1. As stated in I.17ff., we use the term informativity to designate the extent to which a presentation is new or unexpected for the receivers. Usually, the notion is applied to content; but occurrences in any language subsystem might be informative. The emphasis on content arises from the dominant role of coherence in textuality (as depicted in Chapter V), while language systems like phonemes or syntax seem subsidiary or auxiliary and hence less often in the direct focus of attention. Here, attention could be defined as noticing something through an expenditure of processing resources that restricts the potential for other tasks at the same time (Keele 1973). Hence, if attention is focused on the coherence of concepts and relations, other systems are not given prominence unless deliberately handled in noticeably non-expected ways. For example, some trends in twentieth-century poetry involve bizarre configurations of sounds that do not form known words, e.g. Emst Jandl’s:1
 la zeechn u bapp iileo zunggi
Since coherence cannot be imposed, attention is free to dwell upon the sounds as such and set up unconfirmable hypotheses about possible senses (e.g. ‘die Zunge bappt beim Zechen’, the tongue get sticky while boozing). Syntax can also be focused by a markedly non-ordinary sequence such as God’s command that His angels obey Christ in Paradise Lost (V 611-12):
 Him who disobeys, me disobeys.
In exchange, the content of  is quite straightforward (cf. VII.6).
2. Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver (1949) set forth an information theory based primarily on the notion of statistical probability. The greater the number of possible alternatives at a given point, the higher will be the information value when one of them is chosen. The most precise method for deciding what alternatives can appear is to look at all available sequences of the language and count up all occurrences of a pair of elements, say X followed by Y. If we then consider all occasions where X is followed by something else, we have the “transition probability” for X going to Y (i.e. the likelihood that the “state X” will or will not pass over into the “state Y”). A sequence constituted according to these item-to-item transitions is called a markov chain.
3. It is fairly well agreed that this model of statistical probability is not applicable as such to natural language communication. It is out of the question to count up all the sequences of a language like English. Even if it were not, the occurrence of most elements depends on factors other than the occurrence of an element just before. We saw in IV.7ff, for example, that grammatical dependencies often extend over expressions not located next to each other. And the statistical approach ignores the sense and purpose of texts in discourse.
4. Despite these reservations, realistic theories and models of texts in use still need to retain the notion of probability. We have repeatedly appealed to such notions as “expectations”, “hypotheses”, “defaults”, “preferences”, and “predictions” as important controls upon what occurs in texts. For instance, the transition NETWORKS used to represent syntax in IV.5ff and conceptual relations in V.29ff work on the principle that certain linkages are more probable than others and hence worth trying out in a certain order. The use of plans in discourse similarly requires the planner to maintain a model of current and future situations, and to design contingencies accordingly (cf. VIII.1). 5. The decisive step would be to replace the notion of statistical probability with that of contextual probability. The crucial consideration is then not how often things occur together in any absolute frequency, but rather what classes of occurrences are more or less likely under the influence of systematic constellations of current factors. Quite possibly, a statistically rare configuration of surface expressions, underlying concepts, or plan steps, might be highly probable under appropriate conditions. At least, it seems safe to conclude that the contextual probabilities are different in strength for the different elements in the text (cf. Miller 1951; Shannon 1951; Sprung 1964). The question of how the various language systems interact to determine these probabilities is much less straightforward, and has not been well explored.
6. For one thing, the strength of probability might well be unequal in the several systems. A sequence might be composed of syntactically probable elements (hence, having low informativity in its cohesion) but conceptually improbable ones (hence, having high informativity in its coherence) (cf. Hess 1965). For instance, a sequence such as (Macbeth V v 22):
 All our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death
is conventional in cohesion, but unique in coherence, as contrasted with an ordinary statement in the same syntactic format:
[117a] All our western agencies have guided tours to dusty Death Valley.
In return, a sequence such as Milton’s line already cited (Vil.1):
 Him who disobeys, me disobeys.
is ordinary in its coherence, but non-ordinary in its cohesion, as opposed to an everyday rearrangement like this:
[116a] Whoever disobeys him is disobeying me.
