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Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

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Volume 36, Issue 4


Time as a base for establishing structure in text: toward a visualization model

Anna Sahlée
Published Online: 2016-06-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2016-0022


Following Halliday and Hasan (1976, Cohesion in English. London: Longman; Halliday and Hasan 1989, Language, context, and text: Aspects of language in a social-semiotic perspective. 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press), text can be defined and studied as a united whole. A “text” which does not appear as a united whole can be very hard to understand and describe. Since this kind of text exists for example in the form of student writing, it is important to have methods and models which can handle all kinds of compositions – coherent and clearly structured and the opposite. This article suggests such a model. Relative to available methods, it is beneficial for understanding and comparing many different texts. The model is based on temporal unfolding of texts, realized primarily by tense and Aktionsarten. It uncovers the basic structure of the text and visualizes it – a combination that makes the text accessible for further analysis. Four texts with different structures from the national test in Swedish and Swedish as a second language are used to demonstrate the model. The model is used to discuss and compare the texts and how the students respond to the given instruction. It is shown what information the model reveals and how analysis and information can be added; in this case means for understanding the narrative text.

Keywords: temporal unfolding; text structure; text visualization; student writing; tense; narrative text; Aktionsarten


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About the article

Anna Sahlée

Anna Sahlée is a PhD student and lecturer at the Department of Scandinavian Languages, Uppsala University, Sweden. Her research focuses mainly on Swedish as a second language. As a former teacher in secondary school, she is interested in language research that concerns education. More specifically, she is interested in second language learning, text linguistics, grammar, psycholinguistic and text visualization.

Published Online: 2016-06-21

Published in Print: 2016-07-01

Citation Information: Text & Talk, Volume 36, Issue 4, Pages 493–517, ISSN (Online) 1860-7349, ISSN (Print) 1860-7330, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2016-0022.

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