The Procedural Approach to Texts

  • Mauro GiuffrèEmail author
Part of the UNIPA Springer Series book series (USS)


The intention of this chapter is to show the peculiarities of the point of view of Dressler and de Beaugrande, expressed in their work. The position taken by the two authors in their Introduction is a veiled criticism against van Dijk and Petőfi, which are accused of excessive rigour. Dressler and de Beaugrande’s procedural approach avoids the use of logical bases and they propose a point of view closer to cognitive science. According to Dressler and de Beaugrande, the heart of the procedural approach is semantics. In their view, knowledge and meaning are sensitive to the situation in which they are used. So, the two authors believe that framing the texts and the knowledge about the real world and the situation, in which the communication occurs, within a logical system is probably absurd. So, the procedural approach does not require semantic markers to be set in order to constitute the logical apparatus of a textual theory; rather, it indicates the need to engage in the search for types of global cognitive models on the basis of which textual production and reception functions. A well-formed text has to satisfy seven fixed criteria: cohesion, coherence, intentionality and acceptability, informativity, situationality and intertextuality.


Procedural approach Cognitive science Textuality Cohesion Coherence 



  1. Aristotle. Rhetorica. In Aristotelis opera. Edidit August Immanuel Bekker, Academia Regia Borussica. Berlin: Reimer, 1831–1870 [rist. De Gruyter, 1960]. In the English translation by John Henry Freese, Fellow of St. John’s College, in the Loeb Classical Library (1947).Google Scholar
  2. Plato. Gorgias. In Platonis opera. Edidit Iannes Burnet, Oxford Classical Texts Library. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1903. In the English translation by Walter R. M. Lamb, fellow of Trinity College (Cambridge), in the Loeb Classical Library (1946).Google Scholar

