Degrees of narrativity and strategies of semantic reduction

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The paper examines strategies of summarization (i.e., semantic reduction) as a function of the type of text summarized. A scale defining degrees of narrativity is empirically established in terms of the type of narrative organization of events. A scalar notion of narrativity reveals that discourses low in narrativity invoke a Generalization procedure when summarized. Highly narrative texts, on the other hand, are shown to undergo Deletion when semantically reduced. Medium narrativity texts are shown to invoke both strategies. Specifically, Non-narrative and Temporally ordered texts are subsumed by a proposition which is not a subset of the original text but a higher order abstraction thereof. By contrast, Action-structured texts are represented by a subset of the original text. Causally organized texts, on the other hand, make use of both strategies and are subsumed by either a Generalization or a proposition which is a subset of the text in question.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-458
Number of pages12
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1994


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