For text types of the New Testament, see Categories of New Testament manuscripts.
Textual types refer to the following four basic aspects of writing: descriptive, narrative, expository, and argumentative.
Descriptive text type
Based on perception in space. Impressionistic of landscapes or persons are often to be found in narratives such as novels or short stories. Example: About fifteen miles below Monterey, on the wild coast, the Sido family had their farm, a few sloping acres above the cliff that dropped to the brown reefs and to the hissing white waters of the ocean...
Description is used in all forms of writing to create a vivid impression of a person, place, object or event e.g. to:
- describe a special place and explain why it is special.
- describe the most important person in your life.
Descriptive writing is usually used to help a writer develop an aspect of their work, e.g. to create a particular mood, atmosphere or describe a place so that the reader can create vivid pictures of characters, places, objects etc.;Features
Description is a style of writing which can be useful for a variety of purposes:
- to engage a reader's attention
- to create characters
- to set a mood
- aims to show rather than tell the reader what something/someone is like.
- relies on precisely chosen vocabulary with carefully chosen adjectives and adverbs.
- is focused and concentrates only on the aspects that add something to the main purpose of the description.
- sensory description - what is heard, seen, smell, felt, tasted. Precise use of adjectives, similes, metaphors to create images/pictures in the mind e.g. their noses were met with the acrid smell of rotting flesh.
- strong development of the experience that "puts the reader there" focuses on key details, powerful verbs and precise nouns.
Narrative text type
Based on perception in time. Narration is the telling of a story; the succession of events is given in chronological order.
The basic purpose of narrative is to entertain, to gain and hold readers' interest. However narratives can also be written to teach or inform, to change attitudes / social opinions e.g. soap operas and television dramas that are used to raise topical issues. Narratives sequence people/characters in time and place but differ from recounts in that through the sequencing, the stories set up one or more problems, which must eventually find a way to be resolved. The common structure or basic plan of narrative text is known as the "story grammar". Although there are numerous variations of the story grammar, the typical elements are:
- Setting — when and where the story occurs.
- Characters — the most important people or characters in the story.
- Initiating event — an action or occurrence that establishes a problem and/or goal.
- Conflict/goal — the focal point around which the whole story is organized.
- Events — one or more attempts by the main character(s) to achieve the goal or solve the problem.
- Resolution — the outcome of the attempts to achieve the goal
The graphic representation of these story grammar elements is called a story map. The exact form and complexity of a map depends, of course, upon the unique structure of each narrative and the personal preference of the teacher constructing the map.
- Types of Narrative
There are many types of narrative. They can be imaginary, factual or a combination of both. They may include fairy stories, mysteries, science fiction, romances, horror stories, adventure stories, fables, myths and legends, historical narratives, ballads, slice of life, personal experience.
- Characters with defined personalities/identities.
- Dialogue often included - tense may change to the present or the future.
- Descriptive language to create images in the reader's mind and enhance the story.
In a Traditional Narrative the focus of the text is on a series of actions:
- (Introduction) in which the characters, setting, and time of the story are established. Usually answers who? When? Where? E.g. Mr. Wolf went out hunting in the forest one dark gloomy night.
- Complication or problem
- The complication usually involves the main character(s) (often mirroring the complications in real life).
- There needs to be a resolution of the complication. The complication may be resolved for better or worse/happily or unhappily. Sometimes there are a number of complications that have to be resolved. These add and sustain interest and suspense for the reader.
Further more, when there is plan for writing narrative texts, the focus should be on the following characteristics:
- Plot: What is going to happen?
- Setting: Where will the story take place? When will the story take place?
- Characterization: Who are the main characters? What do they look like?
- Structure: How will the story begin? What will be the problem? How is the problem going to be resolved?
- Theme: What is the theme / message the writer is attempting to communicate?
Expository text type
It aims at explanation, i.e. the cognitive analysis and subsequent syntheses of complex facts. Example: An essay on "Rhetoric: What is it and why do we study it?"
There is a chance that your work may fall flat if you have not chosen one of the really good expository essay topics. Not all topics out there are interesting or meaty enough to be thoroughly investigated within a paper. Make sure you put effort into choosing a topic that has a lot of material to cover it and pique the interest of readers! 
- Trending Topics: Are there any hot issues that deserve some deep discussion? If so, consider educating people on this seemingly new occurrence through the use of a well-written essay.
- A topic close to your heart: It is easy much easier to defend a thesis if you find yourself passionately thinking about the topic. If you have an advocacy and want to inform others, choose this path and you might be able to sway beliefs!
Comparing the past and the present is a good way of framing an argument, especially if a lot has been written about it.
Argumentative text type
Based on the evaluation and the subsequent subjective judgement in answer to a problem. It refers to the reasons advanced for or against a matter. The writer usually argues with another side to convince the reader to join a certain side.