Modern Studies

  1. Allen, James Frederick. 1979. A Plan-Based Approach to Speech Act Recognition. Toronto: University of Toronto.Google Scholar
  2. Barthes, Roland. 1970. L’ancienne rhétorique. Communications 16: 172–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blom, Jan-Petter, and John Gumperz. 1972. Social meaning in linguistic structures: Code switching in Norway. In Directions in Sociolinguistics: The Ethnography of Communication, ed. John J. Gumperz, and Dell Hymes, 407–434. New York: Holt.Google Scholar
  4. Bolter, Jay David, and Richard Grusin. 1999. Remediation. Understanding New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bruce, Bertram, and Denis Newman. 1978. Interacting plans. Cognitive Psychology 2(3): 195–234.Google Scholar
  6. Changeux, Jean-Pierre. 1983. L’homme neuronal. Paris: Fayard.Google Scholar
  7. Chomsky, Noam Avram. 1965. Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  8. Cohen, Philip Raymond. 1978. On Knowing What to Say: Planning Speech Acts. Toronto: University of Toronto.Google Scholar
  9. Coşeriu, Eugeniu. 1975. Sprachtheorie und allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft. 5 Studien. München: Fink.Google Scholar
  10. de Beaugrande, Robert-Alain, and Wolfgang Ulrich Dressler. 1981a. Eine Einführung in die Textlinguistik. Tübingen: Niemeyer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. de Beaugrande, Robert-Alain, and Wolfgang Ulrich Dressler. 1981b. Introduction to Text Linguistics. London-New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  12. de Beaugrande, Robert-Alain, and Wolfgang Ulrich Dressler. 1994. Introduzione alla linguistica testuale (trans: Muscas, S.). Bologna: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
  13. de Saussure, Ferdinand. 1916. Cours de linguistique générale, ed. Charles Bally, and Albert Sechehaye. Lausanne-Paris: Payot.Google Scholar
  14. Dressler, Wolfgang Ulrich. 1970. Textsyntax und Übersetzung. In Sprachwissenschaft und Übersetzen, ed. Peter Hartmann, and Henri Vernay, 64–71. München: Hüber.Google Scholar
  15. Edmondson, Willis. 1980. On negoziation in discourse: Contras and counters in exchange structure. Grazer Linguistische Studien 11: 28–44.Google Scholar
  16. Fillmore, Charles John. 1968. The Case for cases. In Universals in Linguistic Theory, ed. Emmon Bach, and Robert T. Harms, 1–88. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  17. Giuffrè, Silvia. 2013. Il pensiero in movimento (Ipotesi per una filosofia della danza). In Creatori di senso. Identità, pratiche e confronti nella danza contemporanea italiana, ed. Massimo Schiavoni, 49–62. Roma: Aracne. doi: 10.4399/97888548662255
  18. Goldstein, Ira, and Seymour Papert. 1977. Artificial intelligence, language and the study of knowledge. Cognitive Science 1(1): 84–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Greenbaum, Sidney. 1973. Informant elicitation of data on syntactic variation. Lingua 31: 201–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Grice, Herbert Paul. 1975. Logic and conversation. In Syntax and Semantics 3: Speech Acts, ed. Peter Cole, and Jerry L. Morgan, 41–58. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  21. Halliday, Michael, and Ruqaiya Hasan. 1976. Cohesion in English. London-New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  22. Hartmann, Peter. 1963. Theorie der Grammatik: Allgemeinste strukturgesetz in Sprache und grammatik. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  23. Hjelmslev, Louis Trolle. 1928. Principes de grammaire générale. Copenhague: AF Høst.Google Scholar
  24. Hjelmslev, Louis Trolle. 1935. La catégorie des cas. Étude de grammaire générale. première partie. Vol. Acta Jutlandica VII 1. Aarhus: Universitetsforlaget.Google Scholar
  25. Jackendoff, Ray. 1996. Semantics and cognition. In The Handbook of Contemporary Semantic Theory, ed. Shalom Lappin, 539–559. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  26. Jackendoff, Ray. 2002. Foundations of Language. Brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution. London-Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Johnson, David. 1977. On relational constraints on grammar. In Syntax and Semantics VIII: Grammatical Relations, ed. Peter Cole, and Jerrold Sadock, 151–178. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  28. Lakoff, George. 1971. On generative semantics. In Semantics: An Interdisciplinary Reader in Philosophy, Linguistics and Psychology, ed. Danny D. Steinberg, and Leon A. Jakobovits, 232–296. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Lakoff, George. 1973. Fuzzy grammar and the performance/competence terminology game, ed. Claudia Corum, Thomas Cedric Smith-Stark, and Ann Weiser. Papers from the Ninth Regional Meeting, Chicago Linguistics Society, April 13–15, 1973 (CLS, 9). Chicago: Chicago Linguistics Society. 271–291.Google Scholar
  30. Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson. 2003. Metaphores We Live By. New Edition with a new Afterword. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Legrenzi, Paolo. 2002. Prima lezione di scienze cognitive. Roma-Bari: Laterza.Google Scholar
