Discourse and Text Structure

Ted Sanders and Wilbert Spooren

in The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199738632
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Discourse and Text Structure

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The alliance between cognitive linguistics and the study of discourse has become stronger in the recent past. On the one hand, cognitive linguistics focuses on language as an instrument for organizing, processing, and conveying information; on the other, language users communicate through discourse rather than through isolated sentences. This article presents an overview of current research in the field of discourse and text structure, focusing on issues of referential and relational coherence. First, it assumes that the grounding of language in discourse is central to any functional account of language. It then argues that the connectedness of discourse is a mental phenomenon. It views discourse as one that revolves around two central notions: “mental representation” and “overt linguistic signals.” The remainder of this article discusses two types of coherence and their textual signals: referential coherence and relational coherence. The signals to be considered are connectives and lexical cue phrases.

Keywords: cognitive linguistics; discourse; language; mental representation; linguistic signals; referential coherence; relational coherence; connectives; lexical cue phrases; text structure

Article.  11615 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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