and drill these items in sentence-level grammar
are permissible, but also does not seem ro be readily used even exercises. They are not easily and directly translatable ro orher languagcs.
by proficient
Iearners in situatio's w^here native speakers naiuralry ,.rori Many common, everyday substitutions tend to be learnt idiomatically (e.g.
i,-i, 1r.. responses such as'l think/hope so'). While it is easy to formulate basic rules
Scarcella and Brunak l98l).
for substitution, at more advanced levels of usage, subtleties emerge that
may be rnore difficult to explain and present. For example, there are
Reoderoctivitys *.O restrictions on reduced fornrs which might otherwise cause stress to fall on
the substitute do, which is normally prominent when it stands alone,
as opposed to auxiliary do in ellipsis, which can be srressed (e.g. 'Did you
Identify exarnples of ellipsis in these extracts:
win?''Yes. I DID!'):
1. Most stucle'ts start each terrn with a'awarcl cheque. Buf by the
accommodation a_nd food are paid for, books are bought, trips (2.2s1 A: Will yor-r unlock the gate?
ho're and a bit of social life lived, it usualry rooks pretty .ma.i"t.d. B: I HAVE done already.
'r I've DONE already.
(Advertisement for Barcrays B',tk, Uniuersity of Birnringhan Builetin,5 December
1988:5) Where the speaker does wish to give prominence to the substitute do, then
so is used as well:
2. 'You like watching children . . . ?' her tr.e see'red to say: .you,re
like a child yourself.' (2.26) I went to lock the gate. When I got there, I found somebody had
'Yes. Don't you?' His clreek was full of cheese sandwich. already DONE so.

2 Discourse analysis and granunar
2.2 Grammatical cohesiott and texfiulity
our exanrl'rlqs of c'rripsis ancr substit'tir. have irrcrucle.|
spoken excharrges. This is because elipsis
a'umber of language, how are they distributed in speech and writing, what restrictio.s
.n.l ,u',rtiiutr-r'^rr,,".,. r", on their use are there which are not reflected purely through sentence
cortcxr; thcy pr.ceccr orr rrrc 'basis thar t>nritrccr "
ll:: *
elements irrc easily recovcrable, arrcr arc
arcl substirured analysis, and what fearures of their use are inadequately explicated in con-
trrcrcf<lre r.'"*..r i,r-'rp...r., ,rru_ ventional grarnmars?
ations where a high degree of c.'tcxruar
su'p.rt is avairabre. we shail In fact it is uot at all easy to list definirively all the items that perform
return,to thcrn bricfly in section 5.9, whe'
wc cliscuss ,.rir"r-.o,rrrirur., the conjunctive role irr English. Single-word conjunctions rnerge into
natural specclr.
phrasal ancl clausal ones, aud thcre is often little cliffcrcnce betwicn the
It is sonretinres difficult to scparate thc
types of c.hesio', ard it linking of two clauses by a single-word conjunction, a phrasal one, or a
rnay seenl questi'rrable at.tirrres why lirrguists
scparflte such w<lrcls as the lexical item sornewhere else iu the clause, a fact \rVinter (\977)bas pointed
pronou. it arrd the s'bstitute o,e. f'heie.r.,r""..r,r.
satio.s: for exanrple, s,bstitutes ca. be rnocrific.d.('a
for suclr."t.go.i out. For exanrple, (2.27-30) signal the cause conse(1ue,rce relaiir.,n rn
*.i;;"', ,;;r;',urf
corner') and as such nrc true sulrstitutio,, whire il, ,n.y1

several ways:
p.o,.,.r,,n., ,,,rJi" I rr.y
nrodified in this way, (,, ,a red it', ,, .thc ir irr t'".corn (2.27) IIc was inse'sitivc to tlre gro'p's rreeds. C.'se4uently tl-rere wes a lot
er,) co_re[er[.,ut.lo ,,or1
really substitute for'ou' prrrasc's t'ro*.u".,-rn of bad feeling. (single word conjunction)
lnng,,rg" iJ*rri"g,'
may be good reas.'s t. briirg diffcrerrt catcg.ries (2.28)
t.gerher, for irsti.ce, tf Hc,,vas insensitive to the group's neecls. As d corceqt4ence there was
corltrasr backwarcl refererrce to arr i'dcf ii.
pencil? "''t"..'.r.r;;
Yes, I need one.') with reference to. Jelr'ite i;; y., ,r."a a krtof bad feelirrg. (adverbial phrase as corrjunctiorr)
yes, a'rececre't (,Do you" (2.29) As a consequence of his insensitivity to the group's needs, there was a
need the pencil? I need ir.').
lot of bad fceling. (adverbial plrrase plrrs norninalisation)
(2.30) -l'he
bad fceling was d consqquerrcc o/his inserrsitivity to the group's
Reoderoctivity 6 ?-0 ncecls. (lexical item within the predicate of the clause)
There are clearly differences in the way the speaker/writer has decidecl to
The sertcrrce bclow occtrrred irr a rctter of rcfcr-errcc
[or s'rrcrrre appryrrrg package tlre information here. Note how (2.29) and (2.J0) enable the
[or a job,,writterr by a'.rr-rrarivc spcaker. wlrat rrristake
lras the writer inforrnation to be presented as one sentence, and how (2.30) enables the, and what explanation rnight a ranguagc
reacher.rr.r r.'ir.rp rrr. front-placing of 'bad feeling', a feature we shall return to in section 2.3
writer avoid the error in future?
below. A true cliscourse grammar would examine the options for using'X is
If you require furthcr inforrnatiorr on, tlre applicant, I would be a consequence of Y', as opposed to 'Y occurred; as a consequence, X
pleased to do so. occurred'. We would almost certainly find ourselves in the realm of infor-
(Author's data l9ll9) mation structure and the speaker/writer's assessment of what needed to be
brought into focus at what point, and so on (see the discussion of theme
and rheme below).
Haf liday (1985: 302-9) offers a scheme for the classification of coniunc-
tive relations and i.clucles phrasal rypes as well as single-word everyday
items such as and, bnt, or, etc. l-lere is a simplified list based on Halliday's
2'.2.3 Conjunction three categ<rry headings of elaboration, extensiott and enhancentent:
include conjun*ion here in our discussion
of grammaricar contri-
brtio's to.textuality even. though it is somewhat diffeienr Typ" Sub-types Exantples
ellipsis a'd subsritution. A conjirn*io' croes ,ot elaboration apposition
ser off a search backward in other words
or forward for its referent, but it does pre-suppose a
sigrals a relationship between ,ugnl.nti uf t1",. ,rrscot,rs..
,.+"".., clarification or rather
""a extenslon addition and/but
. Discourse aralysts ask the same sorts of questio's about conjunctions as variation alternatively
they do about other srammatical itenrs, what
,;i;;;;;i;; oi.,l r" .r.",r", etrhatrcemerrt spatio-temporaI there/p reviously
discourse, do the categories a'cl realisatio,r, diff.. frfil-i";;;;;;; ," causa l-conditional consequently/in that case

2 Discottrse dndlysis ant! grammar
2.2 Grantmatical cohesiott and textuality
The full list appears in Halriclay (19g5: 306), ancr co'rai's over forry
conjunctive irerns; eve. that is rrot exrrausrive. bo trrc Wind power. Wave power. Solar In fact, it now accounts for
task f;;;.,;i"ngu"g. power. Tidal power. around 2O% of Britain's electriciry
teacher is rrot a snrall rrre. Iiowevcr, *tr",., *" ir,r['-.1^,*rrr^i'ta^r", oroduction. And it's one of the
Whilst their use will increase they
especially .spoke', we sce tlrat a fcw (arttl, are unlikely to be able to provid6 iheapest and safest ways to pro-
bttt, ,o, tf rr|
frcquent.'We can aisc, c,t,serve the wiie use ^ua large amounts of economic elec- duce'electricitv we kndw for^the
1::^:"":*h.lrningly of and, tric-ity. Generally, the,cost of har- Iuture.
wrlere the rearrer/risteuer carr strppry acrditive, adversative
tenrporirl dcperrclirrg orr cirritext'al i'forrnatiorr,
, car-rsal ancl nessrnS tnelr Power rs nu8e. What's more, world supplies of
', .r'i,' iz.ii-:+1, However, tlrere is a more practi- uranium are estirnated to last lor
(2.31) She's irrtclligcnt. Arrcl she's very rcliable. (aclditivc) cal, reliable and economical way of hundreds of years, which will give
ensuring electricity ficr the future. us more than enouRh rime to
(2.32) I've lived hcre ren ycers rntl I'vc rrcvr-r h.arcl of that pub. And tlrat is through nuclear develop altematives ifvie need to.
(adversative: lltl coulcl substitutc) energy.
So, while some people might not
(2.33) It's not a new idea, of course.
He fell in thc river and caught a chill. (causal) We've been using nuclear electricity care about their chlldrin's furure.
(2.34) | got up ancl mrcle nry lrreakfast. (ternporal sequcnce) for the last 30 vea"rs. We do.
E9y"lly,- dre possible choices .f conju'cti.n will tfterr overlap in mea'ir.rg, (Advertisernerrt for British Nuclear Forum fronr'lhe Guardian, T October
with little overall cliffererrce: 1988,
p. t7)
(2.3s) A: Whrt aborrt this nrecting thcrr ?

I3: I nray go, ancl I uray not; it all clepenr"ls.

brrt 'When
we look at a lot of natural spoken data, we find the basic corrlunc-
tlrorrglr tiorrs ald, but, soan,J, tben ntuch in evidcnce, and used not iLlst to liuk
indiviclual utterances within tunrs, bur often at the beginning of rurns,
linking one speaker's turn with another speaker's, or linking back to arr
earlier tun.r of the currcr.rt speaker, or else marking a shift in topic or
Reoderoctivity 7 *4 sub-tcrpic (often with but).ln this sense, the conjunctions are better thougl.rt
of as discourse nmrl<ers, in that they organise and 'manage' quite extended
Look at the text on the,oppos.ite page ancl find conjunctions linking
stretclres of discourse.
sentences to o.e anodrer. using the sirnplified categorisaiio'
below, based An intere sting example of differences in data comes from Hilsdon (1988).
on Halliday and Hasan. (1976), can you ,"y *lit type of .onyun.tiu.
She conrpared spoken discourse of adult native speakers, young narive
relation is beirrg signalled in each casei
speakers and Zambian young adult learners of English, and found in her
Zambian subjects alrnost a complete absence of the use of and and but in
the characteristic ways we have just described that native speakers use
1. Adtlitiue (e.g. and, in addition) them. The reasons for the absence of this otherwise very common feature of
2. Aduersatiue (e.g. but, botueuer) spoken discourse in her Zambian data may be cultural, Hilsdon suggests.
3. Causal (e.g. becattse, consequently) Because is very frequer.rt irr spoken English, not iust to express the
4. Ten4)oral (e.g. then, subsequently) cause-effect relationship, but also to express the reason relationship.and as
a speech-act marker signalling a 'this is why I am saying this' function, as in
remarks such as 'this one's better quality, because we'll have to get one that
will last', where the quality of the item being discussed is not an effect of the
speaker's need to buy durable goods, but is sirnply a justification for
making the remark. Firth (1988) made a study of the distribution of such
'reason' markers in the speech of a mixed native and non-native speaker
group. He found that the non-native speakers exclusively used because to
signal the reason/justification relation, while the native speakers varied the
2 Discourse analysis and granundr
2.3 Thenre and rheme
sigrral, using because,'cos,.lihe ancl sce, irr tlris extract fronr a corver-
sation abour smoking ilr public placcs: ^s
In this scctio' we I'rave c'r.rsiclered devices under a general heading of
grammatical cohesion and textuality. other gralnmatical choices at the
(2'36) A: orrcc yo, srarr irrfringing u1.r'rr rhc berrcfirs,f rrrc.trrcr pcoprc, that,s clausc lcvel havc inrplications for the organisation of the overall discourse,
whcn yorrr pcrs.<rrral right is''rst. . . just /iirc, y,k;,;;,-;,.i,,1i";;' not lcast rhe ortlering of elernents in clauses and sentences, and it is to this
rights [rut yct y'know you c:r.rr'r kill arry_lrrdy .' we ll()w tunl.
. . !,nrirrrn ut urtl,,.ty
it's.i.fringirrg,f(), s()rnc'()(ly clsc,s rig'ts.'. . y,,,,.1,;;;,;,;;:i;-
rrrej.rity [.r s.rrrctrrir'l t() g() wrur]g. y,,r .rrry nt.t,J
l srrr:ril ,,,i,',urity
.. . sce, th:rt's rvhcrc I rnenrr tlr:rt's just rrot riglrt. . . ,.,rr.r,rr,rl"lur,
fills tlre roorrr.
2.3 Theme and rheme
(lrirth 1988)
Most lea.rers, when learning the granrnrar of a foreig. la.guage, spe'd
Differerces i' perfornrarrce data of these kirrcls are
ofte, the reaso' lvhy
time assirnilating the structure of clauses i' that language, i.e. where
even cluitc aclvanced-learner outp.t ca, sccrll r.rrrratural. subjects, objects aud aclverbials are placed in relatio' fo the virb, and what
one of the rna.ior
contributions of a'alysis rras bee' to c'rphasisc options are available for rearranging the most typical sequences. Discourse
,rr. .,rriyri, analysts are interested in the implications of rhese different srructural
real data, ancl thc sigrrificancc in cornnrurricativc
tcrrru .f "r
srnall words such
as comnro'.everyday nrarkers. Irr previorrs
li.guistic options for the creatiorl of text, and, as always, it is frorn the examinatiorr
tl;;;;;"r. of natural data that patterns of use are seen to emerge. sorne of the
too ofte, disr'issecl as u'ir'portarrt features .f .p".fo;"r;;;;.:"*ir,.n'air_
trected from dre business of iescribirrg u'dcrlyr'g 'c..rpererce,. structural options frequently found in natural data are ignored or under-
played i' language reachi.g (especially those fou'd in spoken data, which
are ofte. clismissed as degrSded or bad 'style'), probably orving to the
Reoder octivity B F.O continued donrinance of staudards taken frorn the writren codi. If the
Ccrrljdcr the followi.g couversari.rrrrr exrra* fro.r trrc desire is to be faithfr"rl to data, grammar teaching may have to reorient sorne
poi't of view of the
llse or co''n(tn, evcryday t'.r jrrrrctirrrs. wlrnt of its structural descriptions, while otl-rers already dealt with in sentence-
roles d. tircy pl:ry i. orgarris_
ing ancl rnanaging the drscourse ?
.exercises may be adequately covered in traditional teaching and
simply adjLrsted to discourse-oriented approaches.
(A and l3 have recourrting a scries of stories to C nbout gettirrg
.bcen English is what is ofte' called an 'SVo' language, in rhat the declarative
lost rvhilc drivirrg.)
clause reqrrires a verb at its centre, a subject before it and any olriect after it.
A: A.d arr.rrrer ti'rc, l forgct where thc viilagc was, but trrere was This is sir'ply a labelliug device which e'rables co'rparisorrs io be made
sharp turn at.the errd ,f this villnge, ,r,r.l r.yr'to hl,r.,-,ior-turr with declarative realisations in differenr languages, sorne of which will be
left l-rere', so he trrrnc.l lcft, into a school 'i.
vard. 'vso' or 'soV' la'guages. This pattern is ofte. recast in English, nor least
I1: Up a roacl irrto l school yarcl . . . they were all following
I rne. in i'terrogative strucures, where the verbal group is split by the subject
A: I it wasn,t so batl that, but they ('Does she /iAe cats?'), and in cases where the object is brought forward:
all followecl behind us you sce.
B: Thcnr rhar were behind me followcd nre. (2.37) l'he Guardidn, Joyce reads. OSV Object-fronted
C: Yeah.
B: I shoulcl have gone on rrrothcr twerrty yarcls.
See There are in Euglish a variety of ways in which the basic clause elements of
r\: I I]Lrt ir was getting back strbject, ue,rb, cornplenrentlobject, aduerbial can be rearrar-rged by putting
into the traffic streanr tl.rat was the clifficLrltv. differenr elements at the beginning of the clause, as illustraGd in 037) 6
B: I should have gone a few yarcls furtrrer on and th"rr turned (2.42). T'hese ways of bringing different elemenrs to the front are called
C: Aye, aye. deuices.
B: fronting
There's a T-roacl.
A: Oh. (2.38) Sornetirnes Joyce reads The Guardian.
B: And you see with thenr saying ,turn left,. ASVO Aduerbial-fronted
C: Yeah (laughs).
' (Author's data 1989)
(2.39) h's Tbe Gtnrdian Joyce reads.
Ir * be * C/O + SV lt-therne, or cleft (The Gtrardian here seems ro
ope rare sirnultaneously as complement of ls and as object <tf reads)

