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The Explanation of Spatial Patterning for Discourse Coherence

Author: ChenLei
Tutor: WeiBenLi
School: Donghua University
Course: Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords: spatial prepositional phrase spatial patterning discourse coherence
CLC: H05
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2012
Downloads: 15
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After the presentation of mental space theory by Fauconnier, frame-script, text world and other similar terminologies have been raised by many Cognitive linguists. Although they apply dissimilar terms, they agree that the deep relationship among linguistic elements in discourse constructs a coherent discourse in human mind. In the meantime, Halliday puts forward the definition of semantic space which is realized by prepositional phrases in circumstantial elements. The combination of various circumstantial elements and different process types will form distinctive semantic space. Chafe holds forth that discourse orientation can be realized by multiple lexico-grammatical methods. Pragmatics, Systemic Functional Grammar and Cognitive Linguistics have made great contribution to discourse coherence. Most Cognitive linguists, however, pay much attention on cognition, regarding language as a media to discover human psychology, while some Systemic Functional linguists and Pragmatic linguists just present theoretical argumentation with inadequate case study and concrete analysis.Based on the previous researches, the present thesis studies the formation and classification of spatial patterning, and its contribution to discourse construction and register recognition in three complementary perspectives:Philosophy, Cognitive Linguistics and Systemic Functional Grammar. Spatial prepositional phrase working as discourse marker combines with various types of process to form semantic space, whose movement forms the development of discourse, and thus discourse coherence. Different combinations of spatial prepositional phrases and processes will build various spatial concepts in people’s mind, realize dissimilar communicative purposes and construct various registers. The present thesis contains analysis of both language structure and human cognition, so analytical model is established on mental space theory, frame theory and metafunction theory. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are selected to discover the significance of spatial patterning to discourse coherence. The research materials contain a number of passages from essays and travel guides respectively from travel books and websites. The result of this study will, to some extent, help understand how spatial patterning is constructed as discourse coherence, and provide some implication for the use of English in speech communication, language teaching and learning.

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