What are similarities and differences between the Declaration of Independence of the United States and that of Vietnam

Much language study has always been devoted to pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary and, as a result, has examined sentences as the largest unit of communication. However, we all know that being able to produce correct sentences is not enough to use a language in communicating suceessfully; we need to grasp a larger unit of communication. Modern linguistic tendency of research focuses on discourse analysis, which is functional analysis of discourse involving the analysis of language in use. Discourse analysis, although a challenge to researchers and learners, has attracted much of their attention. It can be said that discourse analysis touches so many issues of communicating language both in spoken and written form. It can be analyzed in the light of critical discourse analysis where relationship between the power, ideology and language is found, or analyzed to find out linguistic features. However, this thesis will not present the above issues but study a very interesting aspect of discourse, that’s say, the structure of the text. The Declaration of Independence of the United States and that of Vietnam will be chosen as subject of the study. The reason for this choice is that both share the same genre but are written by two different people in two different countries. Moreover, the texts are quite popular with people all over the world.

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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1.1 RATIONALE Much language study has always been devoted to pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary and, as a result, has examined sentences as the largest unit of communication. However, we all know that being able to produce correct sentences is not enough to use a language in communicating suceessfully; we need to grasp a larger unit of communication. Modern linguistic tendency of research focuses on discourse analysis, which is functional analysis of discourse involving the analysis of language in use. Discourse analysis, although a challenge to researchers and learners, has attracted much of their attention. It can be said that discourse analysis touches so many issues of communicating language both in spoken and written form. It can be analyzed in the light of critical discourse analysis where relationship between the power, ideology and language is found, or analyzed to find out linguistic features. However, this thesis will not present the above issues but study a very interesting aspect of discourse, that’s say, the structure of the text. The Declaration of Independence of the United States and that of Vietnam will be chosen as subject of the study. The reason for this choice is that both share the same genre but are written by two different people in two different countries. Moreover, the texts are quite popular with people all over the world. 1.2 AIMS OF THE STUDY The aim of this paper is: +) to explore discourse structure of both Declarations (the textual organisation of every Declaration, relationship among factors proposed by Man and Thompson, 1983) +) to find distinction between the two Declarations (in terms of discourse structure). In order to realize these aims, the study purports to answer the following the research questions: 1/ what is the discourse structure of the Declaration of Independence of the Untied States? 2/ What is the discourse structure of the Declaration of Independence of Vietnam? 3/ What are similarities and differences between the Declaration of Independence of the United States and that of Vietnam? 1.3 SCOPE OF THE STUDY As implied by the title of the study, this analysis only deals with the discourse structure of two Declarations. Therefore, linguistic and stylistic features were ignored though they are important in the discourse. I particularly examined how relations among the factors suggested by Man and Thompson are organized in its network instead. 1.4 METHODS OF THE STUDY I choose an integrated discipline and analytical approach as it grants permission to my attainment of the aims. This characteristic is in accord with my general research aim. Additionally, books and studies on Discourse Structure were collected and studied thoroughly to make theoretical background of the research. In this stage, special attention was paid to the discourse structure of every genre, especially persuasive discourse one. On the basis of this, the researcher took those that were most suitable for the analysis and then decided on my own method of research. Lastly, the two discourses were read comprehensively to find out what factors were used in each part of the Declaration and how these factors were related to each other in structuring the texts. Besides, some necessary comments on similarities and differences would be accordingly made. To achieve these goals, these successive methods would be chosen for the better research results. They are analytical, descriptive and comparative. General research methodology adopted in the study is inductive in the sense that relevant factors were respectively found out and then the typical structure model of every Declaration were drawn upon. 1.5 DESIGN OF THE STUDY The thesis is comprised of 5 chapters. Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 are Introduction and Literature Review explaining about the purposes and reasons of the topic choosing; aims; scope; methods and theoretical background of the study. They are usually necessary parts of every paper. Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 explore the discourse structure of Independent Declaration of the U.S.A and that of Vietnam respectively. There should be a separate Chapter – Chapter 5 – for comparison, where findings of similarities and differences between the two are noted. Chapter 6, as final chapter, functions to summarize major findings and gives some concluding remarks of the study. The diagrams of typical structure of Independent Declaration of the U.S.A and that of Vietnam are drawn at the end of each chapter of analysis for readers to have an overall look on. These two Declarations are enclosed in the Appendix. It would be good for the readers to read through full original English and Vietnamese versions of these documents. CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Discourse and Discourse Structure 2.1.1 Discourse There have been so far many concepts around the two terms TEXT and DISCOURSE. While some linguists appear to use the terms interchangeably, for instance, Halliday used “text” to refer to discourse, or “a semantic unit”, others try to make a clear distinction between them. Being typical of this tendency is David Nunan. He has clarified the two terms in a very clear definition as follows: TEXT is “to refer to any written record of communicative event. The event itself may involve oral language (for example, a sermon, a casual conversation, a shopping transaction) or written language (for example, a poem, a newspaper advertisement, a wall poster, a shopping list, a novel)” DISCOURSE is “to refer to the interpretation of the communicative event in context”(1993:6) Accordingly, Brown and Yule argue that text is the representation of discourse and the verbal record of a communicative act. It seems that Blass, R shares the same view as these linguists when he says that I intend to use DISCOURSE as a general term to refer to all acts of verbal communication, and to reserve the term TEXT for the “explicit”, or “recorded part” of discourse. Thus, text is a purely linguistic, formal object, whereas discourse has both linguistic and non-linguistic properties (Blass, R, 1990: 10). For some other linguists, “text” is used for writing and “discourse” for speech. This distinction apparently leads to the distinction between Discourse Analysis (D.A) and Text Analysis (T.A). According to Nunan (1993:7), D.A involves the study or analysis of language in use within context whereas T.A is concerned with an analysis of the structural properties of language divorced from their communicative functions. In Blass (1990:12)’s words, the goal of D.A is tracing the hearer’s route in the interpretation of the speaker’s intention. In this thesis, the term TEXT is referred to any written record of communicative event and regarded as the product of DISCOURSE. Therefore, the study does involve a great deal of consideration of how the discourse is produced. 2.1.2 Discourse Structure 2.1.2.1 The concept of Discourse Structure Discourse structure (DS) is more difficult to define. We are taking DS broadly, to cover all aspects of the internal organizational structure of a discourse. The concept of D.S has been studied and expanded in the theory of discourse analysis with a variety of terms by different researchers. Halliday and Hasan (1976:324) uses the term “macro-structure” to refer to the overall global meanings, or the schematic organization of the discourse or conversation as a whole, usually also described in terms of topic, gist or upshot. Rosalind Horowwitz (1977:124) proposes using the term “rhetoric structure”, which is high-level organization pattern of information order in text. Meanwhile, Ross sees the text structure in the light of pragmatics. He says that text structure is merely “expectation structures”. However, though the terms used are different and stem from different schools of ideas, they are essentially the same. They try to establish the relationship between D.S and the purpose or implication of the speakers, and finally, they give out the method of analyzing D.S based on the relationship of the factors of discourse. The relations between information in the discourse and the intentions of the user help us to infer a hierarchical structure of discourse. Basically, researchers admitted that texts, in spite of their confusing look, have their own structure. 2.1.2.2 Approaches to an analysis of discourse structure My objective in this section is to review ways of analyzing structure of text: Rhetorical genre analysis and Rhetorical structure theory. The two types of analysis share some of their goals (discovering the structure) and differ in others (whether the analysis should centre on the intentions and goals of authors and readers…) 2.1.2.2.1 Rhetorical genre analysis The issue of discourse structure is closely related to the phenomenon commonly known as genre. Each genre has a slightly different structure. Basically, genre can be narrative, descriptive, procedural and argumentative discourse, which are the types most frequently presented in language arts. In this section, I pay special attention to argumentative discourse because it fits the text in this