2 Discourse analysis and grdnunar
2.3 Tbeme and rheme
(2.40) What .foyce rcads is .f
lte Guartlian.
Bob takes the children out everv Satr.rrdav.
Iyh- + SV + be + Cl() Vlh-pseudo_cleft
Example: Bob, he takes the children o,.it .u.ry Saturday. (left clis-
(2.41) Slre reads 'I-be Guardian,
Joyce. placernent)
S(pronourr)VOS(nourr) Iligbr_tlisltloccrl stbiect
(2.42) The gardener lvauts to cut down thosc bushes this spring.
Joyce, she rcacis 'I'l.rc Grtardian.
S(noun)S(pronourr) VO Le[t_displocet! stiltject
strucrures-such-as (2.4r) a'd (2.42) arefar fro'r
irfreclue'r i'spoker.r data,
but are oftcn, for no obvi<rus rcaso'r, prese'tecr irr books .L"in,ng ,o We uow turn to the relationship lretween these in-clause stnlctures and the
des.cribe grammatical optiors for the 'ot
1..r,.,.r. construction of text. There are clearly restrictions on where and when these
-in other variatio's of word
order, are also preseut clata, though soulc. types uray be rarer (e.g. devices may be used when they occur in real discourse. Both (2.43) and
they ,,,"y b!, t ut r.louiit,i,,[if,.y,* ir"ppy,l. (2.44) sorrnd odel:
ir rooK agarr x[ our exam,res fro'r the point
-we of view of how the (2.43) Q: What tirne did you leave the building?
infornration in thenr is_preserrei, we can s"e how
diff.r.nioptionr".nrbl. A: What I did at five thirty was leave the building.
us to,focus. orr or highlig.t certai'
sonrething 'abo,r' 'flte Cuardiarr rarhcr rhan labour,
tZ.izi ,*,"."';;1; ;"r,"* (2.44\ Dear Joan,
(2'42) seern to be telli.g us sonrethirg 'about'J.yce. .1.y." ti.Cl Me, I'm siming here at my desk rvriting ro you. What's outside rny
This .aboutness, is ^na
sort.f rotiou discourse a'alysts .r-..,r,,..r,i.i *itlr, fu. it"i.-" windorv is a big lawn surrounded by trees and it's a flower bed that's
writer choice made ind.ependeutJy of the propositional rp""t .v in the middle of tlre lawn. rWhen it was full of daffoclils and tulips
centent of the was iu the spring. Here you'd love it. It's you who must come and
message; dre speaker/writer decidc.s how to 'rt.g.'
th. i,rf.;;;i;;;, irh.r. stay sollretirne; what we've got is plenty of room.
to start, so to speak, in presenting the rnessagc.
Love, Sally
In E.glish, what wc decicrc io brirrg_t,r'the frortt <-tf trre crause (by
wlratever means) is a signar of wrrar is to" be un<reistuo,r (2.43) is peculiar because 'leaving the building' is already 'giverr' in thc
", iii)*"re
wirhi' which what we wanr ro say is to rr. question; it is therefore odd that it should be 'announced' again in the
clause can the' be seeu as tra's'ritting 'what"ria..ri.ra."rir.'..rr'"r,rr.
we waut to scy withi' this answer. (2.44) contains a string of grammatically well-forrned senrences bur
framework'. Itenrs brought to front-piace i' this *.y
;. ;i"ii-..l ,i,. it is highly unlikely that such a welter of low-frequency clause patterns
(or topics) of tlreir clauses. Iir what h"s b..n ."rr.J'ir-,. would occur in one srnall piece of text. Moreover, it sounds as if the
'!?*n: of li'guistics, the relationship of rhe ther..e nr"g". postcard writer is answering questions nobody has actually ever asked,
school ro rhe resr of the sentence
is viewed as.part of comnunicatiue dynamism, trtati, such as 'lsn't it a pond that's in the middle of the lawn?' 'No, it's a flower
tr.,. rrr.
exterr ro which each ele'rent co'tributes to the develop;.;;;;f "rr.rr"*ni'or bed that's .', or else implicit contrasts are being suggested without any
munication (see Firbas.lgTz). Arterrrativcry, the th.,'...n apparerrt motivation: 'here you'd love it', as opposed to'somewhere where
'point of deparrure' of dre (Halriday r9g5:
u.,..n u, trr. you rnight hate it'. Let us try getting rid of all the fronting devices and
3B). For the nro,, *.
shall take as the're of a clauie the subjcct ,.,ur,,-pi.,rrr., rewriting our postcard with subjects initial irr every clause:
or, iiiiri.-i. no,
initial' rhen we shall include wharever c,rmes befoie ir. ri .*.r-irr.i (2.45)
position i' the clause is.importanr in rnany of trre
n*, Dear Joan,
worlcllr ir"gr"g*, I'rn sitting here at my desk writing to you. A big lawn surrounded by
that creati'g a theme i' ihe crause is a univerr.l f."ior.,'irro'"g'r-'""a trees is outside rny window and a flower bed is in the middle of the
realisations may vary from language to language. lawrr. lt was [ull of daffodils and tulips in the spring. You'd lovc it
here. You must conle and stay sometime; we've got plenty of room.
Love, Sally
Reoder octivity g *-{ Ve probably now feel that the text is bland, a sort of flat landscape in
which each bit of information is doled out without any overall sense of
check that you are familiar with the devices for varying worcl
order listed direction or organisation, and with equal weight given to all the elements of
above in examples (2.3742) by subjecting drese two
senreuces to as many the message. Language teachers might recognise in this jejune version some
of them as possible (an exampie is given):"
of the characteristics of low-level learners' early attemDts at letter- or
2 Discourse analysis and grantmar
2.3 Theme and rheme
essay-writirrg, hampered by irnpoverished
granrnraticar resources, or the (2.49\ One of the rnen, his wife was a swimming instructor, and she said to
lack of confidence io tra'sfer featurcs
f.omit. Wl,;; i; ;il;; f;; Ille.
strategic,decisio.s "",
a r rramework with thc to 'rrrg.; iir. i,rrornrario' and to put it into
drscourse (2.50) This friend of nrine, her son was in hospital, and he'd had a serious
foregroundirrg clf ccrtai' .l.n.,euts,
is fou'd ir ,u.h ,s
fronting, secrns
discourse. A thiicr u"r.i.l,i
rnore natural:
Jiri.i,rri*ii", accidcrrt, and he . . .

"r. "r (Author's data 1989)

() 4A\ Dear Joan, conce'trating on the thernes (.r topics) of clauses cloes not tcll us much
I'nr^sitting here at nry dcsk writing ro you.
Outside rny window is a about tlre rest of the clause, which may be called the rbeme or cornment of
big lawrr surroundcd by trees, i,, ih. ,,riddl;;f the lawn is a
Ilower bed. It was full of claffoctils the clause. In fact, when rve look at themes and rhemes together in
l've it lrcre. you r'.st co're a'd ,,"r",,J,;,i;;;i;',l.," rpring. v,ru,d connectecl text, we see further patterns ernerging. we can divide our
r.rnr"',i,rr.r'*"",u" *o, plenty <lf postcard text into thenres and rhemes:
Lovc, Sally theme (topic) rhente (comment)
In arry spatial descriptio'.of this
spatiar orierrarion of the reader/
kirr<.r, 1. I 'm sittir.rg here . . .
is inrporrarrt'.and writers/sp."t
.r. ii*,,ralry give prominence to this 2. Outside my window is a big lawn . . .
frrrcrio.. The see.rrrl serrerce in (
tl,i, dy-i;;,ir_;i;;; t.lrrion 3. In the nricldle of rhe lawn is a flower bed.
adverbials. Thc rcrnnirri,,g.",,,.,,..r
r..,,.,,rr.t, with suhjects i, initial 4. This bed was full of daffodils . . .

prsitio'' Li'cle and Labov's (r975) data .f peopre 5. You 'd love it here.
apartrnenrs also contain frecluen-t fro't-placr'gs a.l..ifi,ri",r,.i, 6. Yor-r must come and stay;
revealing tlre speakers' st"ging'rt.ri"gies.
of spatiar adverbiars, 7. \Vc , 've got plenty of roorn.
In spoken narrarives .nir speakers
orie'tational fearures for their
wiil often frout-place key Two differerrt options can be seen to be realised here: (a) the rheme of
listeners. i-h.r. most obviousry tirne and sentence 3 contains an elemenr (the flower bed) which becomes the thente of
place rnarkers ('once
ypol ti,r,,..',,on.,i"y,,".. .rh.n,,rJJrrii,,^ sentence 4; (b) the theme of sentence 5 is the same as the therne of sentcnce
co*er', 'nor far fronr here', "etc.), but nr"y
tr. f;;d.;ii,rl .ir..y
",,t. 5. These two textual options may be expressed thus:
participar.rts and ir.rformation about th.,n "iro
f"lt to be irnportant for the
listener' This is particurarrv" l,r'*.#;;;r, "*t Option (a): tlrerner -----)rhemel
are exrremely cornmon when a participant
is being <
atte'tlor as a rnai. actor in the subsequint discclurse, "r";;-rh.];.u, of thernez >- rhemez
as ir.r these extracts:
1r rrr.
(The extracts are from anecdotes
about coinciclences and from ghost
sto ries. ) Option
(l'): thenrer -----r rhemel
(2.47) And the fellow who ranfl up from Spain
that night, he,s tl.,ei.,r.t -,------> rheme2

coinciclerrce-prolre . . .
49.\ fhat couple that we k'ow irr Ports'routh, I ------------>
do',t hear ofher for 'We
nrontlrs, and tlren, . . , can see these options at work in real texts:
(Author's data 1989)
(2.51) As you will no doubt have been told, we have our own photographic
But a'other versio' of left-dispracelnenr is club and darkroom. The club is called 'Monomanor' and there is an
also common: when one partici_
pant is in the themi-slot, but only to provide a link anrrual fee of {,5. The ,noftey goes towards replacing any equipment
participant with a new worn out by use, or purchasing new equipment. Monomanor runs an
who will take the,t"g. in t},..rtory (iee
'speaker can thus creare a t.t.* topi. or sub-toirc framework,
tZ.lOli fn.
"naby activating
annual competition with prizes, judging being done and prizes
awarded at the garden party in the sumrner term. Besides tbe
different elemenrs of the conrexi, using
ihe theme-sro, i, t,;. *ry cctnrpetitiott, we also have talks and/or film shows during the other
making a subject whar we haue .ril.,l t1.,. .fo?u,
topic being addressed at any one time. Here
"rr*ioirl, ,i. pr*."f "r tenlrs.
are some ".
exampres frorn data: (Advertiscment for studcnt camera club; autlror's data)

2 Discourse analysis and grammar
2.3 Theme and rheme
Exrract (2'5r) reflects ol-rl0r (a) quite
srrorrgry, where erenrents of rhernes
become t'emes of subseque'.t
senterces lrelJvant items are in
next extract chooses predorninantly italics). The l
opti.r,, iri.
Reoderoctivity 10 *.O
(2's2) lam f hate vhich pattcrn(s) of thernc and rhemc sequc'cing are preclominant in these
Claudia Cassaigne Being badly dressed extracts? consider too the author's choice in terms of topic frameworks,
r 1ve Being broke and the purposc and register of the tcxts.
rue Marrel, paris
My f;;i.,e is a
in the centre of paris Light
Cost ofacid cleanup doubles
I like Ve"ry chic Fred Pearce
Classical ballet Forihe eveninss
SSlisn humour Cavale. Cti, fi"i privatised clcctricity
Cooking Chinese food RItITAIN'S
IJirrdrrstry will facc a bill for clearring
of technologies to conlbat acid rain, pre-
parcd at tlte rcquest of thc DoE by'thc
Drinking Champagne up acid polltrtiorr frour its I'owcr statiorre
- H
/n I L
AllVflLL f that is rrrore tlrrrr doulrlc that so [ar adrnit-
FcllowslriF of Engirrcerirrs.
_Tlrc arrt}or of t-hc stud;iis l,hilip Conrcr
Keep fit exercises
Tall men *i,'rr-g",^-""n
.ff 1,
3 -Al
\'Zl tcd.'I'hc cost oftnceting an EEC dircctivc
to cornbat acid rain, approved by rninis-
ters in Junc, will approach ,t3 billion,
of Technica, a consultincy. He totd a
nrectiltg of thc Britislr' Consultants
Ilureau in Lorrdon last week that "with
Dressing up in the evening "y", according to corlsultants who rccenily
presentcd a strrdy orr strJtegies to rcduce
only a nrodest irrcreasc ilr clectrical energy
consurrrptiorr, rhc DoE targets for pollu-
acid pollutiorr to 1hs l)qoaittncnt of rhe tion abetcmerrt will rrot be mct . . , Thcrc
Enviionrncrrt (DoE). is a divergence bctween stated policy and
T'he study fornls part ofa broad review achievablc obicctivcs. "
(trorn Cosnopoliran, September 19g5,
p. 5)
Looking back at tlre carnera club text,
we sce that sentence s 2, 3 and 4 are (fronr Nerr Scicrttist,22 October L988, p.29)
slightly nrore c'nrplex rha'
elemenrs (Monotianor and f5) *rrTh";;;
,h.,-r. of (2) contains ra;o
,rr..r, ,p'"riir#;il., ,k ,*"
separate subsecluent sellteuces, giving
us th. l^tt..n,
therne2----------> rhemel
The brain is our most precious organ - skull. lt receives one-fifth of the blood
/"-/ -'-- the one above all which allows us to be pumped out bythe heart at each b€at.
tltetrtert/-_+rlrernel theirca_---rlrer'ea human. The brain looks not unlike a huge
The brain contains 10 billion nerve walnut kemel: it is dome-shaped with
This third option is a rrierarchical pattern. cells, making thousands of billions ol a wrinkled surface, and ls in two halvos
For further exampres a'd
discussions of thenre-rheme patterns connections with each other. lt is th€ joined in the middle, Comlng out trom
see Danes (1974).
But,are these'ot simpry qr."i.". ,rhetoric,? most powerful data processor ws the base of the brain like a stalk ls ths
way' they are, insomuch as they are not trury
oi'rryi.'or In a know, but at the same tlme it is incredi- braln stem. This ls the swollen top of
structural, since no combi- bly delicate. As soft as a ripe avocado,
narions are specificallv forbidden by rule,,ni the spinal cord, whlch runs on down
traditionally ielegated to rag-bag ;"*;i;;ch
inJ..a,l;;;;;;# *", the brain has to be encased in the to our 'tall'. Parts of the brain stom
as 'styre, has been taken tough bones of the skull, and floats ln control our most basic functlons:
over as the province of discourse"anrry'rir.
rt is-hoped ,rrl, ,r,. ii**rion ,o its own waterbod of fluld. An adult breathlng, heart beat, waking and
far has irdicated the importan.e of ri,.rn.tisation
topic franreworks and example of
,, , ,n.rn, o?.r.rring brain weighs over 3lb and fills the sleeplng.
audience orientation. Further
investigation would probabry also dir.ou.,
of theme and rherne and particula. *giri.^
ilnr., u.r*..;;;; rrii..n, (from The Obseruer,l5 October 198S, p. 2)
t..g. nr"ni ;;;l;;;;il
the option of rerurning to tlr. ,"r.
,f;.,*, ,]r,i.flt ,h;;il;;;ffi; "r.
2 Discourse analysis and grantnw.
2.4 Tense and aspect
P4tte,rnsof secl.ercirrg of trrenre arrcl rherne lrc terde'cies
rather than A natural cxanrplc <lf this orderirg is seen in this sente.ce from a student
Vcry fcw rcxrs (e_xcePr |crhaps highly rituaiir.J,r*r'rr.f-, .,
religious.lirarric^s) rcpeat thc sar',ic ,ir",',.ii.i,rn cssay on language ancl gerrcler: crdlessry. we have
suggestcd rhat iow-levcl lear'crs rniglrt bc
tirpp"d i,, ,r,r,oiulrt nnrr.rn, (Z,S:) Corrve rscly, tr-xrssi['ly, [crnalcs fclr rrrore ar casc responding to a
.wirrg r.
linritcd grar'r'aticar ."r.r,,rf", u. l^.k trorr-spcci{ic fenrale address.
bur rrosr advanced lea'rers.are rikcry to r,au" "r.u,rnJ.,r."l,, " ir.* r_2,
gond feel for (Atrrhor's data
fra'rcworks ard orierrti'g their au.1ie'c". tlrr." gr:rmr.aticar creating topic

