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Discurso & Pragmtica


A text as a constellation
Our aims for this lesson are
- To explore how texts are linked.
- To understand digital texts and practices.

1. Do you agree with the following quotes?

2. Look at the following screenshots from a blog by Robert Wright about Recoleta
Cemetery in Buenos Aires.

From Barton, D., & Lee, C. (2013). Language online: Investigating digital texts and practices. New York, NY:
The world is increasingly textually mediated and the web is essential to this
textual mediation. (Barton & Lee, 2013)

texts can no longer be thought of as relatively fixed and stable. They are
more fluid with the changing affordances of new media. In addition, they are
becoming increasingly multimodal and interactive. Links between texts are
complex online and intertextuality is common in online texts as people draw
upon and play with other texts available on the web. (Barton & Lee, 2013)

Discurso & Pragmtica


a. To what extent do these screenshots illustrate the quotes above?

Discurso & Pragmtica

3. Myers (2010)
investigated the discourse of blogs and wikis and makes two central
observations in relation to intertextuality:

a. Do you read blogs as suggested in the second extract?
b. If you had to analyse the blog above, what would you include as your corpus?

4. Above we introduced the concept of intertextuality. Read the following extract taken
from Li (2009, p. 92).
Does the blog in focus illustrate this definition?

Myers, G. (2010). The discourse of blogs and wikis. London/New York, NY: Continuum.
Li, J. (2009). Intertextuality and national identity: Discourse of national conflicts in daily newspapers in the United
States and China. Discourse & Society, 20(1), 85 121.
A blog is hard to pin down because it is
typically full of links to other texts.
Sometimes the text doesnt make sense unless
one clicks on these links so does that mean
the linked texts (and the texts that they link to)
are also part of this text? This is a practical
problem for analysts of blogs; it is hard to
know just what to include, and it is clearly
wrong to include just the posts, as if they were
collected in a bound paper volume. (p. 28)

Academic texts were designed for libraries
(even if we can now find many of them
online). It is hard to do a citation that is witty
in itself, if it depends on your looking up the
cited work to get the joke. Blogs, on the other
hand, are designed for the internet, where the
reader has instant access to the cited text. That
access makes all the difference in how we
read them. As the verb surf suggests, we
dont usually immerse ourselves in a discrete
text of a blog, but are carried lightly and
rapidly across what we think of as an endless
sea of hypertexts. (p. 29)

Fairclough (1992) maps out a version of CDA that attends to heterogeneous elements
in text construction. Seeing the text as constituting social relations and practices,
Fairclough explains intertextuality as the property texts have of being full of snatches
of other texts, which may be explicitly demarcated or merged in, and which the text
may assimilate, contradict, ironically echo, and so forth (1992: 84). Fairclough also
makes distinctions between manifest intertextuality and constitutive intertextuality.
While the former refers to how quoted utterances are selected, changed, and
contextualized, the latter is concerned with how texts are made up of heterogeneous
elements: generic conventions, discourse types, register, and style (1992: 85). For
Fairclough, such intertextual analysis can account for the ways in which texts are
produced in relation to specific social and discursive practices in certain contexts,
taking into consideration the dynamic processes of recontextualization and
reconceptualization of different discourses.

Discurso & Pragmtica

5. In an earlier publication, Flowerdew (2004, pp. 583-584)
refers to intertextuality
together with the concept of voice:

6. Based on the concepts of intertextuality and voice, surf the Recoleta Cemetery blog
and answer these questions:

a. What does the blog primarily consist of?
b. What does the blog link to? (eg. other blogs, own blog, marketing sites, YouTube, mainstream
media, photo sites, social networks, other)
c. What features run across these texts? Do they share a given style and interpersonal
d. Whats the authors voice? Whats the ideology projected by the main text and linked texts? Do
all these texts from different genres reinforce a clear position?

7. Choose a blog and analyse it in terms of how intertextuality and voice operate.

Flowerdew, J. (2004). The discursive construction of a world-class city. Discourse & Society, 15(5), 579 605.
Where there are relations between genres there is intertextuality. The term was used
first by Kristeva (1981), but the notion was originally developed by Bakhtin (1981,
1984, 1986). The meanings created through texts and their linguistic formulations
depend upon the meanings of other texts current in the community. In addition,
meanings can be created through the relations with other texts that could not be made
in the single text (Lemke, 1992). Not only is there intertextuality between members of
a genre system, but a genre itself is a manifestation of intertextuality in so far as it
follows the conventions of previous examples of this particular type of text. Following
from this, any stretch of text will bear the imprint of previous texts. Bakhtin (1981)
called these imprints in sections of text voices. Voice is the speaking personality, the
speaking consciousness. A voice always has a will or desire behind it, its own timbre
and overtones (Bakhtin, 1981: 434). Individual texts or stretches of text, it follows,
can be imbued with individual or multiple voices. One way to analyse these is through
their linguistic features rather in the way that Van Leeuwen (1987) analysed the
bundles of linguistic features that marked the different stages of a genre.