A Glossary for Text Anaylsis

The following glossary contains all the terms introduced. Words printed in italics indicate cross-references to other entries in this glossary.

act major division of a drama, often divided further into scenes.

acting time time from the beginning to the end of an episode or episodes in a fictional text. The relationship between acting time and narrating time/reading time is dependent on the mode of presentation.

allegory , adj. allegorical fictional text in which ideas are personified and a story is told to express some general truth. Cf. fable, parable.

alliteration repetition of sounds, especially consonants, at the beginning of neighbouring words or of stressed syllables within such words, e. g. "fingers the size of small spades". Cf. assonance.

allusion direct or indirect reference to some well-known historical person or event, saying, proverb, line or sentence from a work of literature.

anaphora repetition of the same word or words at the beginning of neighbouring sentences, lines, stanzas, etc.
antithesis cf. dialectical order.
anti-utopia , adj. anti-utopian cf. utopia.

argumentation , adj. argumentative one of the five text types. It deals with controversial matter and expresses a clear opinion. Comments, interviews, leading articles and letters to the editor are common text forms belonging to the text type argumentation.

assonance repetition of the same or similar vowel sounds within stressed syllables of neighouring words, e. g. "on the dole with nowhere to go". Cf. alliteration.

atmosphere feeling or mood created by a writer or speaker to evoke the reader's or listener's emotions. It may be, for example, pleasant or gloomy, peaceful or violent. Cf. tone.

attitudinal adverb adverb expressing a writer's or speaker's attitude towards his or her topic, e. g. "certainly", "honestly", "obviously", "simply".

caricature one-sided over-emphasis of certain traits of a character, used to mock or criticize.

character in a fictional text, person developed through action, description, language and way of speaking. Cf. type.

characterization, v. characterize way of presenting a character in a fictional text. If the reader or audience is told about a character's traits directly by the author, another character, or the character himself, we speak of explicit characterization. If the reader or audience is expected to find out about a character's traits indirectly through what the character says and does, we speak of implicit characterization

chronological order simple temporal order in which the action is presented in sequence, i. e. as it actually occurred or is supposed to have occurred.

climactic order way of structuring a text according to the importance of its items, leading to a climax.

climax structural element of a text, the moment when the conflict is most intense. In fictional texts, the climax follows the rising action and precedes the turning point. Cf. plot.

comedy kind of drama which deals with a light topic or a more serious topic in an amusing way. By using comic elements, the author wants to entertain and sometimes criticize.

comic (element) cf. caricature, exaggeration, irony, paradox, pun, sarcasm, satire.

comment non-fictional text form in which the writer or speaker deals with one or more topics and offers his or her own judgment in order to convince the reader or listener. Cf. argumentation.

conflict clash between different forces. In fictional texts, the struggle may be one of ideas or values within a character (= internal conflict) or between two characters or one character and fate/nature/society, etc. (= external conflict). Cf. plot.

connotation additional meaning of a word beyond its dictionary definition(s). Cf. denotation.

contrast bringing together of opposing views in order to emphasize their differences.

contrastive order way of structuring a text according to opposing views by making use of contrasts throughout the text. It is frequently used in argumentative texts.

denotation actual meaning of a word as defined in a dictionary. Cf.

denouement cf. solution.

description, adj. descriptive one of the five text types, presenting the physical characteristics of living beings, objects and/or processes. The presentation can be either based on exact observation and objective information (= technical description), or it can give a suggestive mental picture based on the writer's or speaker's subjective impressions (= impressionistic description).

dialectical order
way of structuring a text by opening with the statement of an idea/action (= thesis), following it by its opposite (= antithesis) and solving the conflict between the two in a compromise (= synthesis). It is frequently used in argumentative texts.

diary personal record of facts and experiences, kept daily or at frequent intervals, usually for private use. didactic (function) intended to teach a lesson.

drama, adj. dramatic piece of fiction, also called play, usually written for performance on stage, in films or on television. Cf. act, scene, stage direction.

editorial cf. Ieading article.

ellipsis , pl. ellipses shortening of sentences by dropping a word or words which can be understood from the context.

emotive (language) using words or expressions which have particular

connotations in order to appeal to the reader's or listener's emotions and influence him or
her in some way.
end rhyme cf. rhyme.

end-stopped line line of a poem with a pause at the end. Cf. enjambement

enjambement running on of a syntactical unit beyond the end of a line of a poem, also called run-on line. Cf. end-stopped line.
entrance in drama, the coming of a character onto the stage.