structures that :)' The noti.n of theme and how it is realised in L,'glish is an area where
a re'rrderprayecr irr gra r'.rar
b,.ks (e. g. reft .rir;]
n'ray be procluced urcorsciousry by i..i,r.rr, ";;,;;;r,'.il..i-r.",rri"gr grammatical strLlcture and discourse function seenr most closely allied. and.
trut awareness a'cr mo'itoring
on the part of if discourse nrrnlysis is r. lrave arr irrfluerrce or how lnng.agc is'taught, rlreri
to .,rrrr.-rr.,.t .at.ral proclucti.n usrng
the wide resources of the 'b.esiary
granrnl", i, inJ."J,rg plr.".' ivays of presenting variations in clause structure irr relation to dis.o.,rr.
s. far, we have co.centratecl o, therrratisi.g i, crauses, .functions may be a good place to start. In the past, emphasis on invented
br-rt it should not sbntences arrd o' writi'g (in both theoretical and applied Iirrguistics) has
be f.rg.tteu.tlrat scque'ci'g choices ,rf .lrlur",
seute.ces withirr paragra'hs are of the,
withi' se'teuces, and led to the relegation ro the fringes of some structures found in natural talk.
air.ourr.l."i.*a'rrp.. f* But natural data show thar variations of standard svoA order are much
insta'ce, it has been otrserved that firsr seutelrces
otten telr us what the more frequent than might be thought. Furthermore, languages vary in how
rvhole. paragraph is about, n ,r.,..r,r_l"J
frorrt_placing of a' elemenr they deal with thernatisation: Japanese has a parricl e wa, widely r.rsed to
sigrralli'g rhe fraurework of trre. mcssage. su.h
tolti.c sentettces, ard are considerecr irinporra'r
,.,it.,r..i".. .i""'."rr.a topicalise elements in clauses (Hinds 1986:157), and Tagalog (the language
for ,kitl, srJ'r, ,r.i"r_ of the Philippines) apparently ropicalises ar rhe end of clauses (Cieidir
reacli'g. Ir is often possible, just by ...a1,,f il.,.-nr.,
,.ni.,,.", io ,r"r."*f,rr, 1979). Other languages arc sirnilar to English; Duranti and Ochs (1979) give
paragraph is about (the paragrapi.t
trrough it i, ,roi ior.iL't.-ro ,rrr.
text is sal,lrg abo,,t its th.n,. itlr. paragraph rheme). examples of left-displacemenr in Italian speech and discuss its functions in
thls does scenl to lre an oversinrplificatiorr,-rn.l.-n",,,ny However, discourse managernent. Mixed nationality groups of learners may therefore
irritial senterrces that clo r,tot what tr.'. p..rg,^1rr.,
pr."g."ph, lr"u. preseut a variety of problerns at various levels, just as is the case irr",f;.J'*.r r"a i conventiorral grarnrnar teaching.
Jo'es.'s (198.5) study of cleft arcr pscuclo-crcft se.tences i. discourse
that the pleserlce of a clcft structtue, eve' if ,ru, p",
is ofterr a
more reliablc sig'al ,f paragrap' topic,. a'd i,,y*ry,
rclativeiy tittt" i, 2.4 Tense and aspect
known.about why writers ,"1rh r.liuiriun.
*fr.* iL*/ j"."'
. Finally,.ideally, we should .u,,ri.r.r serrc.ces trrat contain more
tha' o'e elenre.r other tha' A great deal of attentio' has recently been paid to the relationship betwee.
r.unafir.., ,".i, ,, ,rri,
subject b.o,,gi.,t ,o
tense-aspect choices and overall discourse constraints. By examinrng
very serre.ce you are re:rding. The first fro'ted eleme'r
the texr sequentially and tell.s you trrat the section \fnal'ly) o.g.;,ir., natural data, cliscourse analysts are able to observe regular correlations
is conring t. a crose (a between discourse types and the predominance of certain tense and aspecr
textudl furrctio'); ideally.signals my attitude towards
and has an interpersoial fJnction.'The next el.ur.',r,
,h"ti t ou.-io'rny, choices in the clause. Eclually, the emphasis irr discourse analysis on
,*, ir';;; Jf *.
co'tent or ideational r'earrirrg of rrrc r'essagc, or, as Halliclay interactive features of discourse such as speaker/writer perspective and
(19gi: 56) standpoint, and the focusing or foregrounding of certain elements of the
calls it, tl'te topicaltherne,.The u'nrarked
1'"ui, rr.qu.n,r
rhemes carr rhus be stated as textudr + inierltersor;;r-*';i;;r;;;;i,""^"t
i.l.#rr* message, has led to reinterpretations of conventional statements about
tense aud aspect nrles.
Thetnes An example of the first type of approach is Zydatiss (1985), who looked
Textual Itilerpersonal Ideational at a number of text types in English where present perfect is either
Examples nloreover frenkly dorninant or in regular contrasr with past simple. Zydatiss observed that
JoeSrnith... three basic functions of the preserrr perfect, all unde r the general heading of
obviously burglars. . .
for instance personally I... current releuance, frequendy recur over a wide range of text types. He
names these functions: (1) conveying'hot uews', (2) expressing experiences,
(Adaptcd fron: Hallitlay 1985: .53-4) and (3) relating to present effects oI charrges and accomplishments.
'Hot news' texts are mostly found in broadcast and written news reports,
2 Discourse analysis and granunar
2.4 Tense and aspect
but are also common i' everyday speech. An exampre (taken 'A particular day-to-day conrexr worth noting is the telling of stories, jokes
from British
televisiorr rrews) is: 'Tlre ro, n,rr.,ourrnri
oouna and anecdotes. Schiffrin's (1981) data shows regular correlations between.
sclrerne to rerraiu the u'enrployed, but u"iurr .tri.r,^,""r,i-.lrri.,-,
ir:;;,';'pi;;;;; i'tt-ou, disco.urse segnre.nts a'd rense and aspect choices. schiffrin considers prin-
oppositiorr to it.'l'lris choice of tclrsc:ln(l asl)ect will 'cjpallf the shifts frorn 'historic' presenr (i.e. using rhe presenr terrie to
agairr, a,d carr Itc tnPltcd ns a riclr s()rrrcc.f iilustrntiv.,,,^"rlrr
r", describe actio's arrcl evenrs i' the past) to past sir'ple in Euglish oral
la.g,'nge teaclrirrg (sec f<rr.examplc, Swa' arcl Walter
1990: .!0, *ho ura anecdotes. Shc takes a rnodel of narrarive based on Lal:t>v (1972), in which
just such rews everrs ro.iilrstrare prescrr
pcrfect ,r"r"l. i"rri.-i" ,rr.- the mairr elernents arc orientatior (establishirrg time, place and characters),
editor and ago.y-colunr'lerrers, Zyciatiss.r"inrr,.ont.I.,'r,.qu.nipr...nt
.clrangcs comltlicating actiorts (the main evenrs rhar make the story), resolution (ltow
the 'experierrces' o',d
f:l:::: ryf"rr'ing
rurlc'or)s. r' hot rews texts, perfect "..o,irflird*ntr,
the story reaches its end), and eualuatiorr (comments on the events).
rxesent regularly .out.rrt, with past Historic present tense verbs cluster in the complicating action segrrrcnts,
sim.ple in the same text, where.ihe topiialising serre.ce
present perfect; and, withiu those segments, particularly in the middle of the segmenr, and
while the details of rhe .arrative are in p^rt ,In,pr., f;;;;;,i;il;^jatgrrrrrr,
not typically irr the inirial or final clause. Historic presenr is also sometimes
fii m h a s t a n.d d.. r,,, g., r.l q pr;
rneeting today i'Lo'don.'Biographical sketches
;J ;;';; ;;ffi :J ;Ji' ff :,.; f iii accompanied by changes from simple to progressive aspect where the time
a.d obitr-rarier-r?. i sequence seerns to bc broken and a particularly strong focr-rs is given to
source of this shift of ten.e. zydatiss rists many "lro,
rexr'rypes which seem ro actions. In the following extract, the speaker is recounting a ghost srory;
have such c.rrelarions. The usefurness of such i'";.;i;rri;r^ir'""i ,r,r, note shifts in tense and aspecr at crucial junctures:
they necessarily tell language reachers anything th.y
or might conclucle fror. intuition, but that thJy ofi". "i.;;i;ir"*
,ir.rr-.", i,l ..,..r,,r (2.54) A: Not all that long since, pcrhaps ren years ago, this friend of rnrne,
data sourccs and statistical back-up to intuition. " licr son was in hospital, ancl hc'd had a scrious accident and lre
-l'specialisr and acadernic rexts zuclias scientific arricres, correrations are was urrcouscious for a long tirne. . . anyway, slre werrt to see him
often observable betweerr discourse ,.g,rr.ntr.nd t.,rr" one day ancl she said'Has anybody been to see you?', and he says
,,rd ,rp..i'.i"i.*.
Medical research articres in jour'ars ii,.h a, tt , iriiiri 'No, but a right nice young lady came to see me,' he said, 'she
u))Irt' j.,)r"rt,
for irstance,.regularly use pasr sinrple ir., tt.. oirtro;;r;.;;;;;';;;a'lfrif, was lovely, she stood at the foot of me bed, you know, she . . .
predominantly present p.rf..t i' tite introductiott sectio',
. hacl a little word with me.' Well eventually he came home, and
at the end of they'd a lot of the family in rhe house, and Emma, this friend of
which there is a shift back to pas.t simpre where the ii;;;,,;;.'l;g"ins
irs mine, brought these photographs our, of the family through the
'narrative'^of the particular reseirch experi.rerrr
reported. Also in years, arrd, passing them round, and he's looking at them and he
texts, one finds interesting correlation. i,.t*..,., th. ".iJ..i.
t.,.,r.s ,r;J ;; .i"lrfr., said 'Oh! tlrat's that young lady rhat came to see me when I was
authors and the currellt author's standpoint: orre rnight.orprr. in bed.' She'd died when he was born . . . so.
citations.such as'Johnson (1975) stiggests/has rugg.rt"i/r,,gg.rr.J/h"d "lt..,orru. B: Good God.
suggested that. . .'. A: He'd rrever seen her.
B: No...heavens.
(Author's data 1989)
Reoder octivity 11 r.O
consider this sentence taken from dte end of au essay by
a learner of Note how 'he says' prefaces the significant evenr of the appearance of the
English. In what way is her use of rense and aspect inappropriatel
How 'lady'. Historic present occurs again, accompanied by progressive aspecr
would vou corre* it and what rule or gui.reii'e;";i:';;r;";i".- rr.. (he's looking) at the highest moment of suspense in the tale.
regarding tense a.d aspec in differe't sectiJns of r.rd.,.i. .,.;;;,! In Schiffrin's data, historic present often occurs in segments where the
Conclusiort episodes are understood by the listener as occurring in sequence and in the
In this essay, I try to discuss the different types of informatio' time-world of the story; therefore, to some extent, the grammatical
the matrices give about words. Arso .,r,r.,. oth", inforr'atio' marking of pastness may be considered redundant. Schiffrin compares these
rnatnces can convey are suggested in the last section. segments of narratives with sports commentaries, recipe commentaries (the
speaker describing the process as it happens) and magicians' commenraries
(Author's data 19g9)
on their tricks. The historic presenr ih anecdotes is really an 'internal
evaluation device', focusing on the events that really 'make' the story.

2 I)iscourse tumlysis artd grannnar
2.5 Conclusion
The data for tense and aspect we rrave :

ca' ail be interpreted in Further reading

the light of the speaker/writer's p.r.p..riu.-"'d
as projections of shifting
perspectives' The te'ses and aspects io The most detailed work on grammar above clause level is Halliday (1985), but
seenl so ,rrui-, st.i.rly Louna to
time as to issues suclr as the sender's'<-,t p,,.pur., the focus on different some prefer to treat this as a reference w<-rrk rather than as reading.
elerncnts of the rrressagc, ancr trre pr,,jccti.l,r Monaghan (1987) is arr interestirrg, though sonrerimes clif6cult, collection of papers
,rf a sharecl franrcw'rk within
which the receiver wili unclerstau.1 ,1.,. n,*rr.g". on diffe rerrt aspects of grarnmar arrd cliscourse,
'I-ense For a dct:rilecl tlcscription of cotresion in English, Halliday and Hasan (19761 is aspcct vary rrotori.usry [r,rrrr r, Iarrguagc
tradirional stumbling-blocks for learners. T and are unsurpassed, though Hasart's (1984) revisiorr of lexical cohesiorr shotrld also |c
taken into account.
such as tl,. sl.ui. iSngues.r.ake ch.ices ,,i7jliT,',ir'^i:;*,,r';::i:f;1,
The roonr descriptions in Dutch in Ehrich and Koster (1983) contairr furtlrer
aspe*s.which are <;uire at odds with, the E.gliih ,ioriu,,
eve'rs in rernrs
a-.*.ill,! or* exatnples cornparable to Lincle's.
'r'w-releva'ce' (preseni-perfect) "r.rr.*r.
prese't' (past si'rple). ljowever, son.,e featur.s, for exarnpt"
,riii, ,rr. Another intcrcstirrg study of substitution is Jordan (1986).
Ellipsis in conversation is cxamined in detail in Ricento (1987).
historic preserr in anecdotes, ,..n, *ia.ty ;;;;.i;,,;;;
ir,. ur. or
Europe the Nordic a'd the Romarrce l.,,gurg..
;;;ri'iil;'.j.. 1,n More ou expressing cause ir.r conversation rnay be found irr Schiffrin (1985a).

or nor such fearures are rrarsferre,l by l..rn.r,

.il;;il; ;;;"..j1 rfri.rr.,., On the questiorr of the significance of front position in the clause in the worlcl's
languages, see Fuller and Gundel (1987).
without .riffi;;it'i, ,nort.,
rnatter' .'e w.rthy of observatio'. For word-orcler phenornena in various selected languages, see Giv6n- (1984).
certai'ry i,., ,rr;;;1r;;;p..ific t",".-
occurrerces srrcrr as trrc On front-placirrg in Spanish see Rivero (1980), ancl for Frcnclr, see Barnes (198,5).
trmes experience difficurties
articles disc.sse<i
"t";., l.;;;;r Kies (1988) contains a good discussion on variations of word orcler in English data.
or sholv ,uawareuess of th. .oiru.,riir". .r,rr.
gelr re. Discussion of the d ifferent theme-rheme patterns can be fou ncl in Da ne5 (1,97 4) , and,
further discussion of theme in P. H. Fries (1983).
For the distribution of thenre-rlrernd patterns in written rexts, see Eiler (1986) and
Francis (1989).
2.5 Conclusion Topic serrtences irr paragraphs are discussed by Grellet (1981: 96-8).
A good general survey of different treatments of 'giverr' and 'lrew' in relation to
This chapter lras taken selection of gr:rm'raticar . theme and rheme may be found in Allerton (1978).
.a concepts and has
attempted to show how discourse analysii' has co'tributed to our under- A conrbined investigation of present progressive, deicric tbat and pronominali-
standi'g of the relationship betweerr local chorces withi' sation irr spoken technical discourse can be found in Reichman-Adar (1984).
the clause and For nrore on tense irr learned citations, see Riddle (1986).
sentellc€ ancl the organisation of the disc<l,rse
as a w'ole. wtr.,,
*.ji::Lr-ire protlrrcirrg discoursc, r^ey nrc, Aspect in the Slavic languages is exemplified in Hopper (1979 and 1982) rvith
ill. "i,f,. ,^n,.'ri;;;,
Dusy constrrctrng crauses, nronitori'g the developr-.ent
of the lareer dis_
referetrce to R.ussian discourse,
Aspect and discourse in French is dealt with by Monville-Bursron ancl Var,rgh
course' and their ch.ices at trre rocar rever can
reflect the concer's of the disco,rse as ar .-ttrrutartrg
,;;;, ,;;r;J""."t*r, ," (1985) and Waugh arrd Monville-Burston (1985).
;."J".i.,r, *rr-, ""
audience, whe.ther prese't or projected. A discor"rrse-orie'ted
At the more advanced level, the papers in Schopf (1989) on rerrse in English are
approach to worth pursuing.
gj:Tt:.IT"1ld suggest'ot o'ly a grearer emphasis on .onr."rriffiih"n
rne senrence' bur arso a reassessment of priorities
in terms of what ii taught
about such things as word order, articies, ellipsis,
,.nr. ,na ,rp".f ,na
some of rhe other categories discussed lrere.
It granrmar is see'to have a direct rore i. weldi'g clauses,
sentences i'to discourse, what of words tlre'rselves?
tur's and
wh"t' .oi.-ao.,
uocabulary choice play in the discourse process?
It is to tt,i, lu.rtion'tt"t
lve turn next.

3.2 Lexical cohesion
3 Discourse analysis and vocabulary 3.2 Lexicalcohesion

One recent attempt at studying vocabulary.patterns above sentence level is

Halliday and Hasan's (1975) description of lexical cohesion. Related
vocabulary iterns occur across clause and senteuce boundaries in written
texts and across act, move and turn bourrdaries in speech and are a major
characteristic of coherent discourse. The relations between vocabulary
'When items in texts described by the Halliday*Hasan model are of two principal
/ use a word,, Humpty kinds: rei tera ti on and coll o cati o n.
Dumpty said, in rather a scorn_
ful tone, ,it means just what I It is debatable whether collocation properly belongs to the notion of
lexical cohesion, since collocation only refers to the probability that lexical
choose it to mean _ neither
items will co-occr.rr, and is not a semantic relation between words. Here,
more nor less.'
,The question therefore, we shall consider the term 'lexical cohesion' to mean only exact
is,' said Alice, repetition of words and the role played by certain basic semantic relatrons
'whether you can make wordS
between words in creating textuality, that property of text which distin-
mean so many different things.,
guishes it frorn a random sequence of unconnected sentences. We shall
consequently ignore collocational associations across sentence boundaries
Lewis Carroll: Through lhe Looking
as lying outside of these semantic relations.
If lexical reiteration can be shown to be a significant fearure of textuality,
then there rnay be somethirrg for the language teacher to exploit. We shall
3.1 Inlroduclion not suggest that it be exploited simply because it is there, but only if, by
doing so, we can give learners meaningful, controlled practice and the hope
Brirging a discourse dimension into. language of improving their text-creating and decoding abilities, and providing them
teaching does nor by any with nrore varied contexts for using and practising vocabulary.
mea.ns imply an abandonment of teaching"uo.l"Uut".y.
V""."fr"1"., #tt stitt Reiteration means either restating an item in a later part of the discourse
be the largest single element in r"";;;;:;.
f* r#;.11.
it would be irresponsibre to suggest tiat it wiil tike;r;.i;;r;il by direct repetitiorr or else reasserting its meaning by exploiting lexical
i,, ,o.. relatiotts. Lexical relations are the stable semantic relationshios that exist
ideal world where la'gu"g. ti".hing and rearnrng are
discourse-driven. between words and which are the basis of descriptions given in dictionaries
The vocabulary lesson- (oi of will itill fr.". of"J i"
"',rj and thesauri: for example, rose and flower are related by hyponytny; rose is
disco.urse-oriented svllabus; the chaile'g" i, to;;h;i;I#" at-.n-" a hyponym of llower. Eggplant and aubergine are related by synonymy
sion inro vocabulary teaching alongsidJtraditionar
municarive approaches (e.g. Gairniand Redman
i"a ..*"i, ,".1'.o,r,- (regardless of the geographical dimension of usage that distinguishes them).
19g6). Therefor., in thi, In the following two sentences, lexical cohesion by synonymy occurs:
chapter we shall look at lesear.rr into vocabur"ry
i,i .*t.uari-i*" i"
speech and writing and. consider if anything
can be usefully exploited to (3.1) The rneeting commenced at six thirty. But ftom rhe moment it began,
give a discourse dimension to vocaburary it was clear that all was not well.
ties in the classroom-.,l4os.t are already in agreement ",Jl..iu"iiry ".tiui_
that vocabulary Here, commence an<l begin co-refer to the same entity in the real world.
should,,,wherever. possible, be taught i''conrex"t,
but .ont.*t i, lr"rfr* They need not alwavs do so:
catch-all rerm and what we n..d to"do at this
f oint is to rook at some of the
specific relationships berween vocabulary .hoi.., (3.2) The meeting commenced at six thirty; the storm began at eight.
context (in th. ,.^. of
tlre situation in which the discourse ir p.h..".al
ar-rd co-text(the actuar rexr In (3.2) cotnmence and begin refer to separate events, but we would still
surrounding any given lexical iteru). ihe suggesrions
*. ,"r.. *irr u.
r1.,^il wish to see a stylistic relationship between them (perhaps to create dry
a supple'rent to conventional voJJulary,.;;G;;;h.r ri,"n
a repracement tor lt.
hurnour/irony). Decoding the co-referring relationship in (3.1) is an inter-
", pretive act of the reader, just as occurs with pronouns (see section 2.2).ln
(3.3), cohesion by hyponymy occurs:
3 Discourse analysis and uocabulary
3.2 Lexical cohesion
(3.3) There was:r. firre old rcching-chair that his fathcr
trsccl ro sir in, a Such as this is very common in English discourse. However, in
r/esk whcrc he wrote lcttcrs,'a rrcsr of snrall lrfrl.,,
.'a".i,"' since our knowledge is inadequate, language teachers must
irnposi.g bookcase. Now ail tris ",J
furnitttre rvrs to be solcr, a'd with ir
nls owlt Dast.
conteut themselvcs with observing each case as it-arises and, for the
moment, work on raising an awarerlcss of such phenomena where
The supcrorclinate,eed'ot be a. imnrecliate superorcli.ate awareuess is lackirrg, and, most important of all, providing the lexical
irr the fa'rily
tree of a parricular w,rcl; it carr b. t g,rerar ,r,rrrr (r".rt;iiiJ;;",ri equiprnent in L2 and pracice of the skills to enable learrrers to create rexrs
1976: Ch.6). lnsteacl of
funtiture wc io.ltl have ha.l .ll rl-'.r";ii,,r:rloirlurtrt that rcscrr[rlc rraturally occurring ones theniselves. It means that it is
things,lvhich are exar''les of ge ,e.ral su;,crc,,atc;. importarrt to nrake learners aware that synonynrs are not just ways of
huurir, ai.l abstraci areas, i'clucr , understanclirrg .ew wurds when tl-rey crop up i. class, uo. ,r. they some
-coverirrg 1,ui[ir,')iorurr,
idea ancl /act. Itcitcration .f this is e.xtreurcry .o,rruiJ,r-i,,
Engtirt, abstract notion for the organisation of lexicons and thesauri, but they are
discourse; do .ot always"find direct rcpctitiorr of worcls, there to be usecl, just as any other linguistic device, in rhe creation of
find corrsiderablc variatiott frou, ,",.,,",r." ,u ",,a ".ry'orr.n
r. writing and natural discotrrse.
tllrn to turn i. speech. such variati.' ca' adcl new dinre.sio,.,. Another implication for language pedagogy is that material writers who
to mea'ing' and serves to build up ar incrcasingly "ii ,i"..
cornplex ."",.-rl create their own texts or who simplify naturally occurring ones should
every word, eve. if it is essentially. r.p.^ti,rg o, p"..prr.^.ing remcmber that disturbing the lexical patterns of texts may lead to unnatu-
'ewof arr earlie-r worcr,
semartics d.,.
brirrgs *ith it lts ow' co'.otatiorrs and ralness nnd inauthenticity at the discourse level; simplificarion may mean
hist.ry of occurrerrcc. rn the case of ieircratiorr by .,up".urai,r"r", an unnatrrrnl nrnount of |cpctition, [or exarrrplc, cornpared with the vari-
ofte' sce a su.rrnarisi.g or ercar)s'lati.g furrcti,. irr tirc choice ;; .." ation bctween exflct repetition and reiteration by other nreans fourrcl irr
ui *u..rr,
bringing various cle'rerts .f trre tcxt",. u'crcr
terrn' Reiteration is uot a cha'c"
.'e, ,rrur.-g.n.."r natural tcxts.
writers ,p..k*ro ."k" A' aralysis of the foll'wi'g newspaper exrracr according to Halliday
couscious choices whetlrer to repeat, or"u.,it;
fincl a sy'orynr,^n.r and FIasan's principles, shows lexical cohesion at work:
or a superorcli.ate.
,. Discoursc nnalysts Irnve rrot yct giverr us:lny corrvrrrcirrg rulcs or guide_
lir.res as ro rv'e' or w'y a wrirer <ri speaker
(3.5) T) RITAIN'S green and Anti-hunt campaigners estimate
,"igtr, .i.,.*i,ly"""ri, f..
reiteratio' rather tha' repetitio., though ,un.,. ..r.r..1,
,ugg.ri;'" tinL .fD tH;"'o#fl1"yi'ffi; !tll,.J;33' il"'":t:"i'",i:X" ;lt l;
betrveen reiteration using sy'ony'rs an.lihe iclea
,f,ff i-.oorrrn, fields" with the start of the fox make the grade.
trpic w.rds the discourse ar a later stage, trrar i, tu ,r/ cubhuntingseason. And many experienced hounds
brl,rgi,'"g rlr.," More than 6,000 y-oung foxes will be killed because they are too
back into focus, or foregroundi'g thern .g^i,., enjoying their first flush of life will old to hunt.
1r.. Jorcla' tg'i).bther
research clainrs correlarions bet*e.r, bourcl"aries
uf .lir.;;;;.. be hunted down in the next three The cub hunting season isjust a
.pposed to serterlces or paragraphs) arrd re-errtering of
full noJr' phrases
1^, months to grveinexperienced curtain-raiser to the tradiiional
instead of p.ronouns (see B. Fox 19g7). We nray .iro young hounds a blood lust. pastime of killing adult foxes.
U. a.rli,r*'*irf, o But the dogs will also suffer.
lexical parallel to the grarnmarical topicalisatio'ir.l,,rrJ-i,,
(3.4), we can observe the irnportlrrce of the worcls
il;"'i'.l.ln (frorn Naars on Sunday,2 August 1987, p. l0)
rotnte,,rJ -"yi" ,rr"
foregrcrurding of the topi.c ir iJ,ir Lh,rrt exrracr, wlrich is Fox cub is rcitcrated as the near-synonymous young foxes; young hounds is
hout to or"*'iy, of
getting a contract, as indicated by the headline: repeated, but also covered by the superordir.rate dogs in the rhird para-
3.4\ Craplr. Destr,oyed and killed are also synonymous irr this context (para-
THE NORMAL route is to gr:rplrs 3 and 4).

