W. Heinemann's Scheme of Text Description

W. Heinemann’s Scheme of Text Description

During the last 30 years of the 20th century the problems оf linguistic analysis of a text were studied by the scholars worldwide. Today there are several trends (directions) according to which Text Linguistics develops. They differ in the way they view (treat) the notion of text, as well as in approaches to text description and methodology of text analysis.

German scholar W. Heinemann distinguishes between three different, approaches to the understanding of the notion of text.

One of the most widespread approaches is the syntactic approach to text description, when the methods of “sentence grammar” (Satzgrammatik) in this or that aspect are applied to text analysis. As a result a quite new “text grammar” (Textgrammatik) develops. It shares terminology (system of concepts) and methods of analysis with “sentence grammar”.

Within the limits of this new grammar certain rules of sentence cohesion, are analyzed; the analysis clarifies some important structural characteristics of the, text. For example, in the sentence where the indefinite article is used with a certain word, this article may introduce some  vague object simultaneously containing “post-information” (the information that is meant by the further context). The appearance of a definite article in the following sentence with the same word not only introduces the definite object but also contains “pre-information”, (the information that was mentioned in the previous context) (a – the). Substitution of the notional lexeme by the pronoun, proves that this element is correlated with (corresponds to) the previously’ defined object;

e.g. Correct writing is an art. The art of writing is a difficult thing. It requires great skills.

According to the second approach to the linguistic description of a text the scholar deals not only with the surface structure of a text, but also tries to define the characteristic features of “deep”, semantic relationships between text units. But the general theory of such “text semantics” (Textsemantik) has not been worked out yet. No1 every repetition of one and the same word on “sentence surface” or the substitution of a noun by a pronoun transforms a simple sequence of sentences into a text with some general meaning: e.g. People of art are very ambitious. Everyone admires her art. It is a one-syllable word. The art-dealer’s name is Mr. Black.

According to the third communicative (or communicative-pragmatic) approach to the linguistic description of a text the main emphasis in text analysis is laid on the practical activity that underlies a text rather than on its syntactic or semantic structure. The text is viewed as an element of communication, a communicative unit of a particular type. Language structures are viewed as an instrument for the fulfillment of some definite intentions of the speaker. Thus, the same language means which in the previous example failed to create a text succeed in the following example, creating a meaningful text because certain intentions of the speaker are realized here:

The battle of political parties is underway. Political leaders conclude the last round of debates before the elections. They intend to win the majority of votes.

The three above mentioned approaches’ to text description do not exclude each other as they deal with the investigation of different aspects of one and the same object — text. Text pragmatics that does not consider particular syntactic and semantic organization of a text would he just a shallow scientific scheme. In the same way, no objective analysis of the semantic and syntactic structure of a text can be undertaken without consideration of its pragmatic aspect in the act of communication.