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Rhetorical Structure Theory: A Framework for the Analysis of Texts

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000128673D
Original Publication Date: 1987-Dec-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Sep-16
Document File: 15 page(s) / 47K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

William C. Mann: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

1 2 Rhetorical Structure Theory 1 2.1 Overview of a Theory of Text Organization 1 2.2 An Informal View of the Mechanisms of RST 3 2.2.1 Text Structures and RS Schemas 3 2.2.2 The Content of Relation Definitions 10 2.2.3 Other Relation Definitions 12 2.3 RST Analysis of a Longer Text 15 2.4 Implications of the Findings of Descriptive RST 16 2.4.1 The Nucleus-Satellite Distinction 17 2.4.2 Relating Text Structure to Functions and Goals 18 2.4.3 Hierarchical Organization 18 2.4.4 Other Studies 19 3 Conclusions 19

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Rhetorical Structure Theory: A Framework for the Analysis of Texts

William C. Mann Sandra A. Thompson

!Sl Reprint Series This report is one in a series of reprints of articles and papers written by ISI research staff and published in professional journals and conference proceedings. For a complete list of ISI reports, write to

Document Distribution USC/Information Sciences Institute

4676 Admiralty Way Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6695 USA

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1 2 Rhetorical Structure Theory 1 2.1 Overview of a Theory of Text Organization 1 2.2 An Informal View of the Mechanisms of RST 3 2.2.1 Text Structures and RS Schemas 3
2.2.2 The Content of Relation Definitions 10 2.2.3 Other Relation Definitions 12 2.3 RST Analysis of a Longer Text 15 2.4 Implications of the Findings of Descriptive RST 16 2.4.1 The Nucleus-Satellite Distinction 17 2.4.2 Relating Text Structure to Functions and Goals 18 2.4.3 Hierarchical Organization 18 2.4.4 Other Studies 19

3 Conclusions 19

List of Figures

Figure 1: RST Analysis of the "Floppy Drive Heads" Text 5 Figure 2: RST Analysis of the "Resource Guide" Text 7 Figure 3: MOTIVATION/ENABLEMENT RS Schema 7 Figure 4: RST Analysis of the "Staff Breakfast" Text 9 Figure 5: RST Analysis of the "Car Repair" Text 10 Figure 6: RST Analysis of the "Memorex" Text 11 Figure 7: JOINT RS Schema 15 Figure 8: RST Analysis of the "Bouquets in a Basket" Text 17 Figure 9: RST diagram for "Tech Reports" Text Rhetorical Structure Theory: A Framework for the Analysis of Texts

Sandra A. Thompson William C. Mann UC Santa Barbara USC/Information Sciences Institute

1 Introduction

Our purpose in this paper is to informally outline an approach to the study of text organization and to demonstrate how this approach can be used to describe the structure of short edited texts in English.' This research thus falls squarely into the area of pragmatics as broadly defined: it considers analyses of texts to crucially involve an account of the interaction between writers and readers.

2 Rhetorical Structure Theory

University of Southern California Page 1 Dec 31, 1987

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Rhetorical Structure Theory: A Framework for the Analysis of Texts

2.1 Overview of a Theory of Text Organization

We assume that a theory of text organization should account not only for the kinds of parts in a text, the arrangements of the parts, and the way they are connected to form a whole text, but should also provide a natural descriptive account of any particular text.

The Rhetorical Structure Theory of text organization was designed to provide such an account by revealing the functional hierarchical relationships in short texts.

Our interest has been to develop a theory to help us understand texts as instruments of communication. We have been developing RST, with valuable input from Christian Matthiessen, Cecilia Ford, and Barbara Fox, at the USC Information Sciences Institute (ISI) in...