Sunday, 13 March 2016

Confusing Textual Phase With Textual Status

Martin (1992: 456):
Public speakers (and even writers, at a time when composition was taught in schools) are commonly advised: "tell your audience what you're going to say, say it, and then remind them what you've said".  The generally cited Introduction ^ Body ^ Conclusion formula for expository texts makes the same point (as does Orientation ^ Complication/Resolution ^ Coda for narrative).  What this wise counsel represents is the tendency for whole texts in English to symbolise the Theme ^ Rheme and Given ^ New structure of the English clause.

Blogger Comments:

[1] As this demonstrates, the field here is writing pedagogy, not linguistic theory.

[2] What these three schemas actually have in common is that they are ways of naming the time-phases (inception, duration and termination) of a process — in this case, the unfolding of text (logogenesis).  This is quite distinct from Theme and New, which highlight the textual status of experiential and interpersonal content.

[3] Given ^ New is not a structure of the English clause.  They are functional elements of the information unit.