Discourse relations across genres and contexts
A contrastive analysis of English and German discourse
This paper presents an analysis of the linguistic realization of discourse relations across and within English and German discourse, comparing the genres of newspaper editorial and personal narrative. It concentrates on Continuation, Narration and Contrast, and Elaboration, Explanation and Comment. Particular attention is given to (1) their overt realization with textual themes and pragmatic word order, and (2) the (non)adjacent positioning of discourse units realizing the relations. The methodological framework is an integrated one, supplementing Systemic Functional Grammar with Segmented Discourse Representation Theory. In the English and German narratives, there is a strong tendency to realize discourse relations overtly. The overall overt realization is significantly higher for narratives in both languages with editorials being significantly less overt. There are also significant differences in the overt realization of non-adjacently positioned units realizing discourse relations with significant distributions in all cases, although the distribution in the narratives is less significant.
Keywords: discourse relations, textual theme, adjacency, argumentative discourse, narrative discourse, English/German
Published online: 01 November 2018
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