Ordinariness supports easy processing, while non-ordinariness renders processing an interesting challenge.
7. It seems unlikely that extremely exact numerical values can or should be assigned to each occurrence on every level. More plausible would be the assumption of a range of general probabilities, that is, measurements of higher or lower on an approximate scale. For the time being at least, we might be content with a range of three orders of informativity, each sufficiently broad that human language users might be able to distinguish them during actual communication. If each occurrence is being selected from a fuzzy set of options, we might divide the range into: (a) upper degree, (b) lower degree, and (c) apparently outside the set altogether.
8. The occurrence of an option in the upper range of probability, i.e., apperceptibly among the most likely candidates, would convey first-order informativity. An extreme illustration is the ‘stop’-text found on a road sign: it is fully predictable in cohesion, coherence, and planning, the situation of occurrence is usually obvious, and the sign itself even has a unique shape and colour recognizable at considerable distance. Maximal predictability is motivated here in order to keep the motorists’ attention free for current traffic conditions (cf. 1.20).
9. First-order occurrences are rather trivial, that is, so well integrated into a system or setting that they receive very slight attention in the sense of VII.1. In English, the so-called function words (articles, prepositions, and conjunctions), all of which signal relations rather than content,2 are usually so trivial that even frequent occurrences of them in a single text are hardly noticed. The slots where function words appear in a sequence are by and large well-defined. These considerations would have major implications for active processing. Function words are often pronounced so indistinctly that they would hardly be identifiable out of context (cf. Woods & Makhoul 1973). Clark and Clark (1977: 275) suggest that, during text production, function words are selected only after content-conveying words (“content words”). In text reception, people might skip over function words and piece content words together in a kind of “fuzzy parsing”.3 Text types requiring extreme economy, e.g. telegrams or road signs, often dispense with function words. It has been observed that aphasia (loss of language ability through brain disturbance) can lead its victims to omit function words in speaking (Goodglass & Blumstein 1973).
10. Content words, on the other hand, would generally be more informative. There is, for one thing, a much larger set to choose from than for function words (cf. the “statistical probability” cited in VII. 2). Content words activate more extensive and diverse cognitive materials (cf. V.8), and can elicit more pronounced emotions or mental images than can function words. However, a text producer might alter or reverse the normal roles of these two word types. For example, the function words may be themselves ordinary, but still occur in very non-ordinary slots:
 wish by spirit and if by yes (e.e. cummings 1972)
 long along the in and out of grey car (Myra Cohn Livingston 1972)
the placement of such function words as ‘if ‘ in  and ‘in’ and ‘out’ in  creates a focus of attention in which special content can be assigned, e.g. ‘if’ as ‘possibility’ and ‘in’ and ‘out’ as ‘entry’ and ‘exit’, respectively. It is no coincidence that we usually use content words to expound the role of function words in cases like these.
11. First-order informativity would always be present in any text, whether or not higher orders were attained. Any occurrence, no matter how trivial, represents the rejection of non-occurrence as an alternative. Moreover, every occurrence must have the property of being the same or different as the preceding occurrence in that same system (cf. Weinrich (1972), who shows that sameness between grammatical occurrences in sequence is more common than difference).4 The simple oppositions of occurrence/non-occurrence and sameness/ difference are in themselves quite trivial, though special focus may be created by breaking a repeated pattern. Many humans evidently subscribe to the so-called gambler’s fallacy of expecting a series of the same occurrence to be broken fairly soon (cf. Kintsch 1977a: 91f).
12. The standard procedures applied to first-order occur-rences in communication would be defaults (operations or selections assumed to be stipulated in absence of contrary indicators) and preferences (operations or selections routinely favoured over competing alternatives) (cf. III.18). These procedures minimize processing load, so that attention is reserved for higher-order occurrences. When defaults or preferences are overridden, i.e., when occurrences are below the upper range of probability, we obtain second-order informativity. The presence of at least some second-order occurrences would be the normal standard for textual communication, since texts purely on the first order would be difficult to construct and extremely uninteresting. Upon occasion, first-order occurrences could be upgraded and third-order ones Downgraded to keep this medium order, as we shall see presently (cf. VII 13 ff.)