essay text form in which the writer expresses his personal views on some topic in an artistic way. Most essays can be said to represent either the argumentative or the expository text types. There are many possible varieties, from the serious to the light-hearted and entertaining.

euphemism stylistic device used to hide the true nature of something unpleasant by expressing it in a more pleasant way.

exaggeration strong overstatement, often used with an amusing effect.
Cf. understatement.

exit in drama, a character's leaving the stage.
explicit characterization cf. characterization.

exposition(1) structural element of a fictional text, usually at the very beginning, including the introduction of the main character(s), the themeand thesetting as well as first indications of the atmosphere and tone. Cf. plot.

exposition(2), adj. expository one of the five text types in which the writer or speaker analyses and explains some relatively complex matter, mostly in an objective and precise way. Dictionary definitions, entries in reference books, keyword outlines and summaries are common text forms belonging to the text type exposition.
external conflict cf. conflict.

fable usually short fictional narrative, commonly emplying personified animals that represent human types. It is an allegorical text form with a clear didactic function that is either implicitly expressed throughout the action or stated explicitly in the form of a moral.

falling action structural element of a fictional text, marked by a reduction of the suspense. It usually follows the turning-point and precedes the solution. Cf. plot.

feature (story) variant of the text form report. Though based on facts, it does not emphasize generally newsworthy events, but rather an individual case and so appeals to the emotions and arouses human interest.

fiction, adj. fictional category of texts in which the author creates his or her own world. The readers or audience are expected to accept this world as existing within the context of the text, even though it may be different from their own experience of reality. Common examples of fiction are novels, short stories, dramas and poems.

figurative (meaning) meaning of a word that goes beyond its usual definition(s) and transfers the word from its normal context to a new one. Examples of figurative use of language are metaphors, similes and symbols.
"five w's" cf. report.

flashback interruption of the chronological order of a text in order to go back in time and show what happened earlier.
formal style language used to address educated readers or listeners not known very closely by the writer or speaker. Formal style shows detachment and respect. Typical of it are a non-personal point of view, the use of precise and frequently difficult vocabulary, full forms and often long, complex sentences. Cf. informal style, neutral style.

free verse form of a poem whose structure is not established by rhyme and a regular metre, but, for example, by repetition, rhythm and sound elements such as alliteration and assonance.

image vivid mental picture created by a writer or speaker to appeal to the reader's or listener's imagination. Collectively images are called imagery; they include metaphors, similes and symbols. Cf. figurative (meaning).
implicit characterization cf. characterization.
impressionistic description cf. description.

informal style language used to address readers or listeners with whom the writer or speaker feels comfortable. Informal style is characteristic of relaxed, personal and subjective communication. Typical of it are a personal point of view, the use of fairly simple, even slangy vocabulary, short forms, uncomplicated sentence patterns, ellipsis and fillers. Cf. formal style, neutral style.

instruction, adj. instructive one of the five text types, meant to influence the reader's or listener's behaviour by advising or instructing him or her. Characteristic of instruction is the use of commands or recommendations and the present tense group of verbs. Rules and regulations are common text forms belonging to the text type instruction.

intensifying adverb adverb used to give more force to a statement, e. g. "indeed", "in fact", "particularly".
interior monologue cf. mode of presentation.
internal conflict cf. conflict.
internal rhyme cf. rhyme.
interpretive news story news story.

interview special kind of dialogue, usually prepared in advance and later edited for publication or broadcast. Cf. argumentation.

irony ],adj. ironic in its strictest sense, a statement expressing the opposite of what is really meant, whereby the reader or listener is expected to realize the true meaning. Cf. sarcasm, satire.

keyword outline text form belonging to the text type exposition, a systematic, condensed arrangement of important information from a text. It contains the main ideas of a paragraph or group of paragraphs, their supporting ideas and often important details, visually structured according to their relative importance.

