Prototypicity and textual analysis

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This paper, based on the Socio-Discursive Interactionism theoretical epistemological framework, aims at showing the importance of the notion of prototypicity to analyse texts that circulate in society. Regarding theoretical concepts, we consider, firstly, that texts are global communicative units that always interact with the social practice where they are integrated; consequently their textual linguistic materialisation depends on the language activity in which they are situated. Secondly, texts are obviously linked to a textual genre which has unique and generic aspects constantly interacting with each other. By considering these aspects, we can see how the notion of family resemblance or family airs related to that of prototypicity can give us leads to define a textual analysis methodology that takes into account the complexity of the text as our object of analysis. In order to prove the importance of the prototypicity to analyse texts we have chosen two representative texts of two textual persuasive genres: one editorial and one political poster that were circulated in Portugal in March 2002, at the time of the elections for the Portuguese Prime Minister. Our study provides evidence that a text has singular characteristics, but it also has generic ones related to genre aspects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-44
Number of pages14
JournalBelgian Journal of Linguistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • text genres
  • socio-discursive interactionism
  • prototypicity
  • persuasive genres
  • political posters
  • editorials


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