Information Controlling in a Business Discourse
Information Controlling in a Business Discourse:
Cohesive and Coherent Aspects
Business strategy, syntactical chain, cognitive modeling, probable valency, structural predictability.
The article develops the idea of information controlled proceeding in Business Discourse that is relied upon explicit and implicit links between the strategy’s components involved into a message. The proper linguistic features, cohesive and coherent models of business strategies make possible gradual unfolding of the author’s intention at lexico- syntactical and semantic levels.
The basic quality of business documents is its predictable interpretation that might be regulated by cohesive and coherent means. These grammatical and semantic means generally strengthen the logical organization and gradually realize the category of continuum, "a certain succession of events, facts that occur at time and space” (1: 87). Studies of cohesion indicate that information in a text or discourse is carried out by a number of keywords and their existing relationships in a sentence, and cohesion is performed by the connectivity of relevant sentences in terms of overlapping content words (2: 128). Business strategies (informing, proposition, inquiry, request, excuse etc.) embodied through documents become the proper linguistic models that sum up a set of lexical, syntactic and semantic units to establish the hierarchical coherent organization of incoming text constituents. Pragmatic strategies which dominate during the language use of information in a business message become an instrument with the help of which the author directs and controls the process of information perception by the addressee (3: 35). Language filling of business strategy’s components in a frame sets the first stage in controlled text generating where such nodes as OBJECT, AIM, MEANS, SUBJECT, THE FORESEEN REACTION OF THE SUBJECT are nominated.
For example, the lexical units of Request Strategy are arranged in the knots of frame in the following way:
OBJECT (Managing Director), AIM (to arrange shipment of the goods), MEANS (a letter of credit), SUBJECT (Sales Dept Midtec Cables Ltd), THE FORSEEN REACTION OF THE SUBJECT: (contact us, we look forward to receiving the drills).
Thus, the used phrases name the participants, their actions and form a scale of desired situation that is aimed at keeping up relations with the definite addressee.
The next stage of controlled text generating is making syntactical links in a text, because "using frames without syntax leads to distorting information” (4: 12) and impossibility of its directing. Syntactical arrangement of business strategies is mostly performed by double asymmetrical or isolated connections (paradigmatic repetitions), substitution through folding word combinations.
Have a look at the following example of syntactical arrangement in Informing Strategy:
I have pleasure in enclosing our brochure. This gives full details and prices of all our amplifiers… < …> We are able to offer a 12% discount on the basic price for groups of more than 30. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer discounts on any of the supplementary charges.
The substitution of lexical units, anaphoric constructions, simple repetitions make the text cohesive and coherent that help the author’s thought predictive unfolding.
Topical design of a text is created by means of local or global coherence: theme-rheme division, explicit (repetition, synonymy, antonymy, hyponymy etc.) and implicit (cause-effect, contrast, conditional, justified expectation relations of OBJECT-SUBJECT) connectors when the most important accurate information is placed in the foreground and less important – is shadowed out.
Let’s look at the example of implicit information proceeding happened through Cause-Effect type of sentence relation:
To simplify your record keeping [Theme- cause], you may choose to have us withhold taxes from your annuity payments [Rheme-effect 1]. Or you may choose to receive the full payments and pay estimated taxes yourself [Rheme-effect 2].
Target-language models of a strategy (graph, frame, script, chain, net) which consist of probabilities of sequences of words, syntactic and semantic units are responsible for a number of possible associated cognitive images (ACTIVE PARTNER, PASSIVE PARTNER, ACTIVE RIVAL, PASSIVE RIVAL, OBSERVER, RECIPIENT, DONOR, MIDDLEMAN etc.) that emphasize features of greatest interest to the supposed reader.
For instance, PASSIVE PARTNER is named indirectly, proper names are omitted (Sir, Madam, colleagues), the conditional close frequently motivates actions by specifying a person to talk to and a deadline for a reply (If you need further information about the new requirements, call our customer service representative, at (919) 744-2063). Please let us know your decision by November 1 so that we can begin withholding in January.) etc.
Any business document meets the requirements due to semantic similarity and word-sense disambiguation that are regulated according to the probability measure, joint probability, conditional probability, empirical distribution probability and sequence probability correlated by grammar rules. Such probable valency of every word in a business text is based on relation of dependence between words in a sentence/ sentences, different types of which tend to create direct monosemantic text interpretation by means of distributional and transformational procedures.
For example, the study of business texts in terms of their probable syntactic organization shows that emphatic constructions with propositions (it is by/with/ through smth that) or without propositions (it is smb/smth who/that) and anaphoric constructions make the sense more predictable.
The second way of expecting the definite interpretation is the usage of words having no lexico-stylistic paradigm (stylystically neutral words – information, consumer, payment; terms – credit, balance, deposit; nomenclature words – risk-free rate, rolled-over debt; etc. ) that promotes a direct reference to the object, the absence of subjective evaluative connotations, strict referencial borders. Used synonyms are purely denotative in this case (We are happy to accept your terms … We look forward to receiving your confirmation.).
Thus, the process of information controlling in business text generation becomes possible due to the quality and quantity of elements in a message, predictable distribution and correlation between them.
A Reference List
1. Galperin I.R. Text as an Object of Linguistic Investigation. – Moscow: Editorial, 2005.
2. Petrova N.V. Text and Discourse // Voprosy Yazykoznanya. – Kyiv, 2003. – №6. – P. 123-131.
3. Makarov M.L. Theoretical Fundamentals of Discourse. – Мoscow: IТDGК «Gnozis», 2003.
4. A Semantic Component in Text Understanding Systems // A Collection of Translated Scientific and Technical Literature / Ed. by N.N.Leontyeva. – Moscow: The Center of Translated Scientific and Technical Literature, 1982.
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