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Text and Non-Text
4/ 5 stars - "Text and Non-Text" What is TEXT? Halliday and Hasan (1976:1-2) mention that text is a semantic unit. He said further about the text as: “[A term] used in lingu...

Text and Non-Text


What is TEXT? Halliday and Hasan (1976:1-2) mention that text is a semantic unit. He said
further about the text as:

“[A term] used in linguistics to refer to any passage-spoken or written, of whatever
length, that does form a unified whole […] A text is a unit of language in use. It is not
a grammatical unit, like a clause or a sentence; and it is not defined by its size […] A
text is best regarded as a SEMANTIC unit; a unit not of form but of meaning.” 

Moreover, Halliday said that the text is the language people produce and react to, what they say and write, and read and listen to, in the course of daily life.…. The term covers both speech and writing… it may be language in  action, conversation, telephone talk, debate, … public notices, ... intimate monologue or anything else (1975:123).

The following are the characteristics of the text:

- Essentially semantic unit as a form of interaction
- Cohesive and coherence; not random but connected
- Spoken or written; mode of linguistics realization
- Of any length
- Create and/created by context (situationally relevant).

Werlich (1976) says that a text is an extended structure of syntactic units (i.e. text as
super-sentence) such as words, groups, and clauses and textual units that is marked by both
coherence among the elements and completion, whereas a non-text consists of random
sequences of linguistic units such as sentences, paragraphs, or sections in any temporal
and/or spatial extension. In its social-semantic perspective, text is an object of social exchange of
meanings. As such, it is embedded in a context of situation. The context of situation is the semio
socio-cultural environment in which the text unfolds.

Beaugrande and Dressler (1981) define a text as a communicative occurrence which
meets seven standards of textuality, they are:

1. Cohesion
Cohesion concerns the ways in which the components of the surface text are
connected within a sequence.

2. Coherence
Coherence related to the ways in which concepts and relations, which underlie the
surface text, are linked, relevant and used, to achieve efficient communication.
- A concept is a cognitive content which can be retrieved or triggered with a
high degree of consistency in the mind.

- Relations are the links between concepts within a text, with each link
identified with the concept that it connects to.

3. Intentionality
Intentionality refers to the text producer's attitude and intentions as the text
producer uses cohesion and coherence to attain a goal specified in a plan.

4. Acceptability
Acceptability concerns to the text receiver's attitude that the text should constitute
useful or relevant details or information such that it is worth accepting.

5. Informativity
Informativity is the extent to which the contents of a text are already known or
expected as compared to unknown or unexpected.

6. Situationality
Situationality refers to the factors which make a text relevant to a situation of

7. Intertextuality
Intertextuality concerns with the factors which make the utilization of one text
dependent upon knowledge of one or more previously encountered text. If a text
receiver does not have prior knowledge of a relevant text, communication may break
down because the understanding of the current text is obscured.

Without any of which, the text will not be communicative. Non-communicative texts
are treated as non-texts.

Most linguists agree on the classification into five text-types: narrative, descriptive,
argumentative, instructive, and comparison/contrast (also called expositive).

Some classifications divide the types of texts according to their function. Others differ because they
take into consideration the topic of the texts, the producer and the addressee, or the style.
The following figure display the position of text.

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