A literary text is a piece of written in water, such as a book or poem, that has the purpose of telling a story or entertaining, as in a fictional novel. Its primary function as a text is usually aesthetic, but it may also contain political messages or beliefs. American schoolchildren and their parents are taught that literary texts contrast with informational texts that have the purpose of providing information rather than entertainment. Informational texts, such as science briefs and history books, are increasingly receiving emphasis in public school curricula as part of the Common Core State Standards. As a result, many parents have challenged the idea that literary texts are of less pedagogical value than informational ones.
For other uses, see Discourse (disambiguation).
Discourse (from Latindiscursus, "running to and from") denotes written and spoken communications:
- In semantics and discourse analysis: Discourse is a conceptual generalization of conversation within each modality and context of communication.
- The totality of codified language (vocabulary) used in a given field of intellectual enquiry and of social practice, such as legal discourse, medical discourse, religious discourse, et cetera.
- In the work of Michel Foucault, and that of the social theoreticians he inspired: discourse describes "an entity of sequences, of signs, in that they are enouncements (énoncés)", statements in conversation.
As discourse, an "enouncement" (statement) is not a unit of semiotic signs, but an abstract construct that allows the semiotic signs to assign meaning, and so communicate specific, repeatable communications to, between, and among objects, subjects, and statements. Therefore, a discourse is composed of semiotic sequences (relations among signs that communicate meaning) between and among objects, subjects, and statements.
The term "discursive formation" (French: formation discursive) conceptually describes the regular communications (written and spoken) that produce such discourses, such as informal conversations. As a philosopher, Michel Foucault applied the discursive formation in the analyses of large bodies of knowledge, such as political economy and natural history.
In the first sense-usage (semantics and discourse analysis), the term discourse is studied in corpus linguistics, the study of language expressed in corpora (samples) of "real world" text. In the second sense (the codified language of a field of enquiry) and in the third sense (a statement, un énoncé), the analysis of a discourse examines and determines the connections among language and structure and agency.
Moreover, because a discourse is a body of text meant to communicate specific data, information, and knowledge, there exist internal relations in the content of a given discourse; likewise, there exist external relations among discourses. As such, a discourse does not exist per se (in itself), but is related to other discourses, by way of inter-discursivity; therefore, in the course of intellectual enquiry, the discourse among researchers features the questions and answers of What is ...? and What is not. ..., conducted according to the meanings (denotation and connotation) of the concepts (statements) used in the given field of enquiry, such as anthropology, ethnography, and sociology; cultural studies and literary theory; the philosophy of science and feminism.
In China, the general term for discourse is Lun.
In the humanities and in the social sciences, the term discourse describes a formal way of thinking that can be expressed through language; the discourse is a social boundary that defines what statements can be said about a topic.
Discourse can affect the person's perspective; it is impossible to avoid discourse for any subject. For example, two notably distinct discourses can be used about various guerrilla movements describing them either as "freedom fighters" or "terrorists". In other words, the chosen discourse provides the vocabulary, expressions and perhaps also the style needed to communicate.
Discourses are embedded in different rhetorical genres and metagenres that constrain and enable them. That is language talking about language, for instance the American Psychiatric Association's DSMIV manual tells which terms have to be used in talking about mental health, thereby mediating meanings and dictating practices of the professionals of psychology and psychiatry.
Discourse is closely linked to different theories of power and state, at least as long as defining discourses is seen to mean defining reality itself. This conception of discourse is largely derived from the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault.
A discourse representation theory describes the formal semantics of a sentence using predicate logic.
Modern theorists were focused on achieving progress and believed in the existence of natural and social laws which could be used universally to develop knowledge and thus a better understanding of society. Modernist theorists were preoccupied with obtaining the truth and reality and sought to develop theories which contained certainty and predictability. Modernist theorists therefore viewed discourse as being relative to talking or way of talking and understood discourse to be functional. Discourse and language transformations are ascribed to progress or the need to develop new or more "accurate" words to describe new discoveries, understandings, or areas of interest. In modern times, language and discourse are dissociated from power and ideology and instead conceptualized as "natural" products of common sense usage or progress.Modernism further gave rise to the liberal discourses of rights, equality, freedom, and justice; however, this rhetoric masked substantive inequality and failed to account for differences, according to Regnier.
Structuralist theorists, such as Ferdinand de Saussure and Jacques Lacan, argue that all human actions and social formations are related to language and can be understood as systems of related elements. This means that the "…individual elements of a system only have significance when considered in relation to the structure as a whole, and that structures are to be understood as self-contained, self-regulated, and self-transforming entities."  In other words, it is the structure itself that determines the significance, meaning and function of the individual elements of a system. Structuralism has made an important contribution to our understanding of language and social systems.Saussure's theory of language highlights the decisive role of meaning and signification in structuring human life more generally.
