Discourse in the written form is differentiated into types and that will be discussed in this essay including a summary of the construction and categorisation of written texts. Two contrasting written materials, a poem and a short story will be analysed. Its content, the use of language, register, syntax and dialect and the intended audiences including a short background of its respective author.
Written discourse is the mode of conversation or communication dealing with a subject in a written form and it is classified into four categories namely exposition, narration, description and argument. The exposition type of discourse focuses on the broad in-depth ideas of specific subject so that the audience will have a general understanding of the theme discussed. It usually composes of a theme, an introduction, main topic and sub-topics and ends with a summary or conclusion. The characteristic of the listeners in exposition discourse is just passive, meaning the individuals will progress the topic being discussed by themselves whether they are amendable or not. The narration discourse tells about an event in a fictional or non-fictional story, a stage drama as a means of communication. In this type of discourse, the listeners may respond actively by showing of different mood of gestures. Description involves characterising a person or group of persons, things and events which relates to the senses of the audience. They, the audience, would mentally develop the whole picture of what is being described. Descriptions may be relayed from a poem, fiction or non-fiction story or essays. The argument type of discourse is based on an attested thesis or philosophy and that through logical reasoning tries to arouse the readers or listeners. Some of the argument discourses include lecture forum, in essays, prose and poetry and the listeners’ characteristic would either be passive or active.
In considering the written types of written texts, these are instruction, information, personal, narrative prose and persuasive. The instruction texts’ characteristics are its practicality, to respond to the written command which is its mode and could be interactive. The manner is formal and impersonal tone. The instructions are in chronological order and cannot be shuffled. . The grammar is imperative mood and often in repetitive form because the text is short. Examples of instruction texts are food recipe where it must be followed in chronological order. DIYs or assembly manual where it must be done in the right order. There is a physical purpose in the information text for it could help the audience with knowledge and affect their personal perspective. The manner in in formal for and depending upon the context it could either be spoken or written. The information text’s tone could either be personal or impersonal. Some information text is on chronological order and some are not, and it must be coveyed strongly. The grammar and lexis are often specific to the subject and usually is in declarative mood. Example of information texts is science text books where the grammar is in standard form and in accordance with the formality of the tone. The lexis is technically worded and subject-specific. Another example is leaflets for publicity which is written in informal manner. Lectures are one example which it is spoken to a specific size of the audience and presented in a manner that their attention be carried. The grammar is more formal, and the lexis is also subject-specific.
Personal text id a kind of writing characterized by the expression of aims, attitudes and ideas of the writer. The mode is obviously written and its purpose depends on different kinds of recipients. It could either be informative or descriptive and in chronological order or not. Its grammar and lexis depend on its purpose and the intended audience. Examples of these text are letters, diaries and journals. The narrative text is characterised by a personal expression. The mode is written and the manner depends upon the writer’s purpose and the intended audience. Its function could either be informing, educating or entertaining. Intentional use of ambiguity is provided by the author to let the audience hang with suspense. Tenses in its grammar varies and the lexis depends upon the relationship of the plots to its character. Examples of narrative text are movies/ play scripts and comic strips. The mode of both examples is written but the manner differs between the two where the latter is more informal. The lexis of the examples is related to the content and characters. In the scripts, the grammar depends upon the character speaking and in the comic strips depend upon the type of publication.
Of all the types of advertisements there is only one aim and that is to persuade or to inform the recipients. The three elements of it are the source, target audience and the message. In written form, it is known as persuasive text. Some of its characteristics are the design layout that may highlight a hook and the tone is often informal. The vocabulary and grammar are non-standard English and usually brief. Humour, rhymes and stereotyping are important elements to catch the audience response.
The Latin titled poem Dulce et Decorum Est ( It is sweet and right to die for your country) is authored by Wilfred Owen. It is classified as a lyric poem, meaning its mood is musically inclined and touching more to the emotion. The poem’s content is the horrifying first-hand experience of the author during the first world war. He was in the recovery infirmary of the many wounded in Scotland in the year 1917 when he wrote the poem addressed to his mother. He was 24 years old and was killed in a battle a week before the war ended.
The tone is written in the first person and intended to general audience, that war through it is inevitable but could be avoided. The horrors of war, the evil of politics, public propaganda, discouragement and discussed, despising experiences pushed Owen to express everything thru this poem. He uses formal register, a different form of language that is appropriate to a given situation, and the manner is seriously formal as well.
