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About Text Analysis and Semantics


What is the content of a text? Or to be more precise: what are the core elements which must be identified in order to grasp the essential meaning of a text?

Whether it is a press article, a book, a speech, or any other sequence of language, every text contains a few key sentences conveying the ideas that make up its framework: its skeletal structure. The problem, then, is to locate this central core of the text that holds the essentials of its meaning. This is the crucial first step, before any attempt at interpretation can be made.

We can say that a text consists of various worlds in which different actors do, form or say various things in combination with other actors. And we can say that these worlds - which are invariably propositional in form - have different levels of importance in the structure of the text. And finally, we can say that some of these worlds - a very small proportion of them - constitute the foundations of the text, in that if they were removed, the "textual construction" would collapse, and the meaning would be lost.

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Content analysis, then, applies a set of techniques to a given text to determine:

To sum up, content analysis consists in revealing the framework of a text, i.e. its meaning. This necessarily implies two things. First, there must be a theoretical conception of the text: this must describe both the textual organization of the things that are said and the structural organization of the thought-processes of the people who say them. Secondly, it implies the use of a tool derived from this theoretical conception and which rigorously excludes the subjectivity of the investigator at least until the analysis is finished.


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