build up a following through Lea*ing to lexical links in a text according to Halliday and.
HOW live shows, send in tapes to
Hasan's model 'bserve
could be r-rseful for language learners in various ways. For
one thing,. it encourages learners to group lexical items together according
to get a record companies and then wait to particular contexts by looking at the lexical relations in any given text.
until someone "discovers, you. one- of the recurring problems for learners is that words presenled by the
contract But there are other ways ... teacher or coursebook as synonyms will probably only be synonymous in
certain contexts and the learner has to learn to oby'erve iust when and where
(fronr Neras on Sunday, l4 p.
June 19g7, 22) individual pairs of words may be used interchangeably.

3 Discourse analysis and uocabulary

J.5 Vocabulary and tbe organising of text
3.5 Vocabulary and the organising
o, fext
more.' wc, the reader, (or if .ur example hacl been,
say, a recture)
A distirrctiorr is olterr rrrerl" 1..,,,,o^ match the with rhe segme'ts, a'd, if we have d..oi.d t1.,. ,.*,

n g u, g.. ii;, ;:HiI':1*,
worcls, or empty wurdr rrersus
one: ir errables us to separate
ffi 1,", ;J:,Iffi * ;l;].1#x3;, j;
frrit *nrdr.The clistinctio, is a useful
I correctly, carr reucler a. accouut of what 'the problem' is, or *hri .r1.,.
prospects'nrc, acc.rclirrg to the auth.r. we shall call worcls such
problenr :r. rl rrssess,re nt,t! iscorrrse-organising words, since
as isslre,
off rliosc , ii ;, ,r*i. ;"1, ,.
2,s ln 2i
n ttr e I a' g u ag.. air d *l,i.i;, .;
tlrar beloug b ,rtitt sysren.,s arrd
;;'; rlill|i,,:l' :j:**:-::#::f
wrricrr iri;,,g ro the rnn jor word
organise arrcl structure thc argume.t, rathcrih^n
field. Thev arc examples of thi general phe'ome'o"nr*aa
for its cortent crr
n of signailiifJir."...a
rroun, verb, adie*ive ard aclverb.
i:trir,-'iroi, thr.r,
to a closed system (as-do the p.ouou,r,
crasses of
in Clrapter 1. Further examples may be seen in this extrait: '
the grarrrrnatical,..rni,rg'ul ;il;;;il#; ^Jnl"
prepositio's) and carry (3.10) Week by week the amount of car traffic on
t?"u,nit belong to opin-e.'clea
Mortke,, sculpture, notse
es,. our roads grows, 13 per cent in the last
'creative' ,"t., rlri.n are ofre' thougrrt of as the year alone.
end of ranguage. Jn betweer
,i,".."r*o extremes is anither type of Each day as I walk to work, I see the
vocabulary that'as-recJ,.,tly
b".,, ,ru;;;ily ,lir*r".;;;;;l^,i."
s'are qualitie.s,o_f b.oth ,t,. op.n ,rn. ,rrr, ludicrous spectacle of hundreds of com-
consrder a paragraph
,,1rA the closed_set *o..1..
raken from an aiticle irr a learrred L.t u, muters sitting alone in four or five_seater
i";;;;1,."" cars and barely moving as fast as I can
(3'9) l,ere I wa'tt. spe'd s.r'e tirnc cxanriuirg.t'is walk.
issue. I-.irst I propose
to look the lristory uf i,rt",l.rr Our traffic crisis now presents us with
r'r'c proble'r, t'e'srre'd
the classic conservation dilemma _
::j::lill,l; :i,:",i5::: l:Ii,:lf
li,::i:i.l"J;:.,;::, :;,11 r, nrany people making too much demand on
Finally, I warrt to have a short peek
at p,r..ltrt" f,,",r. pr,#.r.",.,,, inadequate resources.
(W. J. Kylc, Annals of tba There are four possible solutions: One,
GGAS, University of t.{ong Kong,
19g4, no. 12: 54_66)
$7lrat is this article abortt? provide more resources, in this case build
pcsrs. o. fruit trees? Designing rnore roads and car parks; two, restrict
examinations for seconcrary schoors?
fn? irrritritiries are counrress. whar the availability of motorised transport by
we are lacking here is the
,[41. *our.t iJ.nti'ii'iii""iru
r,scourse. These se'te'ces telr,vocab'ra.v'
us a rot
,t artificially raising the price of vehiiles and
structure of the articre, but fuel; three, license only those with a good
norhi.g about the aurh'r's_ r,tt "t "*'11.
relatively fcr"al (it is hardly llk;t
r,.rt".r. rr.,
telr Lrs that the tenor is reason for needing motorised transport
;i,;;';hi, i, ,i,,,.",,. .roli,,u,, i"r.r_ and prohibit unnecessary use; four, reduce
mally to a frie'd why he/sile l;;J ,;;;;.'l;ied
Dorred eggs), but with an the average size of motor vehicles, espec_
elcme'r of infor'raliru rtror.1r...r.:1. irr"i'"rr us trrar a probrem
possible solurio's wili ,{'r and irs ially those used for commuting purposes.
be exa'rinecr, nrr.r thar ore parr
wirh rhe past, anorher with the f,,;,,,;.-S';'rl of the text wirr deal
quite a uii
ofte'said to"ri*i."iivork
".;;;;;;.&;?'*'jjiiffTl,tT j: (front Cantbridge Weekly News,22Septernber 19gg, p. 11)
be), bdt. in anoth.ei r;;*;;;.-;.;d to seek ersewhere in the
fortheircontent'wlratwe'r'.rr.'ri,r'.l-i,ii"i'"ii";'j;;;;;,.**-,, rext The rcacler be curious to k'ow what extract (3.9) was about: in.fhct
it is.a study_of'ray
tlte this of 'this issue' tells
,rr"i r. .rtr]ffi the poll'tion of Hong Kong's srreams, coastal waters and
out what the issue is; the"rlex.icar .".r"i"g'rt* the preceding texr to find i seashore. Pollution as a subject couldte preiented to the .erd.,
in . uor,.ry
issue teils us to rook for
something problematic, somethrng
,h"; : ,'n"rr.. of pubric debare, r of ways;.the author rnight have p..r.ut.d a series of claims .ounr.r-
'The problem' works in
rrnttt"? ;;;.'l;r;rr. ert w,r identify
erc. ,.

.ltL.r about pollution, or perhaps a general sraremenr ,fro"i "nd ,yp.,

" with pollutio' a'cl then details of these typ.r. bu. author chooses ,"f..rllii, "f

will a.ltroblem, witl'r

be matter
whicrr ca.n be counterposed t*o'the ('apprdaches') to the problem .nd eualuation
'problem,, and so on. so -responses
these words stand in pt^.. urr.g,rr;;r;";i;;, ('assessmerrt') of responses, in other words as a problem-solution "n text (see
(iust as prorouns can); a
segment may be a senteuce'
severar scrrences ui *rri."prr"grJfh, i secti.' 1.10). ]-his is clearly signalled to the reader in our quoted exrrac.
" o, as lvell rs rt'Presentiltg text-segnlentst some of the ,liscourr._ur*aniunn
3 Discourse analysis and uocabulary
3.5 Vocabulary and the organising of text
words we are exeminin€ additionalry
text-patterns the author.has ch.scu, and.give
us irrclicario's of the larger tenet thcory thinking view
builcl up cxpectatio.s corcerning viewpoirrt vision
the shape of the whole discourse.
(Francis, l'lll(,: l -5)
From this accou't of the work of certair worcrs in organising
it will be appnre.r that the langtrage lcar'cr wh,r l-,as'tr,rt,rri! discourses
*iJr" ,".n 1. Another trscf'rrl source is Jordarr (1984), which bri'gs rogether a large
w_ords rnay be disadvarrraged irithi struggre to clecocle liumber of texts aucl has a vcl"cabulary index. These
,rr" ,rrror"-i."irl' -orii, ...-good sources
e.fficie'tly as Prssible arr.l as closery as pJssiblc t, the:rurhor's
desiens. lf
ifor teachers ard nraterial writers interested in this area. but rnanv teachers
tlre tliscorrrsc-org;rrrisirrg wortls arc r.",i ., sigrrals,,r,t.,..,,tr,urk :will find it as easy sirnply to collect exarrrples of suclr *o.dr frornit.
the'inability to undersrantl thcr' r.rr rnisirrterpietatio. of them could
;;;;;; where non-narrative tcxts, of the type where the author is presenting views
-problcnts. and arguments and where such vocabulary is most r."dily fou,id, are
But just how many words are rhere i' a larrguage like plentiful. Irr vocational/specialist courses, the best sources are learners' own
Errglish? \flhat
is thc size of the task facirrg the reacher an.r lear.ei in subiect nrateria
lhis partici,lai lexical ' It
| .

area? sorne linguists have attenrpted to provicre arswers,

iu, p.ob"uty no might, at this point, be worth reminding ourselves that discourse-
a co'rplete list. Wirier (1977 and lizsi'ti* pr."la.d , orgarrising operate pretlictiuely in text as well as retrospectively:
:I: ,i,1:-:"rlqil;d
checklists, which reachers a'd material writers ,r.,"y finJ u#;i,;ffi;;h;" if a discourse ilrganiser does already have its lexicalisation in the
calls uocobulary 3, rr
't4"r uwLttuttrut.I.)., a precisely
['rccrsely oellnllted
delirnited sllb-set
sLrb-set o[
of thls
thi tnore general set of earlier text we cxpect it to come 'otlater in the text and are on the lookout for
drscourse-orga'isirrg words. Here is a selectio' of the list \Winter
frorn \finter it, at least the cfficient reacler is. In (3.10) above, dilemrna and solutions
(re78): point forward in the texr and are lexicalised in the subsequent dis-
(3.11) achieve, addition, alike, attribute, basis, case, cause,
change, Predictive skills are ofter.r emphasised in current reading skills materials
compare, conclude, con6rm, consequence, contrast,
cleny,-clepend, (see, for example, Greenall and Swan 1985); the study of vocabulary and
differ, disti'ction, effect, equal, exeinplify, explanaiio,r, f..,,'f.",r..,
follow, form, gcneral, grounds, h"pp",r, i.,ypoih"ti.^I, i,r.,",r.",
-- organisation offers the possibility of a more srructured approach
irrst^rnrcrrtal, j'stification, kirrd, rcacl t(), *a.llcr, to this kincl of teaching and practice activity.
method, opposite, point, problern, real, reason, replace, 'latter,
result, same, similar, situation, srate, thing, timc, trurh,'woi,
Frarrcis (1986) focuses o' what she calls anaphoric rtoutts and, gives
Reoderoctivity 4 *4
extensive examples of nouns that freque'tly occLri to refer back
to chunks The italicised worcls in the following rexrs represent either preceding or
of text in the way that 'this issue' did in ou, hr* example. Here is one
of her subsequent seglnenrs of the discourse. Identify those segments by undeilin-
Ii sts:
ing tl-re appropriate words:
(3.12) abstraction arralysis approaclr assesslllen! L I am alrvays being asked ro agree with the proposition that the British
assurnption attitude belief classification are the nrost anti-intellectual people in Europe. What other European
contparlson corrcept concocuoll con fusion languagc conrains that withering litrle phrase 'roo clever by half i
consideration deduction cliagnosrs distinction Wherc else do thinkers squirm when they are called intellectuals?
distortiorr doctrine clogma doubt Wherc clse is public strpporr for the institutions of intellectual culrure
cvaluatiou evidence cxarrrrnation fabrication
falsification fantasy - the urriversities and the subsidised arts - so precarious?
finding formulation Bel"tin<l these questions lies a deep-seared inieriority complex in the'
hypothesis idea ideology identification post-irnperial British middle-classes about rhe parochial philistinism
illusion inference irrsiglrt interpretation of their culture, . .
investigation misinterpretation misfudgement misreading

llotlolt (Michacl lgnarieff, 'I'he Obserug,r, S February 1990: l7l

reading L. 7'he issues which emerge have beset the personal social services for
reflection generations -
accountability, relationships with voluntary bodies,
scenario speculation supposition surmisal what their role is, for example, but the contexr is different.
(Netu Sotiety,28 August 1987: ii)

