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Text Linguistics

  Text linguistics falls into the tradition of language studies which look beyond individual sentences to consider the ways in which entire texts are organized (see also discourse analysis and stylistics). A central aim is to provide a principled account for the intuition that texts fall into distinct categories. An attempt is also made to highlight those factors which determine the success or failure of a text, and in this regard, the words of a text are but one part of an overall communicative occurrence. For it is assumed that texts can only be interpreted relative to the situation in which they occur and the responses they evoke in the receiver.

The textuality of a text comprises a number of interweaving factors which contribute to its communicative value. Language-based factors include the cohesive forces which help link sentences together, as below:

George moved out of the White House. He left the keys for Bill.

The pronoun ‘he’ cannot be interpreted without referring back to George in the previous sentence, and so a cohesive link is established between the two sentences. Among other important factors, textuality is also dependent upon the intentions of the text author, the attitudes of the text receiver, the density of information in the text, and the situation in which the text occurs. MS



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