refined instruction typology that characterizes their facets: imperative character (including forms of illocutionary force), modalities and manners, internal motivations, etc. In this short paper, we briefly investigate the two first levels.
Descriptive texts are about information on objects themselves (people, things, landscapes…). A description can be external (picture the whole and then move onto the different parts), functional (picture the instruments and/or parts and describe their function), or psychological (the feeling the object described produces in the writer). Structure: marked by your point of view, which means you have to think about the structure of your descriptive text. How are you going to organize it? Around the physical? (From top to bottom? left to right? general to particular? the other way round?), in a thematic kind of organization? chronologically?…
Argumentative texts are about ideas. They show the process of supporting or weakening another statement. “Defending a position” means explaining the ideas and giving reasons for them.
The main purpose of expository text is to inform or describe. Authors who write expository texts research the topic to gain information. The information is organized in a logical and interesting manner using various expository text structures. Structure: Presentation – Development -Summary/Conclusion.
The Interpretation of Text Categorization According to Werlich (1983)
Contextual & Psycho-
Analytical Approach Innate Biological Properties
Give Rise to
DESCRIPTIVE NARRATIVE EXPOSITORY ARGUMENTATIVE INSTRUCTIONAL
(focuses on (focuses on (chooses constituent (purpose relations (tells X what to do)
factual phenomena factual phenomena elements manifested between concepts of
& relations in & relations in time) in a term or a mental phenomenon)
space) construct manifested
Different text types focus the receiver’s attention on different aspects of the communicative situation and are related to different mental activities. Hatim and Mason (1997) argue that expository text type involves analysis and synthesis of concepts. Furthermore, Weaver and Kintsch (1991) believe that expository texts are materials written to communicate information to help readers learn something new, e. g., textbooks, newspapers, magazine articles, and manuals. Expositions can be analyzed in terms of their basic procedure: analysis (taking a concept and working out its constituent elements) or synthesis (taking the constituent elements of a complex concept and working out a shorter formulation for it).
In argumentative texts the need to persuade through evaluation is paramount with a predominance of emotive diction, metaphoric expression and subtle uses of modality (Hatim and Mason, 1997). Argumentative texts focus on relations between concepts, where one opinion is upheld and its relation with opposing opinions or solution investigated. It deals with the mental process of judging. All argumentative texts promote or evaluate certain beliefs or ideas with conceptual relations such as reason, significance, or opposition frequently.
Narratives construct a pattern of events with a problematic and /or unexpected outcome that entertains or instructs the reader or listener. They tend to induce ‘visualization’ in the reader as part of the reading process (Denis, 1982). They are stories written to entertain. The most common elements found in narrative texts are characters with goals and motives, event sequences, morals and themes (Graesser et al., 1991).
A number of text types are universally recognized and rely on standardized linguistic devices. For example, instructions are often delivered as sequences of paragraphs containing imperatives, conditions, a purpose, as in If the radiator is still not hot, try turning it off and wait to see whether it heats up. An argumentative text usually makes use of logical connectives and concessive clauses, as in although the official policy was to help reconciliation, people did not trust the measures. However, a single text rarely contains only one purpose or function, i.e. a single text type. Most texts are mixed. For example, a DIY guide is predominantly instructional, but it can also contain descriptions of tools, together with tips and suggestions. The mixture of different purposes or functions is often exacerbated on the Web. Web pages are mostly multi-purpose or multi-functional documents. Thanks to the hypertextual structure, which gives greater freedom, a single web page can contain separate sections, each having its own communicative function, namely a specific text type.
However, detecting the gradations of text types is only an intermediate step. The final version of the system presented here is geared towards automatic genre identification of web pages. Genres are conventionalized types of documents bearing a socio-cultural connotation and showing standardized rhetorical/discoursal/linguistic patterns. One important aspect of genres is that they raise expectations. For instance, in a personal home page we expect to find a narration of the ‘self’, a description of interests, hobbies, etc. Researchers suggest that knowing the gradations of different text types within a single web page is important not only for text analysis itself, but also because it helps identify genres. In fact, a genre often shows a predominant text type together with other minority text types. The combination of different text types and their gradations might contribute to the identification of a specific genre. For example, an online tutorial is predominantly instructional and to a lesser extent descriptive, while a tourist guide is mainly descriptive and to a lower extent instructional. New or different gradations of text types might signal novel genres.
According to Neubert (1985), “text types motivate particular frames and act out certain scenarios…. They recast the linguistic material available in the system of a language into socially efficient, effective and appropriate moulds” (p. 124). He believes that texts are various instances clustering around a holistic experience that has been shared over time. This ‘prolonged interactive experience’ takes the shape of prototypical encounters and this empirical prototypicality is then translated into the concept of the prototype text. “Its essential nature lies in the fact it is more than the sum of its features” (p. 127) and text types are prototypes according to just this definition. Other scholars have come up with their own text typologies. More specifically, Werlich (1976) distinguishes between five text types: description, narration, and argumentation, instruction, and procedure text types. They are conceived as an idealized norm for “text structuring which serve as a deep structural matrix of rules and elements for the encoder” (p. 39).
188.8.131.52 Expository text
Expository text is written to inform the reader about a specific subject. Generally speaking, expository text contains an explicit or implicit topic sentence with the main idea and the supporting
ideas. These ideas are organized into text structures. Text structures are author’s arrangements or organizations of ideas in text. These organizations or patterns include listing of ideas, sequencing of ideas according to a time order, comparing and contrasting ideas, describing characteristics of ideas, discussing causes and effects of ideas and addressing the problems certain ideas present as well as their solutions. Often the writer provides key or signal words that identify the structure of a paragraph. For example, a paragraph organized into a sequence states its main idea in the topic sentence, and to support the main idea the author sets out details in a specific order that carries the correct meaning of the text. Key or cue words include first, second, third, etc., plus next, then, finally, last, after that, etc.
Expository text is defined as writing intended to present to reader information about theories, predictions, persons, facts, dates, specifications, generalizations, limitations, and conclusions (Slater & Graves, 1989). Characteristics of expository text include (a) its structure, the way in which ideas of a text are interrelated to convey a message to a reader (Meyer & Rice, 1984; Meyer & Freedle, 1984), and (b) its patterns, the possible organizational styles of a text. Calfee and Curley (1984) identified five major expository text patterns: description, illustration, sequence, persuasion, and functional. Other scholars (Englert & Thomas, 1987; Singler & Donlan, 1989) have identified similar patterns, although names vary in the literature.
The characteristics of expository text play a critical role in what is referred to as awareness of text structure. Similar terms are familiarity (Weaver & Kintsch, 1991), sensitivity (Seidenberg, 1989), and knowledge (Englert & Thomas, 1987; Pearson & Fielding, 1991). Regardless of the terminology, awareness refers to a student’s ability to identify and use an author’s structural pattern to comprehend and compose expository text.