3 Discourse analysis and uocabulary
3.6 Signalling larger textual patterns
work, and irs exrensio' in that of Hoey (19g3),
Francis ('|986), raises sorne irrrerestirrg qu.r,io,rr, Jortra' (19g4) and the first-exalnple, only the headline, the first paragraph and.the last para-
First rhere is the question graph of a rrrtlrer long newspaper article are given to show how organising
of whett.rer it is prssibte t. delimit
that would be usefur fot ^7;;r;;';r,ri;.;;t;i;;;
r."d...1*ril;";;;r a wide "ir".Tr"i".ra,
range of academic
words have lrcerr usecl to 'wrap round' a lo'g problcr'-solution te"xt:
disciplinesinvolvingvaried textual rutrl".rl." (3.13) I lcadlitrc TV Violence; No Sirnple Solution 4
and genres. The norlon
ot a procedural vocaburary is currentryund.,
(see Widdowsorr l98i:92-4; Robirrso,,'tcSS).'ft.,.
,l.bli. i,,"++ri"a'rin"firri., ()pcrtirtg sertteflce Tlrere is no doubt tlrat orre of the concerns
proc"duraluo."biiary i, of lroth viewcrs and lrroadcasters is'rajor
thc arnounr
basically words that e'able us t<, ,/o thi'gs"#itr,
trr'. .-,i*it.i.i,r"* *.ra, and nature of violence on our television screens.
or schentatic vocabulary. Anotherun.nri"...j
quesrion is what happens if 0naitt text\
the most cornrnor sigralring *"",1; ;;; ]ui
unu*n by trre rearner? Is olosirtg sentence Thc chicf 'lesson' of all .rr vie wirrg, readirrg a.d
coherent text-dec.dini, serioJsly rmpaired
u.-rr" ,u.h words the icing on
ih...,. oi p.oiu.tio,,iil,t.;i;;'i"iiil,,r""r.,'r,",.
ll:,::9::t_*ia,y i,vocabulary,
discussion is that there is no simple solution to
the problem of violence on televjsion.
:^1.,1 :..-""rganising can rhe reachrngzrearnrng process capital_
tse on tratlster in some way? Are ,rere direct ('l ltc Obseruer, 15 Novenrber 1986: 42)
ani reliabli ir",J",i"r-, f",
words Jike poi,!, argwnerrt', iss.ue aud The words i' bold predict (sol,tion in rhe headlirrc, concern) and reinforce
fact r. ,,,A i..n,
'nr"".r, p'1,/drlc, .ifr.rlr,rr"rr.rl
lartguages with cognate *ord, (solutior.t,. pr<tblem) the problem-solutio' patte'r of the longer rext
1".g. swedis rt faktum,
Spanish cuesti6n) haue an
n..., ..'al, *r., I*itr.r.irjr. ffiarl (o-mitted here for space reasous), in which various responses to the problem
These questions cannot "aurnrrgE
at be aidresr.a i,rl bo.rk of ,r".lin-,ir.i'ri"p., of televisiorr violence are discussed and evaluated.
but the vocabulary reacher .na ,n. ,.".,r.r"."n
embark on rheir own hr the past, the search for other But Dr Campbell and his col-
research witlriu their owlt sttuatron ,learning_to_learn,
as paft of thc rvorlds has been hamrrered by
process. trvo factors. Iiirst, planets are
leagues sot round this problerr
by using high-resolution spectro-
tiny objects contpared with scopy to measure accurately
slars: for instance, the sun, a variations in a star's light. Slight
Reoder octivity S r.O typical star, is 300,000 times differences in a star's light
rnore massive than the Eartn. showed that many were being
Look back over the lasr few pages of text Sccond, planets do not shine but pushed and pulled out of thcir
and note how rnany times I have
used discourse-oreanisi'g word's to only reflect light dimly from stars. paths by unseen planets.
r,ru.iur. t"y text. were you conscious
of my use of theriat the-tirne of first ..rJiugi (fr<nn Tbe Obseruer, 5 July
it so/nor, what imprications 1987, p. 4)
might this have for how languag. t.r"r..,
;J;; r;;;:i'"''
"irp;";.h Here botlr problern and hampered contribute to activating the problem-
solutiorr pattenl, while got round indicates a positively evaluated response.
can begin to see thar a number of vocabulary items chaiacter-
'orv round the elements
istically clusrer of larger patterns in texts. words that
3.6 often occur in the environments <lf the elements of pr<lblern-solution
Signalling larger lextual patterns
pattcrns irrclrr,le the following:
So far, the discourse-organisi'g words Problent collcern, difficulty, dilemma, drawback, hamper,
we have looked at in greatest detail
have been illustrated iritheir ,61. of ,.p..r.nri"g hirrd(er/ance), obstacle, problem, snag
,.gn'.,rr, o?^r*i, p"..f_
ling up phrases and whole sentences. But we
also noted in section 3.5 that Response change, combat (vb), come up with, develop, find,
they often have a broader,textual fun*ion
reader what larger textual patterns or. b.i,rg
too, ,nd d; i;;;;;;r'f
io ,tr.
measure(s), respon(d/se)
Solutionlresu/l answer, consequence, effect, outcome, result, solution,
,."lised. we shall now look
further at this ph.,,orn.non. In section 1-r0', (re)solve
we saw an ilrustration of a
problem*solution paftern Discourse
orgr,rir.r, often contribute to our
Eualuatio, (in)effective,manage,overcome,succeed, (un)successful,
dwareness.that a.probrem-sorutior p",r.i. viable, work (vb)
is being rearised.
ing texrs, items have been picked out in bord
irril,. rotro*-
to"exemprify iiir'p"i"r. l" Likewise, other items clraracteristically cluster round the elements of claim-
3 Discourse analysis and uocabulary
3.6 Signalling larger textual patterns
counterclainr (or 'hyp.thetical-real') patte'rs, itenrs sucrr
state, truth, false, in fact, in reality,etc. SLrch words have
as craim, assert, These recurrent features of textual patterning .rnay be exploited in
fr.." fi.t.a ou, in vocabulary teaching/learning as a top-down pnenomenon; once conscious
the followirrg texr:
of a larger text-pattern, the learner can be brought to an awareness of the
(3.15) Historians are generally agreed that these values have been dominant, they rich vein of vocabulary tlrat regularly realises it. As a bottom-up phenom-
British society is founded on a possessive would also acknowledqe that the devel- enon, Iearuers carr bring together in their vocabulary records items that
individualism, but they have disputed the opment of iapitalist saw ,the regularly occur in similar textual environments, e.g. the typical .response'
origins of that philosophy. some trace it parallel growth ot anothei ideology, vocabulary of problern-s.lutio' patterns. such lists can be added to over
' back to the middle ages, others link it to Against individualism with its emphaiis
the rise of capitalism. But the consensus on individual freedom has been coun- time to build up a rich, rextually-based lexicon. Ir is yet anorher alrernarive
is that the cornerslone ot this societyhas lerposed colleclivism with its egaliffan to the ranclom vocabulary lisr and the decontextualised, semantically-
been the nuclear family - where man the values, and skess on the view thar one motivated list.
breadwinner holds dominance over his individual's freedom cannot be paid for
dependent wife and children. The values by the denial of lreedom to others. The
of individual freedom, self-reliance, indi- 19th century growth of trades unions,
vidual advancement and crucially, lhe lhe cooperativamovement and organised
Reoder octivity 6 rr.O
obligation of family duty to look after socialist political movements ire all
0ne's own in time of need are central to evidence oflhis opposition to dominant
'of Pick out words in the following texrs which are srrongly associated with
itsoperation. within stricr limits and ,deobsl Because this
recognition either the problem-solution pattern or the claim-counterclaim pattern:
under careful regulation, helping those of collective rights and responsibil-
less fortunate than oneself has been seen ities, feminists have always seen ths 1. All western countries face a crisis in cooino with
as parl 0f the individual's obligation to granting and safeguarding'of womens the demands made 0n welfare provision Oi tfreir
society, rights as lying within ihis socialist growing elderly populations. The problem 0f
But, although most would accepl that tradition.
resource scarcity is a real one. But perhaps not
(frorn Nera Society,2g AugLrst 19g7, p. l(t1 all countries have adopted s0 rigorously las
Jordan (19B4) is a useful work for teachers/rnarerial writers wishing to look Britainl the view that care should be based on the
family model.
1t-lrow particular vocabulary items have a tendency to .lu.t"r"in .".h Scandinavia, for example, provides residential
different segment of text-patterns such as the proble--ror"rio,., p"tt.rn.
H. facilities for elderly people not wishing t0 remain
gives reference lists for the n.rany textual e*anrpl.s hc presents
i,, iri, 6r"r. at home 0r t0 live with their families, and those
and has a coding sysreln.for whether parricular words typically
'problem' secion or wherever. pari of his word lisi tcrr
o..* in ,t. facilities are often available for use by local
tlr. .1"i. pensioners 0n a daily basis. Elderly people in the
counterclaim (or hypothetical-real) pamern is listed below: "nd
United States have developed communities of
(3.16) 'whenever
a writer needs to indicate doubt or urcertainty he uses a their own, supporting each other and running
signal of hypotheticarity to indicate this. Here are exampres of
such them by themselves, as their answer to increas-
signallirrg words in the exanrgrles.
ing dependency. Some have argued against
according estimated might seems these 'age-dense' solutions, likening them to
apparently evidently old wives' tale should ghettos, but research suggests a high degree of
appears expected perhaps signs c0nsumer satisfacti0n,
arguably forecast potential so-called Examples from other countries demonstrate
believes imagine probably speculation that there are alternative ways 0f tackling the
claimed likely promises to be suggests issues of caring and dependency, The family
considered look reported thought model 0f care with the high demands made 0n
could may says
women and lack of choice and frequent loneli-
(Jordan 1984: 148) ness for the dependents is not the only solution.

(from Nerzr Society,23 August 1987,p. 1,2) >

3 Discourse analysis and uocabulary
3.7 Register and signalling uocobulary
2. Local authorities believe strongly in the involve_ (3.r7) Put orrlirrary cxtcrior varnish on your rloors and window frames anrl in
ment 0f the public sector and the need for public no
tinre at all you'll wish you hadn't.
planning. They think that it is more
important to Wrxxl shrinks and stretclres whcn thc ternperature and humidity changes.
protect jobs which are already in
their area than Or<lirrary varnish, rlocsn't, so it cracks.
to attract more from outside. And since they tlon't strip it offand start again you'll bc in rcal trouble, your wood
holo .lfyou
that production is the key to economic revivai will lx: opcn to atack lionr fungus and rot, uud .1rit., fr*klyjt ,jll 1.,,k
they think it is more important to sustain manu_ arvful.
facturing.industry than to switch to alternatives.
(Advcrtiscnrent [or Cuprinol front The Obseruer,l2
such as the service indusrrv. July 1987, p. S)

Central government, on the other hand, places in lhe private sector for its schemes,
Alongside more rleurral iterns like deuelop and recluce the risk are informal,
rect addresses r() rhe reaclcr: you'lt uiih you hadn't antl qttite
and it considers that public planning hinders fr.o,rp"ii, i)
look atuful which creatc a pseudo-co'versatio'al r.gister in wl.,i.t., ih.
rather than helps redevelopment. lt usually dis_
element of problem is realised.
misses planning as ,red tape'. Government is
also more interested in attracting new jobs than (3.18) llecide to tackle that troublesome moss You're back where vou started.
protecting old ones. Above all, it believei on your lawn and you could find yoursell And left with the choice of getting
that the goinq round and around in circles. Or at
market decides what sort of jobs should and down on your hands and knees to weed
least backwards and forwards to your it out or traipsing off to the shops for
should not be done. local garden centre. some more moss treatment.
Conventional nross treatments simplv So if you want to save vourself heart-
won't keep moss away for any length of ache, backache and a considerable
1[rorrr Nr,ra ,Srr, ;4,1;,, Z8 Arrgrrst i9li7, lr. -]0) tirne. You apply it and shortly after- amount of shoeleather, insist on
wards your moss blackens and dies. you Lawnsman Mosskiller from ICl. You'll
troln lt. I he ltttlo so and so's will turn uo
be rewarded with a moss-free lawn for
the rest of the season.
aqain as sure as thc uroverbiil-6-ad Mix the sachet with water, stir, and
PennY. sprinkle over your lawn. It's that simple.
3.7 Register and signalling vocabulary
(front Thc Obseruer Mttgazine ,5 April 19g6, p. l2)
In claiming that particular vocabulary itenrs te'cr j Here icliornatic phrases are used as sig'ars of the
to ch-rstcr rouncr certain resprnse and its occur-
clenrerrts <-,f text p:lttcrls ,1. igrr,rirrg the irrrportalr t fact tltat-register
(sce page .12) is closely rieil ro lexical I rence after a,.previous ncgatively evaluated ..rplnr. ('conve'
sel'ccti treatments'). Idiours are ofren a problem for dre t."ih., insomuch as it is
1n,obltrir.l.,;r;;;;;;roposed pr<tblem, d,;,,r,:i;lt:iltJ:; i:::*;Jr'i: not always easy to find natural contexts in which to present them.
clearly^ we nright not expc* to fi'cl s,ag occurring
in this way i. a formar , by Moon (1987) sLrggesrs rhar writers a.rd speakers
use icliomati. to
scierrtific reporr,
(deuelop would be'or
pcrhaps. ,onrr. witlt as; rf ;;;;;;?";'irlrpor* 'organise
their discourse and_to signal evaluario', far o,ur. fr.qu.'tly than
a more piedictable cl.,oi..1. Th.r.f.ii.,
- the relationship between i,.,lll .rrr.rr, previous li'guistic studies of idionraticity have suggested. Idioms
vtcaburary and register ur.d, io",t. l."r*r,, metaphors for the kinds of textual segmenrs "r. ar
when srudying rexrual signailing.'Lexicar'choi.. *-Jh"u. been looking
*rrrri,,"irr.' jjS,rtin.a (pro.blenr/resporse, etc.). co'sider how some of the following could
clusrers will depend on theio'texi be
(textb.ok, -"r^gi,r., ,.*r'..oJra .r..t, used i' i.fornral cliscourses to
the aurhor's assumoriorrs about the audi",,..
, suggesr the problem-solution n;;..;,
i.;J;;."J);ir.lriir."i.^ (to be) in a fix
the popular tabloici press, etc-.)whe ther the style
is to be reacr as .wrirren, or"r b be up against a brick wall
'sgroker', and so on' of the texts
hru.looked *. to c.otne up trurltps (sth) does the trick
toward the 'written/f'rrnal/cultured' end of th. ";;;?;rlr.". u.." to haue a cracl< at (doing something) to haue a brainwaute
,p..t.un-'. ri.r.l* ,*.
/ more, this tirne with a more inforr'al, collocluial ;.'". Th;;;r; (to be) up d gum tree
to illustrate the fact that discourse-signaili'g'words
need nor'ecessarily be speakers and writers use these in informal situatio's to perform
only rather 'dry' acaclemic words t"ri.n f.oin th. :'kind of organising the same
crr..o-Lrti" and signalling functions that the mor. fo.m"l uo.abu-
of English. The relevant words are underlinecl: ".*i"r..y lary does in writtcrr argurnentation.

3 Discourse ana.lysis and uocabulary
3.8 Modality
We can now_begin to see. just how inlportant certain vocabulary
. it.n , ,r. l (nourts, adjectivcs, vcrbs and adverbs) carr_y_the same
or similar meani'gs
Admittedly, we have concenrrated on'r.porting, ito the modal verbs. For dris reason, modality is dealt with here in our
exprsitory argumenrative texrs, bur learrrers freque.rly l., u.kl. ,
chapter on vocabulary rather than in Chapter 2.
quite daunting and lengthy examples of these in th.i, i*iLr""r.r,..""J.,
r' fwo no-table studies of modality in rarge amounts of discourse, Hormes
syllabus specificariorrs often dcrnarrcl.that.rhey_ be studied.
ii,.;-;;; ;;;:
cisely the.types of rexr thar come fesroo'ed *iih .o,r.,p..rr.,rrl.,-,
(1983) and Hernrer6n (1978), show a wide range
of uses of th. trrdLionat
q".rtion, class of m'dal verbs and. of a vocaburary of rJxicar it.m, ...ryi.,g nro,rrl
in coursebooks and exa's, and are regurarry as b.i,rg .ii-fdcult', '

meanings, frorn the classic epistemic modality (concerned witrL

'bori'g' and 'demorivating' for srudenrs lr"y t.^.h.rr. Th;y ;;; de!rees of
;f,. *i, ,t., certainty and possibility) to the root modalities (volition, p..,iirrion,
are hardesr
.to unpack. Sigrificantly, the kirrcl .f ,lir;;;;;_.rg^"iri"g obligation). Both Flolmes's and r{ermer6n's data sho* thaf pi,,
vocabulary that has occurred iri moit of our example t.*tr,
th. "C.^..o, other word classes express modality more frequendy than
u.rb".. l-r,.
Lati' words found in argu.mentation and exp.sition, is typical or tt t ina vocabulary. of modality includes verbs su.h as appear,''od"t
of vocabulary that research has clai're.l p.<liu."s . ;I.*i.rr b"r;, " Assunte, doubt,
obstacle ro progress in education, for children learning rh;ir
, ,.riou, actuattv,
fi*; ilnfr"g. f!j,'j:^L?"?k^fj.,.ll:.,l"sf!l!:,
\,i.neuitably., obuiously, possibly,lh''k,,adverbs
'u'h,.',, 9',,iiiav',
(see corso' 1985). we should nor uuderestimate and nouns and adjective, ,.f",.J ,"-ri.#
thi difficulties sJcond :(tor a tull list, sec Ho_lmes 1988). In terms of frequency, the verbs and
language learners ma-y experie'ce with rhese words, p.r,i*irJy
,"rr.i.'*t o adverbs are considerably more frequent than the nouns and adjectives.
do not come trom a I{ornance_ or Germanic_language background.
Discourse-orga'ising words are
All these words carry important information about the sta'ce and
b".t pr.rentld Ind p.".tiJin th.i, attitude of tlre sender to the message; they are corcerned with assertion.
rratural conrexrs. sir'ply lookirrg rhenr up i. a rrr<1.'li'gual
lead to a circularity of abstract clefirritions. Note how eue,,
dictionarv can i tenrativeness, commirment, detachment and other crucial aspects
of iitrr_
a good, n'od..n rnearring (as opposed to ideational, or content, meanings). In
learner's dictio'ary like the collins coBUlLD (19s7) dicti?rr*y-a.n"., i ??:.?,:ol
Haf f idayan rnodel of t.glrt.. they form a pait of ,tt, trrt"i
ltroblem irr rerms of difficulty, and difficulty in rerms o( problent, or ii"':;;;;.r".
It we take a later part of one of our earlier texts, extract (3.10), we can see
(3.19) p1ofulsm /prgblem/, problerns. difficulty/drfrke'lti'/, difficul_ how moda.l v.cabulary represents another aspect of ,tiscoursal o,."ning
I A problem is l.l a situation ties. I A difficulty is some_ over and above the organisatioral and. more general signalling
or a state of affairs that causes thing that is a problem for already analysed. Modal irems are picked oui in bold,.- "o."f
difficulties for people, so that you. EG. There are lots of dif_
they try to think of a way to (3.20) Inevitably, objectiorrs will be raised to the promotion of the motor
Jiculties that have to be over-
deal with it. nc. fami- come... The main difficulty is a cycle as the saviour of our environment.
I,ies can try to .solve these prob- shortage of time. It is dangerous: it can be but three-fifths of all serious moror
lems... ...the social problems 2 If something causes diffi- cycling accidents are caused by cars. so, by transferring some drivers
in mod.ern society... i think we cully, il . causes problems frorn cars to motor cycles, the risk can immediately be"reduced.
may Imve a problem here... Departrnent of Trarrsp<-rrt statistics have shown ihr, .r, driver is
Decause lt ls not easy to do or
She has a weight problem... rrine times rnore likely to take someone else with him in" an accidenr
understarrd. Ec. This con
The problem is that she can't cause difJiculty... ...questions than a moror cyclist, so riding a motor cycle is actually making a
cook. oJ varying dfficulty. contribution to road safety.
(Canbridge Weekly News,22 Septenrber l98g: 11)
(from Col/irs COBIJILD English Language Dictionary, pp. 1143,
Discourse analysts have demo'strated that modality is fundamental
in the
creation of discourse; a// messages choose rom. deg... of modality, euen
3.8 Modality if
it is only to rnake a neutral choice of bald assertion (e.g. .The cat r"i on
mat',r so
; rrr4! as lvrrrpdrLu
compared with rrrs rcavuy
wrLrr the modalised .ll suppose
heavily rrrooallseo it' posslble
supfose lt's ible the
one contribution that the study of vocabulary i'
naturally occurring cat just may have sat on the mat'). I.xngu"g. t.r.h.r, have always paid
, discourses,has.made is to point up the all-pervasiveness of modarity ii atte'rion to the modal verbs but, Holmes 1i9sg1 shows, in her suruey of
spoken and wrimen language. Modality is often thought of as the province four ESL.textbooks, that the larger vocabulary of *,oarl
of the closed class of modal verbs (nru't, can, will, miy,etc.) and t.."t.d ,,
t.*i.rili.rn, i,
often under-represented in teaching materials, and there does seem,o
part of the grammar of English, but a large numb.i of llexical' words need to redress the balance in lighrof what natural data shows.
I r,,{
i;t i
lr 5 Spoken langttage
i Donaldso. (r979) criscusses the rr:rrsacti.rrar/i'tcractrorrar
Tlre scrnirral 1,al)cr ()n ttrrn_t:rking is
clivicle, as we, as
6 Written language
i Secks rt ,r!. (1974).

