Text As A New Meaning

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Text as a new meaning- what do we think about when we hear the word “Text” ? Some may think of the word as sending a message over the phone to a friend or family member. Additionally, it is usually seen as a written literary language or even something we learn in elementary school. Merriam Webster gives the most simple definition: ” the original words and form of a written or printed work.” Is this word as simple as we believe it to be though? In the world of rhetoric and theory this simple term has opened into a broader world, giving more depth to the term. Beaugrande and Wolfgang Dresser approach to the word “Text” as something not as simple as we may be.

Rhetoric Text, A New Meaning?

Lets look at text as a new meaning… Rhetoric as Text. How can that be? Diving into the word text, we can refer it as digital text or even a form of technology. Text is also rhetoric, believe it or not.  In terms of a rhetoric, “text” it is  any form of communication that humans create. Whenever humans engage in any act of communication, a text serves as the vehicle for communication. Focusing on Robert Beaugrandes and Wolfgang Dressers we can begin to unfold the multiple layers the word “Text” as it is a communicative event. As an example, ” it meets seven specific criteria of textuality: cohesion, coherence, intentionality, acceptability, informality, situationality, and inter- textuality.” These seven specific criteria listed are ways we can perceive, write and understand how text works, and as communicative people, this is important.

Text not only is a form of rhetoric that can be studied, it also is a part of Digital Text. “While it is a given that text is itself a technology, the affordances of digital production are leading to the development of textual forms that synthesize and enact multiple technologies and media, expanding the notion of text”  ( Stephen Mailloux, 02) As technology arises in our world, text has become a part of the digital atmosphere as well. It adds a broader definition including a location-aware, environment-aware, self-logging, and self-documenting. This allows us to use text as a communicative tool in a larger way, connecting and strengthening communicative forms.


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