13. Occurrences which at first appear to be outside the set of more or less probable options Convey third-order informativity. These are comparatively infrequent occurrences which demand much attention and processing resources, but which are, in return, more interesting.5 Discontinuities, where material seems to be missing from a configuration, and discrepancies, where text-presented patterns don’t match patterns of stored knowledge, would be the usual kinds of third-order occurrences. The text receiver must do A motivation search—a special case of problem-solving to find out what these occurrences signify, why they were selected, and how they can be integrated back into the continuity that is the basis of communication (cf. III.14). In effect, a successful search will show that the occurrence in question was within the range of options after all, though accessible only via some mediation. Accordingly, the search has downgraded the third-order occurrence into the second order. Downgrading could have several directionalities. If text receivers go back to find motivation in earlier occurrences, they are doing backward downgrading. If they wait to consider later occurrences, they are doing forward downgrading. If they move outside the current text or discourse, they are doing outward downgrading. The same distinction can be made for upgrading.
14. Such processing may well extend far beyond textual communication and apply to the human reaction to the world at large. As normal people, we would be astonished to receive a cheque in the mail for an enormous sum of money. We might think back if we had purchased a sweepstake ticket or the like (backward downgrading); we might wait to see if some notification will follow with an explanation (forward downgrading); or we might suppose that a mistake has happened with money intended for another person or purpose (outward downgrading). If none of these tactics downgrades the event, we will simply not be able to understand it. Senselessness (or nonsense) results from lack of continuity between an occurrence and the rest or our knowledge and experience, and is doubtless hard to tolerate (cf. V. 2, ).1 5. The degree to which a third-order occurrence is actually disturbing would depend on the strfngth of linkage affected (cf. V.5). An occurrence that ran counter to determinate knowledge would be more disorienting than one that ran counter to typical; and a violation of typical knowledge would be more disturbing than that of accidental. In these well known lines (Carroll 1960: 234):
 Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn’t any feet.
the effect derives from the determinate knowledge that shoes must be worn on the feet. The presentation is motivated here by the intention to describe the young oysters in terms of human children on a holiday. If they had in fact been human children. their condition would not have been so ‘odd’, since the state of the coats, faces, and shoes belonging to humans is purely accidental knowledge.
16. In I.18, we cited the following as a disturbing stretch of text:
 The sea is water
Apparently, determinate knowledge about the substance of the sea—it simply couldn’t be the sea if not made of water—is being presented to no purpose. The text producer himself upgrades this first-order occurrence when he claims later on that the sea is ‘actually’ a ‘solution of gases and salts’ (cf. [15a] in I.18). The producer might have started out this way instead:
[15b] The sea is not water. It is actually a solution of gases and salts.
Then, the receiver is met right away with a third-order occurrence which can be easily integrated by forward downgrading. In both cases [15a] and [15b], the opening of the text creates an unstable information state6 which is presumably uncomfortable for the receiver. The regulative release from such a state is a prime illustration of how communication represents the continual removal and restoration of stability (cf. III.15).
17. There must be a processing disposition which prevents text users from uncovering or accepting highly bizarre alternative readings of a single text. The example of Schank and Wilensky (1977: 141).
 Time flies like an arrow.
might be assigned various alternative readings beyond the obvious statement that time flies swiftly, e.g.: (a) someone is being ordered to measure the speed of flies in an arrow-like manner, or (b) a particular, oddly-named species of flies is fond of arrows. Yet either alternative would be of the third order, so that people would not be disposed to even consider them. At the other extreme of the informativity scale, a first-order reading of a line from a poem (‘Richard Cory’ by Edward Arlington Robinson (1914: 35)) is hardly likely to occur to receivers:
 And he was always human when he talked
Obviously, Mr Cory would belong determinately to the class of ‘humans’, and humans are the only ones likely to be ‘talking’ in this poem; informativity rises if Mr Cory is set so far apart from humans that his acting in a human manner is unexpected here. We argued on similar grounds in IV 3 I that a first-order reading of the headline:
 San Juan Gunfire Kills One
wherein it is simply announced that gunfire is fatal in this particular town, will go unnoticed by the normal reader.