i, Also frorrr tlrar ti're Stalkey

tisz:l ",,J ;;;.;;; arrcl Niedereh e (1974) are of
but reccnt retrri'king arrcr criticisr'
'lterest' ur r,,.,r-,"t i,rg moders has c.nre from
Houtkoop and Maz"clend
1t9S-!1 arrcl flr*.,
"r.f'O"l Marrcllo (19g5).
Ilow tur's operate wrrere visuar cues a[c
rvith i, Buttcrworth, Hine
arrcl Brady (1977) antl Ilcatie (l98
I). "b..',riir.t""lt
On telephone calls, see Schcgloff (1986).
.(I988) provides a goocl introcluction to rrrarratrve' while FIinds (1984) 'l haven't opened it yet,,said
considers.lnp"u.r. u."t narrarive. the
More orr the larrguage of roure crirections White Rabbit; ,but it seems to be
can rre foulrd in lrsathrs (r986).
Ilygate (I987) gives eood cvaruarions
p"Lrririr"i',nateriars for spoken Engrish, a letter, written by the prisoner
,h" "r
g",'.,."ii-1,ii.",;",, to somebody.'
ili'f;il::11:uu:,11:''.,".. or conversarion a'alysis
'lt must have been that,, said
Irrteresri'g r..",,r *.r.k..'liste.irrg are Ilicrrarcls (r9s3), G. Brown (1985), the King, ,unless it was written
Anderson and Lynch (1988). and
to nobody, which isn't usual, you

Lewis Carroll: Alice,s Adventures

in Wonderland

6.1 Introduction

Much of what to be said concerning writrer language has arready

been said i'. previous chapters.'t toucrred on the notions
coherence, cla'se relationi and te*tu"l p"rr..n, of
in. writte' language;
Chapter 2 explored cohesion, t1.,.-. und'.heme
a.d ,.,.,r. ,ni-^orp..r,
taking ma.y of its exampres from wri*en t.*rr;
chapt"r J-.*rrri".a
lexical cohesion and rext-organising "n,l
vocaburary, agaln exemprifyins with a
nur'ber of writren rexr exrracts. Even chapter
language, made points th"t .r. ..l.u"nt ,.i
ttre a*rve rrsrerrer a'd the a*ive reader are
*rirr.n ;;;.;.r.,
engaged in very ,i;;i;; p..-
cesses, Also transferabre from trre rest
of thi, b"oo't- r*.'g.".r"r'0.i"_
ciples: rhat nor everythi'g described by di*ou*. "r. ir;i.;;;;
analysts ;"
may have
.any irnmediate application, in t.ngurge teaching, o" ",
other hand, that rhe n,o.. *. can learn from l,r.ourse analysts ""d,
as to how
differe't rexts are oreanised and ho.w ,h. pr*.r,
of .r.rting ;riri." i.*, i,
realised ar various leiels, from smalr units
io l,arge, the more rikery we are to
be able to create authentic materials
for the classroom.
^nd ".tiurti.,

6.2 Text types

Unlike or-rr knowledgc of speech, orrr knowledge

of written text has been

| 4'7
6 'V/ritten
6.3 Speech and writing
greatly assisted by the existerrce of huge cornputerised corpora of writt
;iting in m_ost general language courses. For writing purposes, letters of
rrraterial such as rhe twenry-rnillion word llirmingharn colleition of Engli rious kincls will always be a useful rype to
Text (the basis of the colli's COBUILD dictionary project), and corp but, in addition,
llabuses a'd exami'ations often demand "xploit, essays or compositions,
buildi'g over rhe years has led to arr inreresr in ieiailed i"*orrorii, hether narrative, descriptive or argumentarive, and it is here that teachers
textual types. I-{owcver, we still lack hard cviclencc of iust how *ritt.n i rd the greatest challenges in devising inreresting and authentic activities.
impinges.n the day-to-day life of urosr 1.rcrple. we cau obrrin statistics e shall therefore consider how learners can bi assisted in s'ch writing
library-borrowiug, or for salcs, a'cl gct iclea <lf what ills by the irsights discourse analysis has providecr inro texr types and the
people read of these 'rnaiustreanr' text ty1'r.s, Lut a whole hidden r ationships between texts and their conrexts.
exists too, of nrenros, fornrs, notices, telexes, tickets, letters, hoardin
labels, junk mail, erc., ard it is very difficult ro guess just what people's da
readi'g and writing is. o'ce', rhe language reacher is lefi with , rypoi Speech and writing
log.y.based on iutuiti.n, or pedraps tt.tor",rft"i., rlran not, with an impfsed
syllabus of nrainstreanr texts, as the raw material of tcaching. h spoken and written discourses are dependent on their irnmediate
xts to a grearer or lesser degree. The idea that writing is in some way
ra'ding" whereas speech is more closely tied to its context, has .oml
Reoder octivity 1 rr.O

Ltrrk nt this list writterr texts illrd rlecitlc h.w ,[ten you read
'f cvcryclay
and write such rexrs, o,t an oftenlsornetimesl\arerylNeuer s.rl.. iick the
appropriate box ancl, if possible , compare your results with another person.

Read Write .)

os RN os RN
hrstruction leaflet
Letter tolfrom friend
Public notice ji,:'This sarne variation in conrext-dependability is found i' written rexts.
Product label 'No BICYCLES' is highly .it is
'3ign saying -conrexr-dependent: it n.ray mean
Newspaper obituary rorbidde' to. ride/pa.rk a bicycle herr-or p"rhap, 'all available bicycles
Poem 'already
hired/sold', depending on where the notice is located. And wlLile it
News report ,is true that written texts such as essays, reports, instructions and letters do
Acadernic article ,tend to be more freestanding io'.ont"in fewer deictic .*p..rrionr,
Small ads written texts may still cncode a"ndhigh degree of shared knowledge berween
Postcard to/from friend reader and writer and be just as opaque as conversational tr"ns."ripts, as in I

Business letter s extract frorn a personal letter.

Dear Simon,
Thanks for your letter and the papers. I roo was sorry we didn't get
the chance to continue our bonversation on the train. My iournev
It is certain that most people will read more of the texr types listed in the
wasn't so bad, and I got back about nine.
reader activity than actually write them. Nonetheless, apart from specialist
(Author's data 1989)
learners, who tend to have precise reading and writing needs, it is still
difficult trl gauge precisely what types of written text are most useful in e have here references to another text shared by the writer and reader
language teaching and to find the right balance berween reading and ('your letter', 'l too was sorry'), an exophoric reference to,the train' (see
I j;
,:tr )
6 'Written language
6.3 Speecb and writing
section 2.2), and the deictic bach, all of which clcpend on rnutual know-
5 easy chairs
ledge to be fully understood. As cavesclropp... o,i rhe texr, we can only 2 screens
rnake intelligert guesses (orr rnurual krrowleclge in cliscourse, see Gibbi I dart board
1987). But e ve n rransparent, highly explicit tcxts are wrimen by someone for I monopoly, I clress board, I set of bridge cards and I roulette
sollleolle and for sotnetlritrg, artd thcir forrn is detenninccl by tfiese factors, Sonrc puzzlc arrtl word gamcs and *"g"ii,.,., (see librarian)
hnplicitness and explicit'ess will clepend orr whar is beirrg cornmunicared I
Set up the dart board on thc left, on the wall rrexr ro door.
to whorn, rather than rrrerely o. wlrctlrer the discourse is writte' or snoken. 2. Arra'gc -5 casy chairs arrrl I coffce tabre in the lcft c.rre*ear
classroom acrivities which bring out rhe differences berwee. .our."u the
dependent and relatively freestanding cliscourses can be devisccl based on a 3. Separatc the darts corner and the quiet corner with a screen.
cornbination of speakirrg tasks and writirrg tasks. 4. l)lcase put a screell on the edgc of left window irr order
to shicld off
In arr exanrple ofthe task-based approach (see also exrracts (5.10-12)), a the quiet corner.
group of German advanced learne rs of F.nglish rve re irrstructed to decide on Have a cu1.r of tea to relax. Thanks a lot for your help!
the clispositio's of furniture and ecluiprnent ir a room for a school open (lCC data 1988-90)
clay. The first phase .f the task was a cliscnssion in the room itself of how
best to arrange the furniture; in the seconcl phase, thdgroup had to wrire a
note to the school caretaker explaining their requirernenis. Thrrs it was Reoderoctivity 2 *4
predicted that the spoken phase would be highly ctinte*t-dependent and the
written text derached from its irnnrcdiate context in time and space. The Here is the writte' rext procluced by the other group doi'g the
activity. I'
transcript oI the discussion irr thc first phnsc conrairred n nunrberof deicric what ways cloes it differ from the Erst g.oup'r, ho* io the t*o1e*ts
words and phrases such as'rhis corirer','a litrle bit to the side','there, "ndcaretaker?
reflect percepticxs as to how one writes to a school
where the door is', etc. The discussion also co'tairred the tu'r:takrng, Gror-rp B:
exchanges and transaction nranagerneut that we examined in detail in Instructiorrs
chapter 5, as well as reflections on the real-tirne and planning constraints
of spcech in progress ('wait a rninute', ''ow, what's next?'). In short, all 1. I)ut a dart board between the window and the loudspeaker.
t'j z. Parallel to the windows, install a screen to separate,h. roo-
sorts of elenrents occurrecl that rvould be out of place in the uext (written)
phase of the task.
distance of the loudspeaker. ",
3. Put two scluare tables with four chairs each in front of the
The wrimen phase (the letter to rhe careraker) the' involved the learners screen.
4. Put two coffee tables with two chairs each on the right hand
side of
in a of differe.t discoursal problems typical .f (though not unrque the door, between the door and the curtain.
'un.rber ar
to) writing: absenr adclressee, detachment from the relevant phvsiial -5. In the middle of the room, place another square table with forrr
environment as a shared context for sender and receiver and the rlsulranr chairs.
need to be explicit, and the choice of lrow ro 'stage' the text (friendly note? (lC(-'clata 1988-90)
bare list of requirerne'ts?). In fact, the two differerrt groups who did the
activity produced quite different wrirren ourput, arrd the feedback session
afterwards with the tutor led ro a very inreresiing discussion on the cultural
differences in sending a letter to a school caretaker i' Britain arrd in Germany. Similar problerns arise wirh writing activities of this kind to
This is the text one group produced: those which
arise with spoken activities: rhe learners may misunderstand
the task
(6.2) Group A: and assume that the caretaker is expecting a note
about the
Dear John, open day, ancl therefore no.t include anything bura list ir
Would you be kind enough ro ger roonr no. 4 ready for open day and
r.quir.-.'t, 1",
. group B's effort seems to do), or else, as mentioned, there
may be unr..n
as games room. differe'ces of cultural perception affecting modes of a,ldress. vhri
You will need: *n,
clear was that the participanis did not *.iL in a vacuum and
had formed
2 square and one rectangular table quite pictures of whom they should write to an<r
what sort of
1 coffee table relatio'ship they had with this person. Thus the activity not only brings
14 chairs linguistic differences connectecl with such things as deixis antl

6 \1,/ritten language 6.4 Units itr written discourse

specificity, but also specific problenrs thar are evcr preseltr in writirrg: who It is possiblc to devise interactive activities which involve decisions on
tire reader is, whar tle wriier's relationship with the reader is, what the word order, cohesion and sequences of tenses in discourse. The followrng
purpose of the text is, and what textual form is appropriate' given. that text-jigsaw has been used successfully with groups at widely different
to these questions are built into the activity or can reasonably ber levels to focus on bottorn-up choices of these kinds. A texr is read ir.r
expected to be shared knowledge. This set of qtlestiotls ettcodes in another',i class, and any other desired activities carried out on it. When its content
foirn of words the field, tenor and nrode cousrraints of Halliday's rnodel of ,J is fanriliar, it is then presented in jigsaw format, divided up into its
language in its social context (see Halliclay l97tl). individual sentences (or irrdeed groups of sentences or paragraphs; the
Gtt.r, are a good exarnple of a discourse type lvhere the receiver rs decision is purely a practical one). What this means is that one group or
usually a specified individual or group, unlike the classroom or homework individual gets the text with selttences (or paragraphs) 1, 3, 5,7,9, etc.
essay, whiih is often written for an unknown audiettce, but with the overlay and has to recreatc seuteuces 21 4,61 8, etc. in their own words from their
of knowing tfiat the teacher/examirter will be the pseudo-readef. Letter- familiarity with the content. The other group or individual gets sentences
writing activities can therefore raise all the inrportartt questiolls of the 2, 4, 6, 8, etc. and lras to recreate the odd-numbered ones. all the
relationship bctweetr cliscourse structure attcl conte xtual factors, as we have new sentences irre ready, tlre sentences originally provided are discarded,
seen. Theri also appear to be crgss-cultural problems-copcerning letters, the two sets of created sentences are put together to see if they rnake a
especially lrusiness letters. Jenkins and FIinds (1987) found significant coherent and cohesive text, and the pair or group together make any
liff..o'.."" i.
diiferences nrie'rrrion between
in orientation herween American,
Arnerican- French and Japanese
laoanese business changes neecled until they are satisfied with the finished produc. The
letters; the American letters in their data were generally more informal and
: activity produces interesting results, as with this group of advanced
readei-oriented, with the writer strongly proiecting the reader's needs and
learners of English:
assumed purposes. The French data were ruriter-oriented, with writer (6.3) The origirral text that was read and then iigsawed was about traffic
lnrent upou protecultg his/her positioll and remainitlg lnore forrnal. The problerns in citics (sce extract (3.10)). The resultant text when the
Japanesi rexis oriented towarcls thc ntid-ground, tfie
relationship between two sets of created sentences were dovctailed was:
writer and reader. I. At prescnt, 75n/o of Englancls surface area is covered by some kind of
So writing is not fundameltally different from speech. While it is true matr nrade materiel, rnost of which comes in the shape of long stripes
i.l that the rvriier usually fias tirnc to compose and t[ink, alld is not going to of concrcte bond.
i be interrupted by the reader bidding for a rurn or saying 'Sorry, can't stop 2. Arrd yct the governrnent suggests building even more roads in order
lrl norV, must rushl;, all the other important factors constraining what is said to cope with the problern of too many vehicles in our country; this
and how it is said are present in writing as Inuch as in speech' can hardly be the answer.

I don't in the least doubt the sincerity of these studies, my own

,! observations lead Ine to challenge the very principles with which they

have been carried out.
6.4 Units in written discourse A
Day by day I watch the traffic jam on my way to work moving even
1:i more slowly than rny walking speed,
t,l In all our discussions on speaking, the sentertce was dismissed as being of
If I was to take this as indicative of a problern with the existing road
dubious value as a unir of discourse (especially in Chapter 4). The sentence
:l network, the following could be said.
is more obvious as a gramnlatical unit irl writing, although certainly.not in There are four ;rossible ways in which this dilemma might be dealt
rl all kinds of writing: sigls and norices, small acls, llotes, forms, tickets, with: one is to build more roads and thereby destroy our
lr i
.il.qu.r, all contaii fr.,"qu.nt exaulples of 'tron-setttetlces' (lists of single environnrent, two is to tax cars and petrol heavily, three is to give
*o.dr, verbless clauses, etc.). The interlal construction of the sentence has out licences for those who really need a car, four is to take into
always been the provit.rce of granlmar' but in Chapter 2, w.9 argued that a consideration the use of motorbikes instead of cars.
nunlb., of things in clause and senrence grammar have implications for the 7. Conceivably, the first three solutions have been discussed in
government circles, but they remain within the simplistic carlroad
discourse ,, irhol., in particular, word order, cohesion, and tense and
" mile computation which don't do the problem any justice. They leave
aspect. For the purposes of our discussion of these discoursal features, the
out of sight the proper use of each vehicle. This takes me to the
se)fience will liave no special status other than as a grammatical and fourth solution, which is in fact the ideal one.
trthogr"phi. unit which can be exploited where desired for pedagogical. (Author's data 1989)
illustration, iust as the clause can.
6 Written language
6.5 Clause relatiotts
This activity lctl ro a cliscussiorr aulo,g trrc pnrricipnrrrs. Everyoue viclcos and listerr nrusic.
agre ln fact Britain is thc country of the
that'thesc sruclies' (se're.ce 3) renclercJthc text incohercnt, ."a nrusiciarrs of tlrc worlil.
superordinates such as 'these policies', 'dresc views', ,these ic{eas,"ir.*iri
offered to nrake the text lexically cohesive (see secion 3.2). Some 3. (Fronr a surulnary of a text <rrr training
astronauts; Italian learner.)
in rhJ Thc passagc spcaks about tlre astr.r,rn"ut,, lif". lfh"r"
group werc happy
placing, sirrce
co,ceiuaDl1 (scrrterrcc 7) ard with its front.
3) h:rd i.errtionecr roacl cxpansion as an idea
arc a lot of
r'vhcrr.rrc livcs in space, ard the rnost i.rp()rtarrt
is abscncc
already put i'to_practice. Altcrratives such as ' fhc firsi three s'lutions
'roblcrrrs lt is nccessary_a krrrg periocl of treining
fo lcarn the basic
.pcrurrirrrs rvhich arrow the rife and.the rvork
well have bccn cliscussed', a'd 'The first three s.l.tio's havc p..Lr"uiy withi. thc shuttre.
. . .l 1'lrcy arc traincd irr sirrpre
were proposed. l-here were also nracro-level discussiorrs on fentures iobs like as cookirrg <>r crairy r.utirres nrrcr
su.h as .pcrati.'s as 1rr,rc.d.,r.r, satcllire ,.p^ir; ;;;
the use of firsr persor and what some felt was a clash of register b.t*..n the ::111"*tr,
'sarcasrn' of senre,ce 1 and the neutral tonc of thc rest
oi th. t.*t, butrin (Arrthrrr's clata 1989)
[he Inailr, tlre grouP rnernbers were concerned with inter-sentential linkl
affecting cohesion ancl word orclcr.
. The suc.cess of the jigsaw activity was ''crorbtedly clue to ,h. f".t th.i',I
the. participants were de.fending their orun text,'creared uy th.,;i
rather tha.. takirrg a tcxt to pieces. The dccisi'.-,rr"ki,.,g p.o..rr.i
were br.ughr to rhc surface
6.5 Glause relations
and i.clividuals hacl to explain a'd .l""fe,Jiheir
cllorces' a process r'ore motivating for lear'ers tha. having to explain thti
''ln sectio' 1.9 lve lo.kcd at fhe clause-relational approach to wrirte'rexr,
choices of arr i'visiblc, uuk'owr author. -l-here has Lr..,i t"ni.n.y in
teaching rnaterials to see knowledg'e .f cohesiou as sor'etlring " tc, be tested ifj::::-:::j:::::'.1*11.alji::l'1"'or writte.,ris.o*,., ."ir'", ,r,",,1j*,v.
being c.-extc.sive with se'tences (though
irr relation to textual producs, bur process approaches ."n oli., tackle this seen as
they so.retr'res are),
furctional sesmerrs (c,f anythingirom phrasal
a.rea, by getti'g lear.ers to evaluate thcir .w' texts as they are creating which could be relaGd to o.e anotrr.. 6y fi,r'ir.
therrr (see Johns 1986 for further discussion of peer evaluaticins). ,., of cog.itive rerarions,
such as cause-consequence, irstrunre'tlachievenrent,
temporar sequence,
and nrarchi'g relations such as .."rr.rii"f rnd equivalence. Individual
segnlerts of texts combined to fo.n
the logicar srru*uie of the whole and
Reoder octivity 3 r.0 to forrn cerrai' characteristic patterns
1.1,.h probl.__Jurlo,rl."fn.
sequencing of segnrenrs and how the relations ",
I ook at these pieces data purely the point of view of
rr.r**,.irr., ...'ri"r"rr.a
'f that is, ignoring i were viewed as factors in textuar correrence (r;; wi,;;;; isli, H".r"1rr:r.
interse'tential connexions, errors whicli could be said to
, 11"*ll- ll; lrgLrteis which coulcl b.e subsumed r.rncler the notion of
be principally serrtence-internal. Look for
lxoblenrs of cohesion in terrns of cohesion by coniunction in the last reader ..iiul,y
calr also be viewecl frorn
sLrch things as reference ancl corrjunction and decidc what effect such a stnrrdpoirrt,, irr
fertures have on overall comprehensibiliry and readability. creares difficulties for rhe reader in .trrat.i'afprop'ate ,se of conjurrctions
.elatirij segme'ts of rhe text
ro one
anorher cohere'tly. Bur we arso noted i,i' cf,rpt..,
1. (Frorn arr_essay on rown plarrnirrg lry arr ltalian rown planner doing z :-'ir,", ,rr.
an English course.) borderline betwee' how. co'jurction. ,ig,.,rl ""a ancr how
crause rerations
Unfortunately, not always the gmwth of cities go on with an certain lexical items do rhe same is somevlhat
attention research. lt's tlre cause of rl:rny problerns that people have tiorrs such as and, so and because have their "nJiir"r'in].,iun._
rexical equivarents in nou's;
in livirrg in big cities, arrcl also the destrtrction of the elrvlronmenr. verbs and adjectives such as additional, cause (a-s
noun or-u.lLi,' ,on_
(From an essay ou differeuces bctweeu Itlliarr and British and sequertt\ce), instrutnental, reason, and so on.
Theretore, as well as activities
Anrericarr teenagers, by arr ltalian lcarner.) that focus on co-'junction and otrier l<rcal .ohesiue
choices, activities air,ed
fhe lSritislr, Italian a'd Aurcrica'tec'egers are rike, but I think that at Iexico' of clause-rerationar signars ,o;t;lr.
b. ;;;i;r. ;;;;".,"-.r,ri"
for the ltalian ree'agers usirrg to play football more rhan British and activities can be used for this purpose. An ope'ing
segment (which could be
American teenagers. a sentence or more) and a. closing segment
of , t.*t are glven to a group of
So as for the American teenagers using to play rugby more than .i.i Indi"uidu.l gi*1 th.-,t,., .1,ffi.",
Italian and British teenagers. For use, British teenaeers like to look containing a different llli
l::ij:,fl."'jl,9T:l lexicar crause signar. I,
Ind"ividuais-.r*rJr. rrr.ii'.,*"
Written langttage 6.6 Getting to grilts witb larger patterns

