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Text World TheoryAn Introduction$
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Joanna Gavins

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748622993

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748622993.001.0001

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Participating in Discourse

Participating in Discourse

(p.18) Chapter 2 Participating in Discourse
Text World Theory

Joanna Gavins

Edinburgh University Press

Text World Theory attributes primacy to the human experience of language and takes the face-to-face interaction between living, thinking human beings as the prototype for all other aspects of communication and cognition. The content of this interactivity is the subject matter of the discourse-world level of Text World Theory. This chapter examines the associated elements that make up a discourse-world: from the expectations and constraints that govern communicative behaviour, to the cultural and personal knowledge structures that influence our linguistic and conceptual choices. Of particular interest are the notion of communication as a fundamentally wilful endeavour, the processes by which human beings make inference from particular discourses, and the principles by which the impact of context on a discourse can be systematically examined and understood. These subjects are investigated in relation to an example of a face-to-face conversation and a newspaper obituary in order to explore how the contextual and conceptual factors involved in the processing of language vary in accordance with the type of communicative situation.

Keywords:   Text World Theory, discourse-world, communication, language, cognition, knowledge structures

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