  32. Lemke, Jay L., and Caspar van Helden. 2009. A tribute to Robert de Beaugrande. Functions of Language 16(1): 1–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Levesque, Hector. 1977. A procedural approach to semantics networks. University of Toronto, Dept. of Computer Science, M.Sc. thesis, Toronto.Google Scholar
  34. Levesque, Hector, and John Mylopoulos. 1979. A procedural semantics for semantic networks. In Associative Networks: Representation and Use of Knowledge by Computers, ed. Nicholas V. Findler, 93–120. New York-San Francisco-London: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mantovani, Giuseppe. 1995. L’interazione uomo-computer. Bologna: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
  36. Marconi, Diego. 1999. La filosofia del linguaggio. Da Frege ai giorni nostri. Torino: UTET.Google Scholar
  37. McCawley, James. 1972. Syntactic and Logical Arguments for Semantic Structures. Bloomington: Indiana University Linguistics Club.Google Scholar
  38. McLuhan, Marshall. 1962. The Gutenberg Galaxy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  39. Meyer, Bonnie. 1977. What is remembered from prose: A function of passage structure. In Discourse Production and Comprehension. Discourse Processes: Advances in Research and Theory, ed. Roy O. Freedle, 307–336. Norwood: Ablex.Google Scholar
  40. Miller, Geraldine, and Philip Johnson-Laird. 1976. Language and Perception. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Minsky, Marvin. 1975. A framework for representing knowledge. In The Psychology of Computer Vision, ed. Patrick Henry Winston, and Berthold Horn, 211–277. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  42. Petöfi, János Sándor. 1976. Some Remarks on the Grammatical Component of an Integrated Semiotic Theory of Texts. Bielefeld: University of Bielefeld.Google Scholar
  43. Petőfi, János Sándor. 2004. Scrittura e interpretazione. Introduzione alla Testologia Semiotica dei testi verbali. Roma: Carocci.Google Scholar
  44. Reichman, Rachel. 1978. Conversational coherency. Cognitive Science 2: 283–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rubin, Andee. 1978. A Theoretical Taxonomy of the Differences between Oral and Written Languange. Cambridge: Bolt, Beranek & Newman.Google Scholar
  46. Rumelhart, David Everett. 1977. Introduction to Human Information Processing. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  47. Schank, Roger, and Robert Abelson. 1977. Scripts, Plans, Goals and Understanding. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  48. Schneider, Peter. 1978. Organization of Knowledge in a Procedural Semantic Network Formalism. Toronto: University of Toronto.Google Scholar
  49. Shannon, Claude, and Werner Weaver. 1949. The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  50. Sprung, Lothar. 1964. Zur Psychologie des Gedächtnisses. Zeitschrift für Psychologie 1: 35–51.Google Scholar
  51. Tabossi, Patrizia. 1998. Intelligenza naturale e intelligenza artificiale. Bologna: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
  52. Traini, Stefano. 2006. Le due vie della semiotica. Teorie strutturali ed interpretative. Milano: Bompiani.Google Scholar
  53. Tulving, Endel, and Wayne Donaldson. 1972. The Organization of Memory. New York-San Francisco-London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  54. van Dijk, Teun Adrianus. 1972. Some Aspects of Text Grammars: A Study in Theoretical Linguistics and Poetics. The Hague: Mouton.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. van Dijk, Teun Adrianus. 1977. Text and Context. London-New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  56. van Dijk, Teun Adrianus, and Walter Kintsch. 1978. Cognitive psychology and discourse: Recalling and summarizing stories. In Current Trend in Text Linguistics, ed. Wolfgang Ulrich Dressler, 61–80. Berlin: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  57. Violi, Patrizia. 1997. Significato ed esperienza. Milano: Bompiani.Google Scholar
  58. Walker, David E. (ed.). 1978. Understanding Spoken Language. New York-Amsterdam: North Holland.Google Scholar
  59. Webber, Bonnie. 1978. A Formal Approach to Discourse Anaphora. Cambridge: Bolt, Beranek & Newman.Google Scholar
  60. Weinrich, Harald. 1972. Thesen zur Textsortenlinguistik. In Textsorten. Differenzierungskriterien aus linguistischer Sicht, ed. Wolfgang Raible, and Elisabeth Gülich, 161–169. Frankfurt am Main: Athenäum.Google Scholar
  61. Winograd, Terry. 1976. Towards a procedural analysis of semantics. Stanford: Stanford University.Google Scholar
  62. Winston, Patrick Henry. 1977. Artificial Intelligence. Reading: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  63. Woods, William. 1970. Transition network grammars for natural language analysis. Communication of Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) 13(10): 591–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wright, Patricia. 1968. Sentence retention and transformation theory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 20(3): 265–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PalermoPalermoItaly

Personalised recommendations