work. Argumentation theory or argumentation exists from way before the 19th century, where the Aristotle’s logical theory is found first. This indicates that argumentation was an important factor already in society. An argument occurs when the author of the argument attempts to convince certain his/her audience to do or believe something by an appeal to reasons, or evidence. The propositions which are used in offering evidence in support of that claim are the argument’s premises. By contrast, the proposition that an author supports by an appeal to evidence, on a particular occasion, is the argument’s conclusion. Finally, the goal of argumentation is to justify one’s standpoint or to refute someone else’s. It is concerned primarily with reaching conclusions through logical reasoning, that is, claims based on premises. 2.1.2.2.2 Rhetorical structure theory Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST) is a theory of text organization described by Mann and Thompson (1983) which is about how text works and how coherence in text is achieved. It is one theory of discourse structure, based on identifying relations between segments of the text. RST addresses text organization by means of relations that hold between parts of a text. It explains coherence by postulating hierarchical, connected structure of texts, in which every part of a text has a role, a function to play, with respect to other parts in the text. According to RST, relations can be identified on more than one level. RST establishes two different types of units. Nuclei are considered as the most important parts of a text whereas satellites contribute to the nuclei and are secondary. Elaboration Circumstance Solutionhood Cause cluster Condition Otherwise Interpretation Evaluation Restatement Summary Sequence Contrast In this work, the discourses are analyzed based on this theory aiming to find out how two texts are structured in a network of relations. To show relations in a more formal way, it is suggested that the sentences or the propositions in the text should be numbered and then use diagrams to show how the nucleus and satellite are connected as spans of the text. An arc with the relation name connects the underlined spans of the text. The numbers stand for the sentences and propositions identified in the figures. For example, the U.S discourse is numbered from s1 to s37 and the Vietnamese one numbered from s1 to s43. Each of these text span is then connected to other spans until the set contains one final span for the entire text. Therefore, the analysis covers all the relations among all the clauses in the text in a way that shows how coherence is established by the author and hopefully, is discovered by the readers. Non-volitional cause Volitional cause Non-volitional result Volitional result Purpose Subject matter Motivation Evidence Eaboration Justify Concession Background RST relations Presentation Figure 1: Model on relations by Man and Thompson (1983) 2.2 Coherence It can be said that coherence is the core of discourse analysis. Nguyen Thien Giap (2000: 192) states: “The thing that turns a product of language into a discourse or text is merely coherence”. Coherence is made not only by cohesive devices but structure of the text, or the way of organizing of a discourse. Thus, discourse structure is also a basic and vital means of creating text coherence. The structure of discourse seen to include two aspects that are closely related to each other is the way of organizing and coherence. Do Huu Chau gives his comments that the arrangement of nuclei in the text is called its layout and is constructed into a certain order. And the order of construction is an expression of content relations in that text. Additionally, Cook, G (1989) says that, the quality of being meaningful and unified is known as coherence. It is a quality which is clearly necessary for communication and therefore for foreign language learning. And it is structural unity that contributes to make the text more and more coherent. 2.3 Thematisation. According to Ng. Hoa (2000), thematisation is a discoursal process completing two functions: i) to connect back and link into the previous discourse, maintaining a coherent view, and ii) serve as a point of departure for further development of the discourse. What the speaker puts first, or thematises will have an influence on the way we interpret discourse. Thus, a title will influence the interpretation of the text which follows it. A more general, more inclusive term than thematisation is staging. Clements (1979: 287) suggests: “staging is a dimension of prose structure which identifies the relative prominent given to various segments of prose discourse.” The notion of relative prominent has led many researchers, especially psycholinguistics, to consider staging as a crucial factor in discourse structure because they believe, the way a piece of discourse is staged, must have a significant effect both on the process of interpretation and on the process of subsequent recall. Thus, thematisation is the process of giving prominence to certain elements in a sentence or utterance by placing theme at the beginning of the sentence or utterance. CHAPTER 3: AN ANALYSIS ON DISCOURSE STRUCTURE OF DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OF THE UNITED STATES 3.1 Socio-political background leading to the birth of Declaration of