18. Contextual probability, even for this modest three value scale, is a complex amalgam of factors. We might distinguish a progression of steadily more specialized human expectations applying in various degrees during communication (cf. Beaugrande 1978b):
18.1 The socially dominant model of the human situation and its environment constitutes what is commonly called the real world. Propositions held to be true in that world (i.e. to match their organization with its own above a certain threshold) would be facts (cf. van Dijk 1978). The facts which a person or group consider to be generally applicable to some “real” or recoverable situation or event constitute their beliefs. The “real world” is accordingly the privileged source of beliefs underlying textual communication. Of course, we can produce and receive many texts which are not factual in this way; but we still tend to use the “real” world as our point of orientation. Some “facts” are so firmly entrenched in our manner of thinking that they act as defaults for any textual world that might be presented: that causes have effects; that something cannot be both true and false, or existent and non-existent, at the same instant and under the same circumstances; that objects have identity, mass, and weight; and so forth. Should any such facts be violated in a textual world, there must be explicit, unmistakable signals. Even the less extreme case where shoes are worn without feet elicits Carroll’s playful remark that ‘this was odd’ in sample . The production and reception of a lengthy text in whose world cause and effect were suspended might prove not to be feasible, at least in English.
18.2 Humans seem to apply consistent strategies of apperceiving and arranging the real world, lest complexity become overwhelming. Humans do not experience the world as a bombardment of individual stimuli; they integrate their sensations into a model of the world via a “highly skilled act of attention” (Miller & Johnson-Laird 1976: 29). Whatever knowledge is acquired is continually used as a bridge to annex further knowledge. We described in V. 16, for instance, the use of global patterns such as frames, schemas, plans, and scripts for matching, integrating, and controlling large amounts of current material. IS.7 In addition, there is some evidence of normal ordering strategies for apperceiving and talking about the world (real or imaginary). If asked to monitor a visual scene (cf. VIII.1), people tended to move from the top downward (DeSoto, London & Handel 1965; Clark & Chase 1974). In describing their own apartments, people mentally walked through them, mentioning each room in the order it would have been seen or entered; they placed major rooms more often in expressions filling the subject slot of sentences, whereas minor rooms were more often expressed in predicates (Linde & Labov 1975). Mobile objects tended to be mentioned via grammatical subjects more often than stationary ones in the same scene (Osgood 1971). Focus of attention on the agent as opposed to the affected entity of events has been found to correlate with preferences for active versus passive sentence formats (Olson & Filby 1972). Event sequences are normally recounted in the same temporal order in which they happened (Labov & Waletzky 1967; Clark & Clark 1968). All these tendencies are only preferences (cf. VII.12), however, and can be modified in appropriate contexts, especially if signals to that effect accompany the presentation.8
18.3 The second source of expectations is the organization of the language to be used in a text. In a language such as English, many conventions for combining forms are arbitrary; that is, the organization of events and situations is not reflected directly in the organization of language (but cf. VII.18.2). Arbitrary conventions impel speakers to consider certain sound clusters unpronounceable because their language lacks them. Speakers of English, for example, would not try to pronounce clusters like ‘Ltd’, ‘bbl’, ‘FBI’, or ‘lb’ as written, but would at once recognize them as abbreviations of longer forms with more convenient sound patterns. On the same principle, the radically disordered sequences used by grammarians to stress the importance of syntax, e.g. Dresher and Hornstein’s (1976: 365):]
 Tall man the hit small round ball a.
would scarcely occur or be accepted outside linguistic debates. If such odd configurations of sound or syntax were presented, they would figure as non-downgradable third-order occurrences for most receivers. If sound and syntax are used only for their functions in organizing content (cf. VII.9),9 then a denial of their organization seems pointless unless some new function is discoverable (cf. samples  and  in VII.10).
