Jordan, Mike
Queen's University

Mike Jordan
McLaughlin Hall
Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6

Strand: Discourse English


This corpus-based study parallels recent analyses of the Cause-Effect and Purpose-Means relations to complete the signalling devices of the logical meanings in English texts.

The three logical pairs are compared, with B-A being defined as evidence, grounds or reason as the basis for considered judgement, asssessment or decision. Based on this criterion of meaning, signalling that might appear as Cause-Effect (e.g. "As a result") is often seen to be B-A - and vice versa. Enablement is viewed as a special logical/modal relation.

Indications of B-A within the basic clause are first examined, with the Basis as subject, the Assessment as object, and the signal of the relation as the verb; this corresponds with established Causer and Agent analysis for the Cause-Effect relation. The B-A relation is also shown within complex nominals, which are viewed as rank-shifted clauses of the type Basis-signal-Assessment.

The B-A connections between clauses by subordination and co-ordination are extended into relations between sentences and paragraphs. The many ways of signalling the relation between different parts of text are noted, and the B-A relation is shown to exist between any two coherent stretches of text.

Like the Cause-Effect relation, B-A connections are shown to exist without overt linguistic signaling, and some attempt is made to recognize paralinguistic and extra-linguistic signals of the relation. A brief analysis of cartoons shows facial expressions, body language and textual juxtaposition as indicators of this relation.

Unlike Cause-Effect, however, B-A relations are shown to exist between two textual elements that are significantly remote from each other. In addition, some of the complexities of B-A pairings in texts are demonstrated as complex structures within and among sentences, both as B-A connections on their own and also with the other logical relations.