Iayout choice of print and general arrangement of written and/or pictorial material on a page of a book, magazine, newspaper, etc. The layout determines the readability and attractiveness of the printed matter.

leading article variant of the text form comment, usually written by the chief editor of a newspaper or magazine to state a particular opinion on some topic of current importance. The views expressed are generally representative of the political and social tendency of the publication as a whole. Also known as editorial. Cf. argumentation.

line in a poem, structural unit, usually classified by the number of feet it contains.
listing order way of structuring a text by enumerating its items, not necessarily according to their importance, often achieved by numbering the items or by introducing them with adverbs like "first", "then", "finally".

literal (meaning) meaning of a word as defined in a dictionary. Cf. figurative (meaning).

metaphor , adj. metaphorical element of imagery, the linking of two seemingly unlike things with one another in the form of an implicit comparison, thus suggesting some kind of identity, e. g. "the snow of his hair ".

metre regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables within a line of a poem. Cf. foot, rhythm.

mode of presentation way in which events are related to the reader or listener in a narrative text. If a story is told as a condensed series of events, this is known as panoramic presentafion; if an incident is shown in detail, we speak of scenic presentation . A special kind of scenic presentation is interior monologue, i. e. the verbal reproduction of a character's feelings, thoughts and recollections with no intervention by the narrator. The mode of presentation is closely related to an author's treatment of time. Cf. narrating time/reading time.

moral lesson taught by a text with a didactic function, either expressed explicitly in a final statement or implied by the action of the story. Cf. fable, parable.

narrating time time it takes to relate a particular event or series of events in a narrative text, nearly the same as reading time. The relashionship between narrating time/reading time and acting time is dependent on the mode of presentation

narration , adj./n. narrative one of the five text types, . presenting actions or events in some kind of temporal order. Novels, short stories, reports are common text forms belonging to the text type narration.

narrator person who tells the story in a narrative text, through whose eyes events are seen. The narrator is usually not identical to the author. Cf. point of view

neutral style language distinguished by a choice of words and sentence structures common to all text forms and appropriate to any situation. Cf. formal style, informal style.

news story non-fictional variant of the text form report, based on facts, but enriched by background information and story-like elements. If the writer of a news story brings in a great deal of subjective statements and interpretation, it is called an in terpretive news story.

, adj. non-fictional category of texts in which the writer or speaker refers only to persons and places that really exist and to events that do or did take place. Common examples of non-fiction are comments and reports. Cf. fiction.

novel long and complex fictional narrative, written in prose.

Octave cf. sonnet.

open ending structural element of a fictional text, the opposite of a solution. In a story with an open ending the conflict is not solved: the final interpretation is left up to the reader or audience. Cf. plot.

order cf. chronological order, climactic order, contrastive order, dialectical order, listing order, temporal order, topical order.

outline cf. keyword outline.

panoramic presentation cf. mode of presentation.

parable usually short fictional narrative with a didactic function, telling the story of some event in order to make a general statement about human behaviour. This moral is not always stated explicitly; the reader or listener is expected to draw a parallel between the story and his or her own experience. The parable is an allegorical text form that presents human types.

paradox , adj. paradoxical statement that seems at first to be in itself contradictory, even senseless, but reveals some hidden truth on second thought.

parallelism repetition of the same or similar syntactical form in different sentences or parts of sentences. Cf. anaphora.

parody fictional text which imitates the form and language of a well known piece of writing while changing its tone and context.

personification , v. personify technique of representing animals, plants, objects, the forces of nature or abstract ideas as if they were human beings and possessed human qualities.

persuasive (style) use of language intended to convince or persuade the reader or listener. Characteristic elements are attitudinal and intensifying adverbs and rhetorical questions. Persuasive style is used in the text type argumentation and in subjective forms of the text type instruction such as advertisements.

play cf. drama.

plot in fictional texts, the structure of the action as a set of events connected by cause and effect and centred around one or more conflicts. Plot is typically composed of the following elements, usually in this order: exposition, rising action, climax, turning-point falling action, solution or open ending.

poem fictional text structured by lines, often arranged in stanzas, employing such elements as metre, rhyme, rhythm, alliteration and assonance, as well as imagery and words rich in connotations.

point of view relationship between the writer/narrator/speaker and his or her text; perspective from which the topics/characters and events are presented. Point of view may be personal, i. e. in the first person ("I", "we") or non-personal, i. e. in the third person ("he" "she", "they"). If the writer/narrator/speaker knows everything about the topics/characters and events, he or she is said to be omniscient, the point of view is unlimited. Otherwise, the point of view is limited.

play on words, using either different meanings of the same word or the different meanings of words having the same or similar sounds.

reading time time it takes to read about a particular event or series of events in a narrative text, nearly the same as narrating time. The relationship between reading time/ narrating time and acting time is dependent on the mode of presentation.

