Text structure

Tuija Virtanen
Table of contents

Texts are expected to have structure and the study of that structure is a central concern in text and discourse linguistics. Texts are semantic units and their structure is therefore a matter of organization of the content material included in them. At the same time, text structure is also a matter of form, since texts manifest linguistic signals of various kinds whose purpose is to facilitate the text receiver’s task of interpretation, i.e. the task of building a text world around a given text. And even shape can be used to disclose the structure of a given text. Hence, the visual form of, say, a poem, instruction manual or horoscope conveys text-structural meaning, and the way international news readers structure the different news items prosodically gives the news shape and thus helps hearers process them.

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