Independence of the United States The American Revolution began in 1763, when the French military threat to British North American colonies ended. Adopting the view that the colonies should pay a substantial portion of the costs associated with keeping them in the Empire, Britain imposed a series of taxes followed by other laws that proved extremely unpopular. Because the colonies lacked elected representation in the governing British Parliament many colonists considered the laws to be illegitimate and a violation of their rights as Englishmen. Beginning in 1772, Patriot groups began to create committees of correspondence which would lead to their own Provincial Congress in each of most of the colonies. In the course of a few years, the Provincial Congresses or their equivalents effectively replaced the British ruling apparatus in the former colonies, culminating in the unifying Continental Congress. In 1776, representatives of the Thirteen Colonies voted unanimously to adopt a Declaration of Independence, by which they established the United States. By June 7, 1776, events had progressed to a point that Richard Henry Lee, a delegate from Virginia, made a motion to dissolve all ties to Great Britain and declare independence. After the motion passed, the Continental Congress appointed a committee comprised of five men John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman, to draft a Declaration of Independence. That committee subsequently assigned Thomas Jefferson the task of producing a draft document for its consideration. Some minor changes were suggested by Franklin and Adams, and these were incorporated in the document. Congress also made a few alterations.³ But the finished work was substantially what Jefferson had presented to the committee. Congress acted quickly once the Lee resolution came before it again on July 1. The next day it was approved unanimously by 12 colonies, though the New York delegation abstained. And then — on the July 4 date which was to be celebrated by posterity — Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. 3.2 An analysis of the structure of the Declaration of Independence of the United States. In the light of rhetorical analysis, the Declaration of Independence is written in the form of an argument. It begins with a statement of premises and assumptions, and then lists evidence to support those premises in the series of claims beginning with "He" (in reference to King George of England). Having asserted its premises and itemized its evidence, the Declaration then proceeds to draw its conclusion, introduced by that clearest of conclusion indicators, "therefore." However, in the process of studying structure of both Declarations, theory of text structure (RST) will be applied. First and foremost, in terms of layout, the Declaration can be structured into the following three parts: The Beginning part is comprised of the first two paragraphs, of which the first is a preamble, which explains the reasons for the second that states theoretical justification of revolution and independence. The Body part is an enumeration of the abuses suffered at the hands of the British, organized into two different sub - sections labeled as follows: (1) The Indictment of the King George III; (2) The colonist’s active attempt and the British brethren’s uninterested respond. The Conclusion part is an actual Declaration - the legal part of the document. It is that paragraph by which each of the thirteen original States assumed its independence. First of all, let’s look at the title of the Declaration 3.2.1 The title of the Declaration The title is the initial signal in a discourse that introduces the discourse content to readers. To uncover the macrostructure of the Declaration, first we would look at it “In Congress, 4, July, 1776. The unanimous declaration of the thirteen united States of America”. The title answers such questions as what it is about, who it says about, when and where it happens. As implied by the title, this is a declarative speech about independence of thirteen colonies in the North America agreed by the Continental Congress on 4, July, 1776. The location “In Congress” printed on the first line of the discourse shows the place where it was written and also refers to the right authoritative agency. What follows is the precise point of time on which the Declaration was issued. Then, a short and bold-printed subject title of discourse with smaller letters appears and briefly introduces the topic of the whole discourse. The subject title is in the form of noun phrase with only nine words. According to Ng. Hoa’s (2003) statistics, using nominalization for the title takes up 50.4% among political discourse. This accounts for the preference of the written discourse. Additionally, employing formal words with no burden of two or more meanings helps make the title clear, concise, yet informative of the discourse content. 3.2.2 The Beginning part 3.2.2.1 The preamble The preamble is where the author gives list of reasons for making a document. A preamble can be defined to be an introductory statement or preliminary explanation as to the purpose of the document and the principles behind its philosophy. Hence, the preamble functions to list the writer’s goals. In this Declaration, the preamble unexceptionally stays that function. T
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