segment with as tnuch text as they fcel necessary, ancl thcn compare their methods thirt inclr.rde exercises in inserting nrissing linking and signal words
segment with everyor-re else's in order to asser-nble the segurents into a in texts. Tl.rese force the learr"rer to make vocabulary choices that take more
coherent text. This involves not orlly being satisfied with the individual tharr tlre individual sentence into account (e.g. Coe, Rycroft and Ernest
segments but deciding on an approprinte serluence fclr the chain of clause 1 983 ).
relations that will lead logically to the giverr closing segnlent, and rnaking
any changes felt nccessary to inrprovc cohercrrce. Irr thc following cxantple,
groups of advanced Gernratr learners were givctr atr opeuirrg serltcnce: Reoder octivity 4 r-0
'Young pec,ple ttowaclays rre exposed to a lot of violcrrce on television, in
films, and so oll', ancl the concludion: 'This would suggest thirt some sort of Look at thcse picccs of leamer data, in which there seem to be problems of
control or censorship may be necessary to solve thc problenr.' lndividual how iudividual sentences relate to on€ another. Suggest ways in which,
segment-cards llacl starters such as: either by using corrjunctions or lexical sigrrals, the relationships can be
made Irrorc clear.
The result is . . .
Tbe reason is . . . l. My field of study concerns architecture. It's nor a 6eld of study, I
The {act is that . . . think, it's a hr-rge world going from science to knowledge of
rnaterials, to the history and composition of cultures, ro knowlcdge
This contrasts tuitb . . .
of psychological needs and wishes of men and women in the world.
Typical of thc texts produced by thc groups was: 2. The problerns of rnodern cities are derived from the Industrial
(6.4) Yotrng peoplc nowadays arc exposed to a lot of violctrce on Ilevolutiolr, ancl also if the cities of my courrtry were not interessed
-I'he frorn this everrt it's true that there are relations between every cities.
telcvisiorr, irr filurs, and so otr. result is that floocls of blood
suffocate thc T'V news ancl filnrs all over Ilrropc. T'his contrasts with (Arrthor's data 1989)
courrtries rvhere there is a strict control of arrd filnrs. The reason
is an trprooted, deculturaliz-ed young gcrtcratiotr which has ccased to
'li stick to the strigent values of their elders. The fact is that the
tli situatior.r has got worse and worse recetrtly. This would suggest that
some sort of corttrol or celtsorsltip is ttecessary.

6.6 Getling to grips with larger patterns
,ii (Author's data 1989)
\7e lrave considered larger patterns of discourse organisation at various
This particular group were unhappy with the relationship between the points irr this book. The problern-solution pamern was illustrated in
]i sentence beginning 'T'he reason is . . .' arrd the rest of the text, as they felt Chapter 1, and again in Chapter 3 in relation to vocabulary signals.
that since nothirrg had been saicl about yourrg pcople's behauiour' it was Chapter 3 also looked at examples of claim*counrerclairn (or hypothetical-
r.l pointless to give a reasoll for it, and a 'deculturalizecl generation' could real) pattenrs, and Chapters 2 and 5 referred to narrative patterns.
harclly be cited the redson for violetrce on television. The opinion was -fhese
^s are not the only patterns found in texts; another common one is
also voiced that the final text was a little uttttatural with so many front' the'question-answer' pattern, which has some features in common widr
placed phrases such as'the reason is . . .', once again raising new decisions the problem solution pattern, but whose primary morivation is the pursuit
ou theme arld rhenle which had to be taken in relation to the text as a of a satisfactory answer to a question explicitly posed (usually) at the 'r'
whole. The group finally decided to move the words 'the result is that' from beginning of the text. For exarnple: )r) ./
sentence 2 to sentence 4 to replace 'the reason is', and then to reverse the
order of sentences 3 and 4.
The aim of the activity was to reproduce some of the processes of choice
that are involved in using the lexicon of clause-relational signals, once
again as an alternative to only examining textual products containing such
items. This does not mean that cohesive and clatlse-relational features
cannot also be usefully tackled on readymade texts; alongside the process
approach to writing, there is a healthy tradition of problern-solving

1.t5 t.) /

6 Written larrguage 6.6 Gettittg to grilts tuith larger patterns

One point t() notc about pattenrs is that they are of no fixed size in terms
too expensive?
- of rrumlrer of senteuces or paragraphs contained in thenr. Another point is
th:rt arry givcu text may contain morc than one of the common pattcrns,
It's no surprise that London is either follorvi'g onc anorher or enrbedded within orre anorher. Thus a
the most expensive city to stay problenr-solution pattcrn may contairr general-specific patterns within
in, in Britain: we've all heard the irrcliviclurl segnrents, or a clainr-counterclaim pattern ',vhen proposed solu-
horror stories. But Just how tions rrre bcirrg evaluaterl, both of whiclr features arc prescnt in this tcxt:
expensive is it? According to
international hotel consultants
Horwath & Horwath's recent re-
port, there are now five London
hotels charging over €90 a night
for a single room.
Two-wheel solution
'I'IIOUSANDS of acres
But even ifyour hotel choice is provide more resources, will be raised to the pro- But I must drive a
a little more modest, you'll still of our countryside are nrotion of the motor
in this case build more BMW or Jaguar or I'll
buried for ever under roads and car parks; cycle as the saviour of have no credibility with
be forking out nearly twice as ribbons of concrete and two, restrict the avail- our environnent. nry clients, my boss, my
much for a night's stay in Lon- tarmac every year. ability of motorised shareholders: That is
don as elsewhere in Britain. Every few months a transport by artificially It is dangerous: It can iust a matter of fashion
Average room rates last year Government study or raising the price of be but three-fifths of all which most of the busi-
statement frorn an auth- vebicles and fuel: three, serious motor cycling ness community follow
worked out at around fl 9 in the oritativc body clairns that license only those with a accidents are caused by as slavishly as sheep.
provinces compared to €35 in our nrotoNay network good reason for needing cars. So, by transferring
lf the right person
London. I is inadequate and nrust
bc cxtended.
motorised transport and
prohibit un-
some drivers from cars
to motor cycles, the risk were to set the lead and
can immediately be exchange his tin box
Week by week the Decessary use; four traflic jammer for an
atnourrt of car lraffic on reduce the average size reduced.
environnlcnlally respon-
(frorn Morrel,r:rllc, Octobcr 198.5, p. 4) our roacls grows, 13 per 0f !notor vehicles, I)epartnrent of 'l'rans- siblc set of two wheels
t:" ccnt in the last year cspccially those used for port statistics have the rest of the business
.i l' alonc. conmutrng purposes, shoM that sheep would be falling
'l'he ideal vehicle for a car driver is
liach day as I walk to
In this text, a situation is establishecl which eouteius an unanswered work, I see the ludicrous transporting one person
nine times more likely to
take someone else with
over thenselves to fol-
low suit and some of our
question. Arrswers arc then offered, along with evidence or authoritative spectacle of hundreds of to and from his or her traf6c problems would
Ii' comnrrters sitting alone place of work has been in
him in an accident than a
motor cyclist, so riding a be solved at a stroke.
; iill.i snpport for them. As with 'possible responses' in the problem-solution in four or five-seater use lor as long as the motor cycle is actually
cars and barely moving motor car. l'here is All that is needed is
making a contribution to
:,1, pattenr, if the answer(s) offered clo trot allswer the original cluestiort, then as fast as I can walk. room on our existing road safety.
the willingness to sacri-
llce a little bit of comlort,
li Our traffic crisis now roads for present and
;ll other auswers are sought. presents us with the future needs but not if Our climate is tm cold take a little bit of a risk
and dare to be a little
, lrl Other typical textual pattenls incltrde various perttttltatiolrs of the classic conservation
dilemnta - too many
they are to be clogged up
with half-empty cars
and wet: Have we Brit-
ish really become so soft difterent.
general-specific pattern, where macro-structures sr,rch as the following are people making too much when the motor cycle that we couldn't face a On the other hand,
I demand on inadequate would sene the same ride on a chilly moming? what is a few thousand
found: res0urces,
'I'here are four
purpose more than ade- A good waterproof jac- acres of countryside
pos- quately. ket costs a lot less than a each year and a ten-mile
sible solutiols:0ne, lnevitably, objections new bypass, tailback?
General statement General staterncllt
L I (frcnr Ctnbtidge \Veckly News,22 Septenrber, p. 11)
I 5peclhc statenlent I specrhc stxltcurent
'i; i,l
Specific statement 2 Even more';pecific Here we begin with a general statement and then, in terms of time, a senes
,ii li of evernrore specific ones, culminating in a geueral statement in paragraph
r,l Speci6c staiemetrt 3 Even more'specific 5 of the ltroblem that is to form the central focr,rs of the rext. The next two

etc.... paragraphs then put forwarcl possible solutions. The author's preferred
solution, motorcycle, is then evaluated in the rest of the text in a series
General sttternent Gereral st*tcurc't of clainrs and couuterclairns with justifications for the counterarguments.
Examples of these pattems can be founcl irr texts such as estate ageltts' sales Only the last sentence breaks the completeness of the patterns by raising a
literature in Britain, where a general descriptiorr of the property for sale is counterargurncnt that the author chooses to leave open, but which brings
us right back to the statement of the problem in the very firsr sentence of his
followed by detailed descriptions of inclividual rooms/features, and then,
finally a return to a general statcment abor.rt the whole property again (for text. So the text is highly pitterned, and its aurhor has embedded pamerns
further discussion of differerrt pattertis, see Hoey 1983). within the overall structure of the text.

15u 15e
i! 6 Written language 6.7 Patterns and the learner
Finding patterns ir texrs is a nratte.rof interpretation by the reader, making
rti,' use,of clucs a'd signals provided by the author; it is not
lr, o1
Reoder octivity 5 r.0 hnding one sirrgle right answer, ard it will often be possibre to analyse
'1i' given text in rnore than one way. But certain patteins do tend to
;t occur
What patterns can yoll observe in the following cxtracts fronr the opening
lines of two magazine articles (you have already arlalysecl the secor.rd one
frequently i'
particular setrings: ihe problem-solurio. patre.r is frequenr -l
.al in advertising rexrs (one sell i product is t<l convince people they I
!i for modals in section 3.8)? What text pattern woulcl you predict is going to have a problem rhey may be aware tf; and in rexrs reporrir; ;hnoro-

be the dominant one in each of the texts as a whole ? gical advances (which are 'oroften seen as solving I

problems ,.*ouing I

;.i!' 1. Men can nrend stereos, drive cars ancl br.rclget rhcir pay packets :
obstacles). claim-counterclaim rexrs are frequert i' political"." journalism] l

t! efficiently; wornen are helpless when facecl with anything nrechanical as well as in the letters-to-the-eclitor prg.r oi .,.*rpnp.., and magazines,
ill and are extravagant spenders. Chaps, of course, arc cool and (but see Ghade-ssy 1983, for a problem:solr-rtion orienrarion
ro such i-etters).
I ii, rational, while wornen are swayed by their emotions and are slaves to General-specific patterns can be found in e'cyclopaeclias ancl other refer-
ll. the lunar cycle. Men are polyglrnous, wornen nlonogarllous. ence texts, t

Ridiculous stereotypes? Absolutely. So why do cpritc a lot of rnen and

rather a large number of wonren still half belieqe them?
(O pt i ons, October 19135: 20 l) 6.7 Patlerns and the learner

' Can citrus If we look at lea.rers' attenrpts to create textuar pattcrrs of the kincls we
have describecl above, we find that there are sometimes proble'rs.
peel harm? we noted that learrrers.whole.overall competence *.i pou. crft.n gor
Just as
trappecl irr the difficulties of local encoditig at th. .* of larger
lii I
Did you know that lemon and
ma'ageme't i. spoken discourse, so roo cau we obscrve such
,:1, orange peel is coated with wax
li, and chemicals?
difficulties affccrirrg lear'eri' wrirte' work. if we look again at . ,.*i f.on,
'll' The skin of almost all citrus which we took an exrra* earlier, dris time reprod'cing ihe whole texr, we
i :; fruit sold in the UK is heated can sce an attempt at a general-specific pattefr.l which seems to
with fungicides to stop it going iust end in
,lri midstream, lacking the typical i.turn io a general ,r",...n, after
ti i'
mouldy. And the glossy the
itii specific examples that is gxpscled in a well-formed texr. On the other
jii surface is the result of bathing
il i
the fruif in wax.
one coulcl equally say that the text sets out to create a ,ur.ber of
lli descriptrve
Could the fungicides used contrasts, but gets 'lclst' in a digression about Britai.,s ascendancy
in rhe
on citrus peel be harmful - world of music:
.i:: ' particularly since there's some
:'11 evidence hom laboratory tests (6'7) (generttl st.ttement) The British, Italian and Anrerican reenagers
iii that, in s rfficient quantities, like, (specific: nt<tdificatiorr of generar stdte,rrent) but I thinlithat for
they may produce cancers or rhe Italian rcenagers rrsing to play footbarl rnore rha'British
, 1'; and
mutations in animals? Anrericarr teenagers.
The Govemment doesn't feel (specifc: parallel modification) So as for the Arnerican teenasers
there is any need to worry
r.rsirrg to play nrgby more rhan Italian and British
because the levels of fungicide teenagcrr. (ni*
permitted are very low. The specific) F<ir use, British reenagers like to look videos uid li.i.n
levels are based on the nrusic. (r/rgressioni) In fact Britain is the country of the best
recommendations of UK and nrusicians of the world. (entl of text\
intemational advisorv bodies (Author's data 1989)
for the amount that;n b€
coruumed daily without any It is extrernely
significant effect.
doubtful whether the wrirer (a highly educatcd, marure
person) would write such an unsrru*ured rexr in hii uwn
native ranguage.
(fromWhich?, January 1984, p.4l It is quite clear rhat rhe'srresses of creating the text (and the frJdu.n,
t60 151
' lti,
'ti ,ui
6 Written language
6.7 Patterns and the learner
iti crossi'gs-rut irr the r'arruscript s.pport rhis) at thc levcl of Iocal
ch<;ice of
; ii.l'. gramnrar arrd vocabular.y has provccl t.o rruch, arrcl
all ,",rr",rf uu.rrll
ii:l,i plarrnirrg has bcen abanclonecl.'
At lower lcvels, clausc- ancr scntcrrcc-clraining irctivitics ca' take the Reoder octivity 6 r.O
strairr off nracr'-level plar'ing but still procluce . i.rr,r.r-g.r.,.r.i.ii.-,
scruti'y in class. As with the'ar chainiirg
r", An aclva'cecl group r-rf Ger'ra. lea.rers of English produced the followrng
Iea*er cre:ltes a texturrl segnre.t relcvart t. a givcu topic,^...i"iiy,
.".t sentcrlces basecl on the topic. card (seen by all rnenibers of the group) ancl
:? but with the segrncnt-starters given (in italics). Vhat, in yonr opinion, would be the bcst
segnreut-startcrs corrt:rirrirrg sigrral wortls of tlrc (irr tlris
,i case) l.rolrlem_
sohrtion srrufiurc. For an all-rtalian group of archiiccts .,,a order for tlre scnterrces to rnake a satisfactory tcxt? How many possible
, ti,r,r.,.urrt acceptable orclers are there? what changes would you like ro nr"ke to tl.,e
'a plan'ers o. a' inte'sive E'glish .a-ra., trrc topic selrte'cc was: .Nowa-
days, more a.d pr.opl. wa.t to 'io, wording of inclividual senrences?
,-,r" t1.," .u,,,rrrfri,l" l.,ru..
purposcs.' -f lre stnrtcrs wcrc: T.1ric: 1. Fo.tball hooliganism is a conunctn lthan.ntenon itt n lot of
Ilrrt tltc ltroblcnt is . . . 1 l.trtopean countries.
2. Orre ltossible solutiott to reduce the worst effects might be, 6rst
Planners hrtue ttn important role to .
ltlay: . . . of all, to stop violent fans from entering the stadiurn.
Orre possible solutiott to tlte problei,, i, . . . 3. 'fhe reason for the fans aggressive behaviour is their social
These were desig'ccl to.gererate background.
i,ii ltrtbretrt, a respot'*e fro'r plar.ers a.d
4. 'l'he t'
a possiblc solutiort. l-hus thc rcxr srage of the :rcriviry, ,".irir"iii,rg ltroblent is how interfere witho.t cancelling all football
,lr. rnatclrcs arrd witlrout frustrating the real rrorr_violent fans. scgnlclrts irrto a colrercllr tcxr: is grriclctl lry t.,1,'
.f ,,*,, .:,,,,r,1i,," -5. 'f lte siruatiort carr [re describecl
as rhousarcls of peopre
of typical problern-solurirr secluenc.r. l.i.," .lir.ussion .,'' l.q,,",r.l,rg . are injured every rveckend and a lot of danraqe is done to tlre
segments and rrecessary changes to the text was carriccl
o,r in the learners, "r stadiums.
L1 o' this occasiorr. The authclr of extract (5.7) was a ure'rber
nf th. g.,.,up (Author's data t989)
rvhosc final text is reprocluced here:
(6'8) Nowaciays, nrore arcl rnore pcopre wart to use tlre cou.tryside
leisttre purposes. But the problenr is that tlre ur[r:rnisrn take
ouer and
donrinatcs it. plarrrcrs rrlve rr irnportarrt r.rc to pray: they Auother interesting aspect of learners' success or otherwise in macro-level
have to
crrsure the comnrunity thc right disti'ctiorr b"t*.",l ,r".",
fu, comnrunication in their writing is how they use the kind of discourse-
working tinre arrd for leisrrrc plrrl)oscsr nrrd rrrorcovcr to locate tlrrs signalling vocabulary discussed in sections 3.5-6. what is sometimes observ-
Iast activities in the best corrve'ie.t situatiorr f.r
.I pe.pre. one able in leanrer data is that, although the overall parrerning is presenr, mlsuse
p<-rssible solutiorr to thc prorrrcnr is thrt pcoprc
hlve to kuow the of sigualling worcls cau disorient the reader somewhar. This extracr is from
advarrtages to live far fronr traffic ancl rroise, lreceuse a calnr place
a sunlmary of a text on the problems of training asrronauts to live in space:
where everybocly can have a rerati.rrship witrr itself, it is'eccssary
for our soul. (6.9) As soon as a rnan of our century realizes we're going to reach the
(Author's clate
c.rrplete crntrol .f cornnruricating and travelling in space, he has to
consicler the huge number of difficulties that overcome with the
The author o-f tex-t (5.2) cornposed the serreuce lregi'ni'g 'but developing of space travels. I
the problem
is ..'',
which reflects his lexic.-gramrnatical r'.ikn.rr.r.unrpr..J *ith Science and technique may develop to hinder a lot of problems.
the others in the_group, but i' teirns of the fi'al text, whiclr like for example loss of oxyge', inrense cold, severe radttion bursrs
w'r, ,*a ro, and so on.
remedial vocabulary ancl grarnmar work, his co'tribLrtio. was
as useful as
the rest. (Author's data 1989)

