The Dynamic Nature of a Text

The Dynamic Nature of a Text

In traditional linguistics a text is usually defined as a result of speech activity. Still, if we are to analyze a text in the aspects of its production, and perception, such definition seems far from being complete. Any text is, a specifically organized sequence of language units; it is linear, and it is a fundamental feature of human speech.

The process of text production, that is the process of lining the language units into a temporal (while creating an oral text) or spatial (while creating a written text) chain, can not be accomplished instantly: it takes some time. The same is true about the perception of the text: it does not occur at once. From the above said it follows that the text is not just the product of the speech activity but it is the very process of creation of this product.

At the same time one can not regard a text as a direct expression of the process of verbal thinking. The speech production is the result of this activity; many of its elements do not have communicative functions and are not represented in the text. Virtual character of many verbal thinking operations creates a kind of asymmetry between the structures of verbal thinking activity and the text proper. That is why, a text, when taken out of context of this activity and out of context of communication, possesses no explanatory force either for the study of the process of verbal thinking or for the analysis of communication proper.

According to B.Yu. Norman, the scheme of the process of verbal thinking is the following. ‘The starting point of the speech act is motive (stimulus), that states the reason of the speech production process and includes this process into the general picture of human activity. Then the intention (scheme, plan) appears that is embodied in the inner programme (or plan) of the utterance. Then follows the stage of programme realization: it may include several stages. And at last the speech act ends with the stage of checking and comparison of the result with the intention.

Nevertheless, as the investigations show,  production and perception of speech, despite their common features, are different sides of the process of speech communication. Their common feature is that these processes are accomplished by the same system of means – by language, and the mechanisms of these processes lie in human mentality (mind). The difference between perception and reproduction of speech (text) are in the correlation of the concepts “given” and “required”: in the. process, of perception a person is given a text (its form, exterior, exponent), but is required to establish its meaning; in the process of production the correlation is inverse -one has to express the given meaning with the help of a certain text. In general we may say that the speaker while producing his message moves from the content to the form; the recipient while perceiving the message – from the form to the content.