It is composed of four unequal number of lines of stanzas. Starting on the first two lines of the first stanza observes similes, “Bent double, like old beggar under sacks, knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,” this defines a very strong image of a weary and dead-tires soldiers wanting a place that they could have their bodies lie on. Common observation of this poem is the use of alliteration and several complex sentences used, simple, “Men march asleep,” and the compound as well, “Many had lost their boots but limped on blood-shod.” A metaphorical expression, “Gas! Gas! Quick, boys… As under the a green sea, I saw him drowning.” The feature of a horrified soldier slowly disappearing under a cove of green-coloured poison gas shelled towards them. No reason why the author used just two lines in the third stanza but this is connected to the former where rhyme schemes are observed and the use of personal pronouns, “…my dreams, …my helpless sight… plunges at me…”showing his merciful heart towards his fellow soldiers.
Alliteration is observed in the third line of the fourth stanza, “And the white eyes writhing in his face,” ‘Like a devil’s sick of skin,” “Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud’ are similes. The last three lines are the author’s disposition about the reality of war where he tends to discourage those who would consider enlisting. “it is sweet and right to die for your country,” to the author it is all lies, and this is in big contrast to another war time poet named Jessie Pope’s “The Call”, ‘Who’s for the trench-Are you, my laddie? Who’ll follow French- Will you, my laddie?” exhorting men to enlist for war.
The Pigeon Cree by Sid Chaplin will be analysed next. Its genre is a short story. The author himself was a miner, was born in West Durham mining village of Shildon. Interestingly the main character of this short story is an old miner named Geordie who loves pigeons. The plot is that the main character was told to put down his pigeons’ cage by the council represented by John William Thwaites because it is an eye-sore and illegal in the council-owned allotment. This starts the conflict, as one of the characteristics of a short story, following a sequence of events and later a resolution.
The short story is written in prose, and the conflicts are obvious in the different dialogues of the characters, “Ah’ll spank thee arse, an hard at that, is an example. The intended audience are regional Northerners (Geordie), working class and mature or generational. The register is mixed with formal and informal where the latter is mor dominant. An example of Geordie dialect is ” No, dinna gan away,” and this means that grammar used is non- standard English and mostly in third person. Idiolect is much is much comparable where the speech pattern of Geordie differs to those of John Willy and the reverend Jefferies who often speak in standard English. Understandably for they all have different educational backgrounds and social status. “This Geordie works every night, two hundred fathoms down, and doesn’t like it,” is an example of a compound sentence. “He is leaning against the front of the Cree, gazing into the sky,” is a complex sentence. Several figurative languages are observed, for example, “Ah’m not as green as Ah’m not cabbage-looking,’ is a simile and “This little cree is the hall of democracy,” is a metaphor.
Some highlights of events are “… gan back and tell them little Muzzos and hitlers that you’ve pulled the auld man’s cree down, but he’s not beat yet,’ is a hyperbolic statement. Another conflict in this sequence is with his wife, You’re not bringing them birds in here, so that’s that.” Finally, all is well that end well for Geordie, a resolution of his predicament., “For this new house has a balcony on the second floor where pigeons walkup and down… which Geordie has so kindly provided for them.” Indeed, the Pigeon Cree stays.
Similarities between the poem and the short story can be compared in different categories. Example in the use of vocabulary where the poem is a plain narrative of the author’s war experience who used mostly standard English the same with the dialogue of the council and the reverend. Both authors used several figurative languages and the syntax is more define in the short story where the type of sentences varies compare to the poem where description of events mostly in complex sentences. In the poem it could be directed to a general audience because war may happen anywhere at any time and in the short story, the intended audience is specific.
Written discourse is defined and its variety of types, and classified as well in different functions of writing. The construction, categorisation and examples are given in every type of text to highlight the differences. The two contrasting materials , a lyric poem entitled Dulce et Decorum Est, about the author’s personal experience of war and the description of the horrors of it and a short story, The Pigeon Cree, about a miner who defended a love of his life are analysed by examining the contents of both; the use of language, register, syntax and dialect. The short story is more challenging to analyse compare to the poem because of the consideration of the plot and different set of dialogues of the characters where in the poem is a first hand description of a real-life experience.