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By Teun Adrianus Van Dijk

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Extra info for Macrostructures: An Interdisciplinary Study of Global Structures in Disclosure, Interaction, and Cognition

Sample text

Hence, a text has varying degrees of (in-)completeness, depending on cognitive and pragmatic constraints. 7 Thus, it may well be that subsequent clauses or sentences denote facts that as such are not related conditionally in the ways described previously. ). Apart from the conventional knowledge as it is represented in the lexicon of a language, a strict linguistic semantics cannot possibly specify these ‘missing links’ of a text base in order to produce coherent interpretations. This means that at least part of the semantics for discourse should be handled in a cognitive model that specifies the kinds of knowledge involved in establishing connection and coherence.

Not any conceptual structure may be a FACT. A FACT should meet a number-of conditions spelled out previously. Primarily a FACT should represent the functional relationships between participants involved in a fact. Hence, we need a set of categories of participants, such as the usual categories of Agent, Patient, Goal, Object, Beneficiary, or Instrument. As noted earlier, we do not theorize about the length of the list of those categories nor about their respective adequacy for the representation of fundamental roles holding in reality or “in” sentences.

It is a general constraint that monitors the production or the comprehension of the discourse, as we see when we consider the cognitive aspects of discourse processing. In semantics it means that a further level of semantic description is necessary to assign global semantic structures that at the same time are constraints on the interpretation of the respective sentences of the text and on the establishment of additional coherence. 2. The problem now is: In terms of semantic (macro-) structures how do we describe the kinds of meaning properties of texts that we have intuitively called the topic or theme of the text?

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