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Textual Analysis

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Essay title: Textual Analysis

In this paper I will be using three texts for comparison and analysis. All three texts share two of the three situational contexts. They share the same field, potty training, and they share the same mode, i.e. all three are written texts. The only difference between the three texts is their tenor. The three texts target very different audiences.

The first text is a children’s book, My Big Girl Potty, and is therefore written so that children will understand and enjoy it. The second text is a parenting guide, The Girlfriends’ Guide to Toddlers, which is more of a conversational piece that is of interest to parents, and the third text is an article from the magazine The Lancet (a publication for the medical field), “Influence of potty training habits on dysfunctional bladder in children.” This article is meant for nurses, and in some cases doctors, to help them explain the importance of early potty training to their patients. I intend to show how, through the specific use of various nouns, pronouns, noun phrases, verbs, verb phrases, and active versus passive voice, these texts use grammar to appeal to their various audiences.

The first distinction that I noticed was in the children’s book. I noticed that it had very few pronouns. The very first line in the book reads, “Ashley is a little just your age” (Cole 1). I think that this is used to say to the child reading it, “This could be you.” Thus, the child would be more inclined to pay attention and carefully listen to what the author is saying. In the passage that I chose from the book Ashley is mentioned by name five times in the ten sentences of the paragraph (Cole 6 & 7). This style keeps the child focused on what the author is saying. Children are notorious for having short attention spans, so if the author wrote “she” in some of the places where she put the name Ashley, the child would be confused about to whom “she” is referring. And, the child would loose interest very quickly.

The medical article uses the same style of including few pronouns as well, but with different effect. In the passage that I chose from the article, there are only two pronouns used in the nine sentences. I believe this is because the subject of the article and the audience are separate entities, so the author of the article cannot address the child or the parents directly. She can only, therefore, refer to these people in the third person limited point of view, so the author must continuously refer to “the child” and “the parents” without the benefit of being able to refer back to them as “he/she,” “they,” or “you” because there are no specific people upon which to base the references.

Conversely, the parenting guide makes use of many pronouns, specifically, “you” and “your” when referring to the parents. This is because the author is speaking directly to the people involved in the process of potty training, but she cannot refer to them by a specific name because it is different for each person reading the book. She is, essentially, having a conversation with the specific person reading the book, so she can speak directly to them and use the pronoun “you” when referring to that person. It is understood by the reader that the author is referring to her/him.

While on the subject of nouns/pronouns, it is interesting to note that the children’s book, since it is geared toward children, uses very basic language. It uses few, and simple, noun phrases. There are only three short noun phrases used in the paragraph, and they are only used as possessives. In sentence 2, the author uses the phrase, “Ashley’s bunny Floppy,” and in sentences 4 and 7 she mentions “Ashley’s diaper” and “Ashley’s daddy” (Cole 6, 7 &8). This simple style is used because children have not yet mastered the complexity of language, but they do understand possession. The idea of “mine” is very obvious to children. They can understand the idea of something belonging to someone, so possessive are the only complex noun phrases used in the text.

The parenting book, on the other hand, uses very complex noun phrases to convey ideas in the text. Iovine uses noun phrases like: sentence 5’s “little Jockeys with fire trucks on them” or sentence 9’s “this tropical island fantasy” and “the seven early warning signs of parental breakdown” (Iovine 136), to show the reader that she has been through this herself. The way that she goes into tremendous detail to describe a very specific item like the Jockeys or the tropical island fantasy, tells the reader know that she know exactly what it is like to try to potty train children because she has done it, and the more specific her details the funnier the story.

But, for the medical magazine the noun phrases are few, much like the children’s book. The medical article only uses a noun phrase

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