Following the perceived limitations of the modern era, emerged postmodern theory. Postmodern theorists rejected modernist claims that there was one theoretical approach that explained all aspects of society. Rather, postmodernist theorists were interested in examining the variety of experience of individuals and groups and emphasized differences over similarities and common experiences.
In contrast to modern theory, postmodern theory is more fluid and allows for individual differences as it rejected the notion of social laws. Postmodern theorists shifted away from truth seeking and instead sought answers for how truths are produced and sustained. Postmodernists contended that truth and knowledge is plural, contextual, and historically produced through discourses. Postmodern researchers therefore embarked on analyzing discourses such as texts, language, policies and practices.
French social theorist Michel Foucault developed a notion of discourse in his early work, especially the Archaeology of knowledge (1972). In Discursive Struggles Within Social Welfare: Restaging Teen Motherhood, Iara Lessa summarizes Foucault's definition of discourse as "systems of thoughts composed of ideas, attitudes, courses of action, beliefs and practices that systematically construct the subjects and the worlds of which they speak." Foucault traces the role of discourses in wider social processes of legitimating and power, emphasizing the construction of current truths, how they are maintained and what power relations they carry with them." Foucault later theorized that discourse is a medium through which power relations produce speaking subjects. Foucault (1977, 1980) argued that power and knowledge are inter-related and therefore every human relationship is a struggle and negotiation of power. Foucault further stated that power is always present and can both produce and constrain the truth. Discourse according to Foucault (1977, 1980, 2003) is related to power as it operates by rules of exclusion. Discourse therefore is controlled by objects, what can be spoken of; ritual, where and how one may speak; and the privileged, who may speak. Coining the phrases power-knowledge Foucault (1980) stated knowledge was both the creator of power and creation of power. An object becomes a "node within a network." In his work, The Archaeology of Knowledge, Foucault uses the example of a book to illustrate a node within a network. A book is not made up of individual words on a page, each of which has meaning, but rather "is caught up in a system of references to other books, other texts, other sentences." The meaning of that book is connected to a larger, overarching web of knowledge and ideas to which it relates.
One of the key discourses that Foucault identified as part of his critique of power-knowledge was that of neoliberalism, which he related very closely to his conceptualization of governmentality in his lectures on biopolitics. This trajectory of Foucault's thinking has been taken up widely within Human Geography.
- M. Foucault (1980). "Two Lectures," in Colin Gordon, ed., Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews. New York: Pantheon.
- Research as resistance: Critical, indigenous and anti-oppressive approaches.(2005). In Brown L. A., Strega S. (Eds.), Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press.
- S. Strega (2005). The view from the poststructural margins: Epistemology and methodology reconsidered. In L. Brown, & S. Strega (Eds.), Research as resistance (pp. 199–235). Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press.
- J. Sunderland (2004). Gendered discourses. New York: PalgraveMacmillan.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Discourse|
- ^Marks, Larry (June 2001). "A Little Glossary of Semantics". revue-texto.net. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- ^ abM. Foucault (1969). L'Archéologie du savoir. Paris: Éditions Gallimard.
- ^M. Foucault (1970) . The Order of Things. Pantheon. ISBN 0-415-26737-4.
- ^Compact Oxford Dictionary, Thesaurus and Wordpower Guide (2001). Oxford University Press, New York.
- ^Catherine F. Schryer and Philippa Spoel. Genre Theory, Health-Care Discourse, and Professional Identity Formation. Journal of Business and Technical Communication 2005. 19: 249 http://jbt.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/19/3/249
- ^Muskens, Reinhard. "Combining Montague semantics and discourse representation." Linguistics and philosophy 19.2 (1996): 143-186.
- ^ abJ. Larrain (1994). "Ideology and cultural identity: Modernity and the third world presence". Cambridge: Polity Press.
- ^ abSteven Best & Douglas Kellner (1997). The postmodern turn. The Guilford Press. ISBN 1-57230-221-6.
- ^ abcdefgStrega, 2005
- ^Regnier, 2005
- ^ abD. Howarth (2000). Discourse. Philadelphia, Pa.: Open University Press. ISBN 0-335-20070-2.
- ^D. Howarth (2000). Discourse. Philadelphia, Pa.: Open University Press. p. 17. ISBN 0-335-20070-2.
- ^Sommers, Aaron. Discourse and Difference "University of New Hampshire Cosmology Seminar" 
- ^Lessa, Iara (February 2006). "Discursive struggles within social welfare: Restaging teen motherhood". The British Journal of Social Work. Oxford Journals. 36 (2): 283–298. doi:10.1093/bjsw/bch256.
- ^Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972–1977. M Foucault. Selected interviews and other writings 1972, 1977, 1980. Pantheon
- ^M. Foucault (1972). Archaeology of knowledge. New York: Pantheon. ISBN 0-415-28752-9.
- ^Foucault, M. (2008) The Birth Of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978–1979. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.