18.4 A third source of expectations arises from the techniques for arranging sequences according to the informativity of elements or groups of elements. In Chapter IV, we glanced at functional sentence perspective (IV.51-53) and intonation (IV.54-58) as means for signalling what is considered new, important, or unexpected within clauses or tone groups. We noted, for instance, that highly informative elements tend to appear toward the end of a clause and to receive a high key. In contrast, elements of low informativity tend to appear toward the beginning of clauses and receive a low key; or to be compacted via pro-forms (IV.21-31) or omitted via ellipsis (IV.32-7). These techniques provide for a balance between two opposing tendencies: maintaining a clear point of orientation, and keeping informativity reasonably high (cf. III.15).
18.5 It might be concluded that the first source of expectations about the “real world” and its “facts” would be independent of language altogether, whereas the second source (formal conventions) and the third (informativity signalling) would vary from one language to another. This issue is, however, in great dispute. The diversity of formal conventions among languages is uncontested; but there is little agreement about whether this diversity also impels the users of language to organize the world in different ways, as suggested by Whorf (1956). Similarly, if meaning of expressions and sense of texts are heavily tied to acquisition and use of knowledge, then they must be subject to the influence of cultural and social factors—a notion explored in “ethnographic semantics” (cf. Colby 1966). Therefore, there is doubtless substantial interaction among the three sources of expectations outlined above, but each source exerts distinctive effects corresponding to its particular organizational principles. On occasion, it might be possible to isolate the sources via specially constructed examples, although humans normally have no motivation to do so.
18.6 The fourth source of expectations is text type. As will be argued later on (IX.1ff.), text types are global frameworks controlling the range of options likely to be utilized. Such rare patterns of sound or syntax as noted in [115 and  (VII.1) are acceptable in poetic texts, where conventions of expression are characteristically modified and downgrading is frequently performed (cf. IX.9). In the sub-type “nonsense poem”,10 the presence of ‘clean and neat’ shoes without feet  is also tolerable. It would be quite disturbing if a science report were constructed along these lines:
[120a] This treatise examines the data gathered at the Scripts Institute of Oceanographic Research on cleanliness of shoes among footless molluscs of the genus Ostreidae.
The type scientific text (cf. IX. 10) resists the suspension of basic “facts” in the organization of the world, e.g. things (like ‘feet’) being both absent and present (cf. VII.1 8.1).
18.7 The fifth and final source of expectations is the immediate context where the text occurs and is utilized (cf. Dressler 1978). If, as we claim, actualization can override the conventional organization of virtual systems,11 this source might modify the expectations drawn from the other four sources. The notion of style has been employed to reflect the assumption that a single text or set of texts manifests characteristic tendencies of selection (cf. II.7). Accordingly, receivers can expect some sorts of occurrences to be more dominant and frequent than others. Literary and poetic texts (to be described in IX.8f) will draw special focus toward their styles, so that producers must expend considerable care and attention upon selection procedures. However, informativity can be increased on occasion by breaking out of one’s own established style (Riffaterre 1959, 1960). If this tactic is pursued intensely and frequently receivers may become so disoriented that they are unable to utilize a text, e.g. James Joyce’s novel Ulysses, to say nothing of Finnegan’s Wake: there may be no stable patterns to form a background into which non-expected occurrences could be integrated via downgrading.
19. Although our scheme of expectations is not elaborate, it should already reveal why the notion of “statistical probability” sketched in VII.2 is a highly impoverished account of informativity. The correlation between information value and any absolute frequency of the occurrence is certainly not straightforward. The actual effects of an occurrence in its context can always be upgraded or downgraded via appropriately planned settings. Hence, frequency is useful, especially if computed for a very large set of texts, but neither sufficient nor reliable.
