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Published Analyses
+ Unpublished Analyses
vertical line   Analyses by Mann, Matthiessen and/or Thompson

These are analyses that either were done during the development of RST or more recently, by the developers. They have all been reviewed for consistency and currency.

The right hand column shows counts of the signaled relations of each of these texts, along with the total relation count. Signals here include conjunctions, phrases, open class words and syntactic patterns. Methods of counting signals have not been formalized, and there may not be a need to do so.

This is not a balanced collection in any sense. There was a tendency to seek diversity and wide coverage of genres rather than balance, and after that some texts have been set aside so that they can be presented in topical collections. It does not represent spontaneously produced texts, and none of the texts are drawn from dialogues.

Some of the texts have been chosen because they illustrate some problem, limitation or weakness of RST. This is intended as an encouragement to other researchers to develop accounts in the indicated directions.

Text analyses Signaled relations /
All Relations
Darwin: Geologist? 1 / 4
Two Frameworks: RST and SFL 3 / 17
A British Viewpoint 3 / 10
Lactose and Lactase 1 / 4
Mother Teresa -- three analyses 2 / 9
Salvage and Archaeology -- a big one 6 / 37
Sparky Lived! -- coherence and imagination 0 / 2
Copyright Notice -- about not communicating 6 / 8
Devotional Reading -- issues of linearity 10 / 27
Sums 32 / 118 (27%)

PDF Darwin: Geologist? -- PDF
PDF Darwin: Geologist? -- GIF
Some titles are preparatory, but this one is the nucleus of the whole text.

PDF Two Frameworks: RST and SFL -- PDF
PDF Two Frameworks: RST and SFL -- GIF
This text is the title and abstract of the article indicated. Like the other abstracts on the website, it is a complete text in the sense that abstracts are in part intended to allow the reader to decide whether to read the article, and for that purpose cannot rely on the unread text of the article.

The text was also chosen because it describes the relationship between Systemic Functional Linguistics and RST.

We are very interested in developing knowledge of how RST compares with other approaches to discourse analysis. So, we expect to add to the site some analyses or links to alternate analyses of the same or similar texts.
Reference: WORD, 42 (3), William C. Mann and Christian M. I. M. Matthiessen, December 1991, p. 231-249.

PDF A British Viewpoint -- PDF
PDF A British Viewpoint -- GIF
This is a little story, intended for amusement. It achieves its effect by building up an image of the circumstances in which one word is spoken.

PDF Lactose and Lactase -- PDF
PDF Lactose and Lactase -- GIF
This abstract is nearly half background information. One of the reasons that backgrounding is not signalled by its own distinct signal (such as a conjunction) may be that such a signal would in effect say that the author thought the reader would not know this information. Some readers might find that mildly condescending if it were made explicit.

Backgrounding is seldom signalled explicitly.

PDF Mother Teresa -- PDF -- three analyses
PDF Mother Teresa 1 -- GIF
PDF Mother Teresa 2 -- GIF
PDF Mother Teresa 3 -- GIF
This text is given three slightly different analyses. This has been done in order to facilitate some thinking about why one analysis might be preferable to another. In this case, preferences seem to revolve around which intentions are most plausible to attribute to the author.

Notice that one of the key relationships in the text is an analogical relationship between "Smile at your husbands" and "I find it hard sometimes to smile at Jesus." Notice also that there is no trace of this analogical relationship in the RST analyses of the text. It is certainly a discourse structural element, and it is certainly involved in the way that the text communicates, but it is of a different order than RST identifies.

There are inherent limits on how much a monologue oriented method such as RST can find in text containing dialogue. One of the large challenges raised by CRST is to provide some comparable structured whole-text or whole-event representation, first for natural two-party dialogue and eventually for multiparty interaction.

PDF Salvage and Archaeology -- PDF -- a big one
PDF Salvage and Archaeology -- GIF
This is one of the largest text analyses on this web site. It is notable for the very elaborate but muted treatment of actions (taken by the highly respected National Geographic Society) which the author does not approve of.

It is also notable for the depth of the tree, 16 levels (including the whole text level), and for the elaborate background portion. Is the strategy of using an elaborate background portion related to opposing a respected organization?

PDF Sparky Lived! -- PDF -- coherence and imagination
PDF Sparky Lived! -- GIF
This little text is the main body of an advertisment for V8 vegetable juice. It is notable for the extreme feat of imagination that it requires in order to see it as coherent. It is also notable for the lack of cohesive signals, especially that there is no clear signal of cause.

The text is addressed to "you." So you must imagine, possibly against personal reality, that:

1. As a child, you had a pet;
2. the pet was named "Sparky;"
3. you threw vegetables under the table (presumably to avoid eating them);
4. Sparky ate them;
5. Eating the vegetables affected Sparky's health.

The reader's search for coherence leads to a kind of assertion, in RST terms a Relational Proposition.

The notion that the vegetables caused Sparky to live a long time relies on a generalization that eating vegetables tends to cause longevity. It is implicit and defeasible (deniable). It would probably be illegal to make it explicit, because that would be a medical claim, and medical claims are regulated by law. Legal aspects are probably enough of a threat that they are the likely reason for including the fine print disavowal of the claim (see second image.)


The text also illustrates how a background photo can function in a preparatory way, just as the title of a paper does. Without the photo as a leading preparation, the search for coherence might tend to fail.


It is interesting to consider how this sort of text is related to fiction. Certainly, for the advertiser's purposes, the assertion of cause does not belong entirely to the imagined world created by the reader. It must also affect the world in which the reader buys groceries. So, this is more like a parable than it is like a fictional drama.

PDF Copyright Notice -- PDF -- about not communicating
PDF Copyright Notice -- GIF
The significance of this text for RST is that it is not really a communicative text, so the structure is filled with the Joint relation, identifying unrelated contributions upward.

There is only a very local topical sort of organization. The gross structure is a list of terms. In terms of intentions, the author intended to create and limit rights of use relative to this intellectual property. This has nothing in common with changing the reader, and so is not communicative.

This failure to effectively analyze noncommunicative text illustrates that RST has responded to some essential features of communication.

PDF Devotional Reading -- PDF -- issues of linearity
PDF Devotional Reading -- GIF
One interest in this devotional page is that it shows an example where effective understanding of the text seems to require recognizing an event in the story which is prominent, but not represented by any text. In the analysis diagram it is represented by "GHOST SEGMENT," along with imputed content. Ellipsed segments of this sort are rare in written monologue text.

Another interest is that there is an important part of the organization of this text that is carried by a strong template of layout and formatting. Fonts, whitespace, break lines and positions are employed to give simultaneous approachability to several parts. (The analysis is confined to the body of the right hand page.)

RST is implicitly working with a linear view of text and so does not have a representation for these features.

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