, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 97-114

Argumentative Text as Rhetorical Structure: An Application of Rhetorical Structure Theory

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Abstract

Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST), as a tool for analyzing written texts, is particularly appropriate for analyzing argumentative texts. The distinction that RST makes between the part of a text that realizes the primary goal of the writer, termed nucleus, and the part that provides supplementary material, termed satellite, is crucial for the analysis of argumentative texts.

The paper commences by determining the concept of argument relation (argument + conclusion) and by briefly presenting RST. It continues by identifying five of RST's rhetorical relations of the satellite/nucleus schema (Evidence, Motivation, Justify, Antithesis, Concession) as five argument relations, each being, logically or pragmatically, a special kind of argument: Evidence being a supportive argument, Motivation an incentive argument, Justify a justifier argument, and Antithesis and Concession persuader arguments. To illustrate, an analysis of three short texts concludes the paper.