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Title:Effects of Topical Structure on Discourse Comprehension and Production (Text Analysis)
Author(s):Noh, Myeong-Wan
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Reading
Abstract:This study began with two purposes. One was to develop a scheme for the analysis of discourse structure called "topical structure," and the other was to test the psychological validity of the developed analytic scheme. "Topic" at the sentence level and "discourse topic" at the discourse level were the two notions used in analyzing a discourse into units, and constructing the topical structure of the discourse, focusing on the representations of (1) the relative importance of information at sentence level, (2) the sequential connectivity between sentences, and (3) the discourse topic in terms of the topics in sentences.
In the process of analysis, a discourse was first segmented into units called "topical units," each of which was the basic message unit having topic-comment structure with a finite verb in its syntactic field. Second, each topical unit was identified as being either a main or subsidiary topical unit, which represents not only the status (main or subsidiary) of the unit in the syntactic structure, but also its relative importance at sentence level. Third, in each topical unit, topic was identified through the application of two criteria, position and textual context criteria with the first being given priority. Fourth, the main topics identified in two consecutive sentences were compared to determine the type of topical progression: parallel, sequential, and extended parallel progression. The diagramming of the topical structure was made, following some mapping rules, on the basis of the status of the topical units and the progression types. The topical structure model developed in this way was compared and discussed with other existing text structure analysis models such as those of Halliday, Clements, and Kintsch and van Djik.
The second purpose was to test the effects of the topical structure model using (1) importance ratings of the topical units and a comprehension test as measures of discourse comprehension and (2) discourse topic production and summarization as measures of discourse production. It was claimed on the basis of the experimental findings, that the topical structure model is capable of predicting the relative importance of information in the discourse and also providing textual clues which allow the reader to make inferences about the discourse topic.
Issue Date:1985
Description:314 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1985.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8521848
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1985

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