repetition repeated use of particular sounds, syllables, words, phrases, sentences, etc., as a means of structuring a text. Cf. alliteration, anaphora, assonance, parallelism

report non-fictional text form belonging to the text type narration often told in the past tense. It provides factual answers to the questions "who?","what?", "when?, ""where?" and "why?", the so-called "five w's". These facts are verifiab]e, i.e. they can be checked on by the reader or listener.

rhetorical question question to which the answer is obvious and therefore not expected or given. It forces the reader or listener to think in a certain direction and is characteristic of persuasive style.

rhyme identity of sound between two words, extending from the last stressed syllable to the end of the words. If this occurs at the end of two or more lines of a poem, we speak of end rhyme; if within a line, it is known as internal rhyme.

rhyme scheme
arrangement of rhymes in a poem, described by using the letters of the alphabet.

rhythm, adj. rhythmic natural flow of speech in its sequence of stressed and unstressed syllables. In a poem, rhythm is often in conflict with the metre

rising action structural element of a fictional text, marked by an increase in the suspense and an intensifying of the conflict. It usually follows the exposition and precedes the climax. Cf. plot.

run-on line cf. enjambement.

sarcasm , adj. sarcastic bitter or aggressive remark used to express disapproval or mockery. Cf. irony, satire.

satire , adj. satirical fictional text intended to criticize certain conditions, events or people by making them appear ridiculous, often by using irony and sarcasm.

scene subdivision of an act of a drama, usually established by a unity of time, place and action, often marked by the entrance and exit of one or more characters,

scenic presentation cf. mode of presentation.

sestet cf. sonnet.
setting place and time in which the action of a text takes place.

short story shortfictional narrative, existing in many varieties, usually with a tight plot and limited in theme, setting, number of events and characters.

simile element of imagery, the linking of two distinctlydifferent things in the form of an explicit comparison using "like" or "as", thus suggesting some kind of similarity, e. g. "his hair was like snow". Cf. figurative (meaning).

solution structural element of a fictional text in which the conflict is resolved. Also called dénouement. Cf. open ending, plot.

sonnet poem consisting of fourteen lines, each usually containing five feet, with a fixed rhyme scheme, often divided into an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines).

speech verbal text form, a talk or address delivered to an audience, usually in formal style.

stage direction author's notes in a drama on how it is to be performed, often with important details about the setting, the characters' appearances, actions, movements, gestures, ways of speaking and attitudes, thus providing explicit as well as implicit chartacterization.

style cf, formal style, informal style, neutral style, persuasive style

summary text form belonging to the text type exposition, a short continuous text presenting the most important information from some other text. Although formulated in the summary writer's own words - sometimes on the basis of a keyword outlirie of the original text - it does not contain his or her personal opinions or interpretations.

suspense feeling of tension or expectation aroused in the reader or audience about the further development of the characters, conflict and plot.

symbol , adj. symbolic element of imagery, in which a concrete object stands not only for itself but for some abstract idea as well. Cf. figurative (meaning).

synthesis cf. dialectical order.

table arrangement of data in rows and columns for easier readability.

technical description cf. description.

technical vocabulary words and expressions from a specialized field of knowledge, frequent in technical description, used for the sake of clarity and precision due to their lack of connotations.

temporal order way of structuring a text by presenting actions and events in relation to time. A simple form of temporal order is chronological order.

text form realization of one of the five text types in actual texts, e. g. as poems, short stories, novels, reports, comments. Though most text forms contain elements of several text types, one of them is usually dominant.

text type classification of texts according to five different models based on the writer's intentions. Cf. argumentation, description, exposition, instruction, narration.

theme central topic or idea of a text, holding all its elements together and
giving them meaning.

thesis cf. dialectical order.

time cf. acting time, narrating time/reading time.

tone writer's or speaker's attitude towards his or her theme, character(s) and especially towards the reader or listener, as reflected in the text. Tone can, for example, be serious or playful, humorous or solemn, arrogant or modest. Cf. atmosphere.

topical order way of structuring a text according to its main topics, often also subtopics, following logical steps or categories.

turning-point structural element of a fictional text, marking a change in the conflict or suspense. It usually follows the climax and precedes the falling action. Cf. plot.

type character in a fictional text who is not fully developed, but one-sided, representing a group of people or some human trait.

understatement statement that is deliberately weak, putting less emphasis or importance on something than it deserves, often used as a form of irony. Cf. exaggeration.

utopia , adj. utopian fictional text dealing with an ideal society, place or world. If this society is a negative one, we usually call it an anti-utopia.