[b-greek] Re: forground & background, boundry markers -Longacre's Model

From: CWestf5155@aol.com
Date: Sat Nov 03 2001 - 22:08:04 EST

In a message dated 11/03/2001 1:15:08 PM Mountain Standard Time,
doulos@merr.com writes:

> >
> > So all this is to say that marked formal features and even the general
> > category of prominence make one contribution to a model of discourse
> > structure that ought to be complex, and weigh in diverse other discourse
> > features that contribute to textual cohesion, topic structure, co-text
> > context.
> I don't know very much about DA, but I do enjoy following these discussions
> and learning from those who do. But I sometimes do not understand the
> terminology. Could someone briefly explain for me the difference between
> "foreground" and "frontground" and also between "co-text" and "context?"
> --

Hi Steven,

Your questions are valid. There's a lot of terminology floating around and
it isn't used consistently. My approach is consistent with Systemic
Linguistics and the work that is being done by Porter and many of his

It is common to talk about levels of discourse being "background" and
"foreground", which roughly corresponds to mainline and support material .

Porter expands the two-dimensional "background" and "foreground", adding
"frontground"--frontground would be a prominent figure or point (so in my
view background could be the setting, foreground could be the action line,
and frontground the figure, climax or point of an episode). This is a real
improvement, but has its limitations. I like to talk about contouring.

Co-text refers to the surrounding text, while context refers to
situation/location of the text, author & recipients.

Cindy Westfall
Assistant Professor
Colorado Christian University

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