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The discourse structure of English and Arabic, with particular reference to the syntactic, thermatic and grounding structures of newspaper editorials

Alharthi, NR 2010, The discourse structure of English and Arabic, with particular reference to the syntactic, thermatic and grounding structures of newspaper editorials , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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      Abstract

      This study aims to investigate aspects of the discourse structure of English and Arabic in general and political editorial argumentative texts in particular. Three major notions are examined and compared: subordination and coordination, thematic structure, and grounding (foreground and background). Arabic nominal and verbal sentences and clauses are also examined and compared. In this study, the data, which represent twenty four newspaper editorials taken from two English and Arabic newspapers (twelve editorials from each language), are qualitatively and quantitatively analysed. At the syntactic level, the analysis shows that English editorials use relatively simple and short sentence structures. Arabic editorials, by contrast, employ complex structures. Subordinate clauses are less common in English than in Arabic. Arabic uses coordinate clauses more than English does. The analysis also shows that Arabic editorials use more nominal sentences (SVO sentences) than verbal ones (VSO sentences). These two sentence types also differ in their employment of adjunct and disjunct clauses and phrases. At the thematic level, Arabic displays more complex thematic structures than English. The analysis also shows that there are specific markers in the Arabic data which signal rhematic elements. At the grounding level, it is found that clauses and phrases which meet the grounding expectation (that main clauses are foregrounded and subordinate clauses/phrases are backgrounded) are more frequent in English than in Arabic. It is also found that clauses and phrases which do not fulfill the grounding expectation are more frequent in English editorials than their Arabic counterparts. Another major difference between the two languages at this level is that most frequent clauses and phrases which do not meet the grounding expectation are final rhemes. In some cases, however, these clauses and phrases occur initially as themes, particularly in Arabic.

      Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
      Contributors: Dickins, J(Supervisor)
      Additional Information: Vol 1 + 2.
      Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences
      Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
      Depositing User: Institutional Repository
      Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 14:34
      Last Modified: 17 Feb 2014 11:45
      URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/26516

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