The 6rst infelicity in discourse-signalling vocabulary occurs with 'difficul-

ties that overcome', but here it is not entirely clear whether the problem is
Iexical; it may be (interference from a cognate form ir Italian whlch hides a
false friend) or it cor-rld be syntactic, insomuch as many langr.rages use a
'that' consr.r*ion where English would have an infinitive ('Jifficulties ro
6.8 Culture and rhetoric
6 \Yritten language
prefercnce of particular therne-rheme sequences (see section 2.3) have been
ouerconte'), br,rt the vclcabulary-cftoice teltcls to be clonripated by tfie quite
claimed. Even within the satne language family differences have been
plausible syutax hcrc, autl nrqst rcaclers prcsclttecl with the text suffer
suggested: Gerurarr acadcnric texts seem to allow a greater amount of
iisorientati<tn. "fhe secqn.l error, 'to ltindcr a lot of problenls' is more
parenthetical irrformation and freedom to digress than English writing of
obviously lexical, and ulrderlipes the point t'rlatle in Chapter 3 abou.t the
the sanre kind, and thcre is sonte evidence that English writers tend to use
importarice of grouping words together along cliscottrse-futlctional lines,
topic se ntences at the lrcginning of paragraplrs where German writers might
,nil ,ugg..r, iol. f,,rihe tcaclring of collocating pa.irs irr the case.of such
*'A sinriltr collocatiottal prttblcrrr scellts to ltave <lccttrred in the
prefer a bridging sentcnce between paragraphs.
But by u() rncalls evcryone agrees that such teltdettcics are significant, nor
football hooliganisnt text itt Readcr activity 6: otre does not rrornrally
that they cause problerns for language learners. Typical of the confusiorl is
interfere to solve a problem (irtterfercnce r-rsually suggests ma.king things
the case of Arabic and Chinese: Kaplan had spoken of parallelism for
worse); in English, ole interuencs to solve problems. Such local errors
Arabic and indirection for Oriental texts, but Bar-Lev (1985) finds more of
clisorient the rcader in sense that he/she is cotrtitrttottsly making pre-
a terrdency to 'fluidity' in Arabic text (i.e. non-hierarchical progression with
clictions ebout the text as a whole ancl its likely secluencing ancl patterlling'
a preference for'conuexion with and, but, and so), and claims that paral-
lelisnr is a property of Chinese and Vietnarnese. Aziz (1988), however, finds
that Arabic text has a preference for the theme-repetition pattern (the first
6.8 Culture and rhetoric
of the three theme and rheme patterns discussed in section 2'3), rnaking it
different from Englislr and indeed suggestiltg a sort of parallelism. Then
Our data cxantples so far show orre thinP,: F.Lrropeatt leartters of English in
again, as regarcls Chirrese, Mohar.r and Lo (1985) found no marked diffcr-
general are pcifectly capalrle of tra_nsfcrriug discourse patterns .such as 'lhis sort of conflicting
(as witnessed in the ences between Chirrcse texts atrd English ones.
itroblem-solutiol patterns fronr tlteir L1 tq an L2 evidence does not provide the answers to the sorts of questions language
chaining activities). Where problems arise, thcy seetn to be relatable to lack
level ancl the natural teachers arc concerned with. Nor is the picture any clearer with regard to
of lingJistic competeltce ai the lexico-gratnlrlatical
whether there is cross-cultural interfereuce for learners. Language teachers
difficu-lties of coping with global planning wheu one is under great stress
are therefore left with irrtuition, experience and tl-reir own data as the most
encoding at the seritence level. But what of the writing of lear-ners from
reliable resources for cleciding whether interference is a problem.
cultures"quite differertt frotn Westcrtr olles? Are thcre established llorms o[ What we find frecluently in examining Middle Eastern, Oriental and
rvriting iri other literate cultures that are clifferent and nright therefore be other learner data in English are the same probletns uoted in European
exoect'etl to interfere with the lnacro-level clecision-r.naking of the learner
data: that bad discourse organisation often accompanies poor lextco-
rvnting in F,nglish? grammarical compbtence. Just as we observed an ltalian learner failing to
The"area uT .rosr-.r',1t'-rral rhetoric studies has spawned a vast literature produce ar.rd cornplete general-specific pattern in compartng
of its own, and a solnewhat confusilg one. Ott the otre hancl, linguists
claim -British a satisfactory
and Italian reenagers (extract 6.7), so we find similar difficulties with
in Ir.u. .uid.,.,.. of tcxtual parrenls iir other languages not found in English
a Japanese low-level learner doing the same task:
writing; on thc other harrd, there is disagreemeut over whether these
patter;l; are transferred and cause intcrference when the learuer writes ln
(6.10) British teerragers watching television. Boys and girls many people'
My country teenagers very more people watching television, because
irrrgfltft. A paper by Kaplan (1956), in whicS he posited-a typology for my country television more select. My country TV have channell
t.*'iurl projr.rrio,r with different rypes associated wit[ different cultures, no. 1, 3, 4, 6,8, 10, 12.
*r, iifluential, but has since- been undermi.ed by other studies.
British teenagers playing football very famous. But my country
i ".iy,ugg.rt.d that English
r"prr" rexr was characteristically linear and hier- teenagers playing baseball very famous'
.r.j.,i.^I, ,i[,ile s.mitic (llebrew and Arabic) text was characterised by
(Author's data 1989)
oarallelisrn; Oriental text had 'ildirectiop' as a characteristic, and Russian
lnd Ror"n.e texts had a preference for cligressions. Sonre evidence seems
io ,uppor, differences i' textual structure, such as the acceptability in Reoderoctivity 7 r'0
j;p;.'r. rexrs of whar seems to the Englis6 eye to be the abrupt insertion of
irr.l.u"n, matrer (see Hinds 1983), or certain features of word order and use Consider this essay on differences between English and Japanese teenagers
oi funlun.tiors t6at are redolent of Indian languages being.carried over
-)' Sinrilarly, clifferences irr by a highcr-level lapanese learner of English. f)oes it display better
into writing i6 Indian b,rrglish (Kachru l'-
6 Written language 6.8 Culture and rhetoric
discourse pattcrning than extract (5. l0), ancl if so, in what way(s)? entity aftcr first lnention (as seems to operate in Japanese), or indeed
whether local encoding stresses are once more to blame rather than cross-
I'd likc to corn[)arc the hnbits of tecrragcrs with those of teenagers rn
nly country.
linguistic interference. If we exarnine two of dre sentences from the Japan-
ese learner's text in Reader activity 7. we see an unnatural amount of
Irr Britairr both boys arrci girls spent tinre for watching'fV,
listening to recortls anrl goirrg to clisco.'fhat is the sarne teenagers in nouu-head repctition:
my country. Of coursc therc are sotttc lcisurc for girls arrtl for boys. (6.11) llritish boys spent most time for footl;dll bccause, in this corrntry,
j llritish girls spent lnost tinrc for goirrg to the cirrcnra and tirle with
fo<ttbill is the rnost popular sports tlrat's why they spent most time
boyfricnd. l'hat is a little bit cliffererrt frotrt tecnegers irr my country, f<tr fti<ttball. lu Japan baseball is the most popular sports so Japanese
rny sistcr wlro is 1-5 yeais ol.l, sltc spctrt rlr()st tinrc for slropping ancl boys (teerragers) spent nrost tirne for baseball.
stuclying- I think.fapan arrd Britain arc differcrrt from educatiotr
system that's rvhy Japanese tcellagers spcllt rlr()st titne for Something like this might sound more natural:
' studying.
Llritish boys spent lnost tinrc for footbell lrecause, iu this country,
(6.12) llri,tish boys spend rnost of their time playing football, becar-rse in this
football is the rnost popr.rlar sp()rts thxt's why thcy spellt most time
cor.rntry it is the rnost popular sport, and that is why they spend most
for football. In Japan baseball is tlre Iuost popnrlar sp()rts so Japancse of their time playing it.
boys (teenagers) spent tnost tilrtc for baseball. We rnight even wish to look at the possibilities for substitution and reduce
If thc culturc is sirnilar Japarr ancl Ilritain it lvoultl be a sanle result the last part of the tcxt to 'and that is why this is so'. Such changes to the
but irr fact Japan and Britain are cornpletely different frorn the
text do not hide the nrore obvious lexico-grammatical errors, but they
culture. For exanrple, food, religion, poptrlar sports and so otr. So the
result is a bit cliffcrent.
certainly improve the overall feeling of naturalness once the lexico-
grammatical errors have also been dealt with. But it is not always easy to
(Autlror's data 1989)
separate discourse-level weaknesses from the local lexico-grammatical
ones, especially when the latter are thick on the groLlnd in a piece of learner
'fhe argunrents we have been rnxkirlg abor,rt the link between lexico-
grammatical competence and discourse conlpetetrce do trot mean that Reoderoctivity B
particular features in the realisation of discourse pattcrlllttg cannot be -'O
irr.,1rrou.d or directly taught; the main point is that nlacro-patterlls them- In what way(s) coulcl this paragraph from a Korean leanrer's essay be
selves do not seem to be lacking once reasonable general competeltce has improved in terms of discourse features such as conjunction, anaphoric
been achieved, ancl that, where the rnacro-patterlls are abseltt, there seem to reference, ellipsis/substitution? You may find it helpful to correct the more
be basic clause- and sentence-level problems that demand higher priority in obvious mistakes in grammar and vocabulary first, and then to reread the
teaching. Nonetheless, we have argued that while lower-order skills are text.
being taught, the higher-order fcatures can lre practised through pair and
group activities such as chaining and text-iigsaw activities, wltere the Korea lras clcvcloped radically in econotny over the past 25 years. All
macro-level decisions can be discussed in the learners' L1, or if in L2, then irrclustries have developed and especially meclranical industries have
at least divorced frotn the inrnrediate stresses of encocling the individual advanced, for example, electric, steel and car industries. As a result
development of industries, Korea has become rich country and
clauses and sentences.
altnost houses have had televisions, videos and cars.
The sorts of discourse features that do lend thentselves to direct interven-
tion are likely to be discourse-signalling vocabulary, appropriate use of (Author's data 1989)

coujunctions and other linking words, and perhaps a closer look at refer-
ence and ellipsis/substitution. There does seetn to be some evidence that
learners do not handle anaphoric reference at the text level as efficientty as
they might, but again it is not always clear whether this is because some Paying attention to the grammar-and-discourse features described in
languages tolerate more repetition of the noun head rather than pronomi- Chapter 2 is a partial means of attending to the writer's responsibility
nalisation, or that they use ellipsis for sttbsecl''-nt occtlrrences of the same towards the reader, in terms of assisting orientation to the writer's argument

l6h 167

6 Written language 6.9 Discourse and the reader

and giving signals to the reader as to how tlre segments of the text relate to and behaviour), but also about texts, how texts are typically structured and
one auother. Process approaches to the teaching of writing tend to include orgarrisecl, tlrus e nabling us to talk about two kinds of sche matai corrtent atld
such features auyway, and materials for the tcaching of writing do fonnal, respcctively. The theory in itself seems plausible enough; the more
also take into account the rnacro-planrritrg of text with regarcl to patterns we are Iocked irrto the world of the text, the easier it is to absorb rrew infor-
such as problenr solution and others we havc lookecl at (e.g. Harnp-Lyons matiou. It is often held that the teacher's job is to help the reader to activate
and l-Ieasley 19t37). the appropriatc schenrata. \Uhile we have already tested the value of pre-
dicting rvhat textual pattern(s) a given text may be going to realise in Reader
activity 5 ns au awarcness activity for constructing patterrrs in writing. it is
6.9 Discourse and the reader not at all certain whether activating the right formal schema for reading can
help rnuch if the right content schema is lacking. If the teacher's job then
canrrot leave this chapter, and indeed, the whole discussion of discourse becomes onc of supplyirrg the appropriate content schemata for a possibly
analysis and languagc teaching, rvitl.rout considering the influence of dis- vast number 9f textual encounters, then we are out of the world of discourse
colrrsc analysis on the teaching of reading. What we shall conclude about as such and firrnly in the realm of the teaching of culture, and we are not
discourse and reading in fact follows consistently from what we have said necessarily teaching the learner any skill that will be subsequently productive.
'What we have already
in this chapter arrcl itr earlier ones: rffe callnot explain disctturse pattenting said, and what may be repeated now, is that
at the macro-le vcl without payirrg due attentiort to tltc rolc of granrrnai and listening and reading have in common a positive and active role for the
lexis; by the same token, we cannot fostcr good reacling without cousider- receiver, and, if any insight is to be taken seriously on board fronr discourse
ing global ancl local reading skills sirnultaneously. analysis, it is that good listeners and readers are constantly attencling to the
In recerrt years, (luestions of rcacling pedagogy h:rve cetrtrecl on whether segmentation of the discourse, whether by intonational features in speech,
bottom-up (i.e. decoding of the text step-by-stcp frtlm srnall textual or by orthographical features in writing, or by lexico-grammatical signals
elernents such as worcls and phrases) or top-clowtt (using ntacro-level clues in both. What is also clear is that good listeners aud readers are always
to decode the text) strategies are rnore ilnportant. Tlte detrate scems to have preclicting what is to come, both in terms of the rrext few words and in
'ii settled, quite sensibly, oll a compromise betwectt local and global decoding' terms of larger patterns such as problem-solutiorl, narrative, and so on.
'I and there is gerteral agreelnent that cfficicnt readers ttse top-down and This act of prediction may be in the form of precise prediction of cotrtent or
bottom-up processing simultaneously (..g. Eskey 1988). This fits with our a more diffuse prediction of a set of questions that the author is likely to
general view of discourse as being rnanifestcd itt tnacro-level patterns to answer. For this reason, interpreting the author's signals at the level of
which a constellation of local lexico-grammatical choices contribute. The grammar and vocabulary as to what questions he/she is going to address is
best reading materials rvill encourage an ellgagement witl.r larger textual as useful as predicting, for example, the content of the rest of a giverr
forms (for exanrple throtrgh problem-solvitrg cxercises at the whole-text sentence or paragraph. This will mean paying attention to structures such
level) but not ne€ilect thc role of inclividual worcls, plrrases and grarnmatical as cle[t sentences (see section 2.3), rhetorical questions, front-placing of
devices in guiding the reader arouttcl the tcxt (e.g. Greerrall ancl Swan 1985, adverbials and other markers, and any other discourse-level features. The
who achieve a balatrce of both ingredients). reading text will be seen simultaneously as an artifact arising from a
But at both the micro- and macro-level, cautiotr itt how to ir.rtroduce the context and a particular set of assumptions of world kr.rowledge, and as an
discourse dimension is called for. In the case of cohesion, for example, the unfolding message in which the writer has encoded a lot more than just
precise relationship betweetr cohesion and coherettce is unclear, and focus- content, with signposts at various stages to guide the reader around.
ing on cohesive devices for reading purposes may llot gtlarantee any better
route towards a coherent interpretation of the text (see Steffensen 1988). At
the nracro-leve I, nruch has been rnade in recctlt years of schenm theory, that Reoder octivity 9 ;-O
is, the role of background knowledge in the reader's ability to make sense
of the text. The theory is that new knowledge can only be processed Try and predict as much as you can about this news text from the first two
coherently in relation to existing knowledge frameworks, and that the paragraphs which are given on the following page. What do you think
efficient reader activates the necessary frameworks to assist in decoding the caused the problem of the telephone boxes being out of order? Vill the text
text being reacl. The frameworks are lrot only knowledge about the world give us an answer?'What other things is it likely to tell us? \fill this be a
(e.g. about natural phetromena, aboLrt typic'' sequcllces of real-life evcnts typical protrlcrn-sol rrtion text?

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