Words, grammar, text: revisiting the work of John Sinclair
  • ISSN 1384-6655
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9811
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In this essay I celebrate and interrogate John Sinclair’s seminal paper, ‘Trust the text’, a paper in which several radically new ideas about the role of prospection and encapsulation in the reader’s processing of text are outlined. I mention some of the ways in which trust is fundamental to matters of language and cooperative communication, but also try to enlarge on what I think Sinclair has in mind. In reading on (and not re-reading), as we nearly always do when confronted with text, we are trusting the text in a more particular way, trusting it to have been composed in such a way that what follows will answer or complete what has gone before. This text-trust is perhaps the most fundamental structuring principle in written discourse, and mostly we apply it unwittingly; Sinclair’s paper broaches some lines of enquiry by which linguists might develop a fuller explanation of it.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): encapsualation; prospection; temporality; textual progression
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