20. The appeal of frequency counts was doubtless due to their conciseness and simplicity. The discovery of text users’ expectations, on the other hand, is a messy and intricate task (cf. IX. 24ff). Only on certain occasions do people actually declare what they are expecting. It follows that we shall have to work largely in the other direction. After identifying language techniques which serve to indicate expectations, we can proceed to trace out the latter from textual evidence. A fairly straightforward illustration is the use of negation, which is typically found only when there exists some motive to believe something is otherwise true (cf. Wason 1965; Osgood 1971; Givón 1978). We need merely locate and analyse negations to see what kinds of content are being presupposed (cf. VII.38). Other signals include the cohesive devices enumerated in VII.18.4. We demonstrate this approach with sample [31 from I.1], a brief excerpt from TIME (22 Jan. 1979):
  Twenty-year-old Willie B.1s a diehard TV addict.  He hates news and talk shows, but he loves football and gets so excited over food commercials that he sometimes charges at the set, waving a fist.  Says a friend:  “He’s like a little child.”
 Willie B.is a 450-lb gorilla at the Atlanta Zoo.  In December a Tennessee TV dealer heard about Willie B.’s lonely life as the zoo’s only gorilla and gave him a TV set.
We shall undertake to sort out the flow of expectations according to what we can extract from the text itself.
22. One important factor is definiteness:12 the status of text-world entities which are identifiable, accessible, and recoverable. This status is conventionally marked in English texts by the “definite” article, while the “indefinite” article is reserved for entities just being activated. The distinction is in fact vastly more intricate than this. Some entities are deemed definite because everyone knows about them, e.g. ‘the sun’ and ‘the moon’. Some entities can be indefinite because they are unspecified members of a class, even if they are wel-known or recently mentioned. In our sample above, ‘the Atlanta Zoo’  is well-known and unique, and ‘the zoo’  is an already mentioned entity; both are thus definite. indefiniteness is usually assigned to entities upon their first mention: ‘addict’ , ‘fist’ , ‘friend’ , ‘child’ , ‘gorilla’ , and ‘dealer’ . However, there are other explanations here besides first mention. Notice that ‘child’ and ‘gorilla’ are new designations for the already mentioned ‘Willie B.’. On the other hand, ‘a TV set’ is indefinite in  despite previous mention of ‘the [definite] set’ in .
23. These uses suggest that definiteness and indefiniteness might be more adequately treated in terms of procedural access. If an entity is in active storage as explained in IV.2, then determinate and typical knowledge about the entity is easy to access; or it even may be already accessed by spreading activation (cf. V.12). Thus, the mentioned ‘TV addict’  can be expected to have a ‘set’, yielding the definiteness in . In contrast, ‘a fist’ and ‘a friend’ are accidental members of classes. Now, Willie might be expected to have fists and friends; but by singling out one member of a class, the text producer is adding an “instance-of’ link (V.26(y)) to “part of” (‘fist’) (V.26(k)) or “relation-of” (‘friend’) (V.26(d)) links; and definiteness may be reluctant to spread more than one link.13 ‘A child’  is both first mention and an accidental instance. ‘A gorilla’ is first mention, but not an accidental member, since there is only one unique gorilla at the Zoo; hence, we could in fact have ‘the gorilla’, but not ‘the fist’, ‘the friend’, or ‘the child’. ‘A TV set’  is indefinite only if we consider this stretch of text beginning ‘In December’ a new departure, as it would be if it formed the opening sentence; we could equally well look back to Willie’s description in the first paragraph and have ‘the TV set’ here at the end. Perhaps the indefinite usage arises from the perspective of the real sequence of events (cf. VII.18.2), since the ‘giving’ came before the charging’ and thus at a time when the ‘set’ was not yet definite.
24. In addition to definiteness, the sequencing of sentences and clauses can be consulted (cf. IV.Siff.). The opening sentence  has of course no previous material to build on. The placement of ‘Willie B.’ in subject position signals that he will be the Topic character (compare the ‘rocket’ topic appearing as the subject of the opening sentence in sample  of 1.1). And this entity actually does serve in the subject slot of five more clauses: three in  and one each in  and . The new or not yet established materials about Willie fill the predicates of all six clauses. These materials are organized among themselves with the aid of junctives (cf. IV.42ff.): the ‘but’ smoothes the transition between the opposites of ‘hates’ and ‘loves’ (contrajunction, IV.45), and ‘so ... that’ signals a causal relation between ‘excited’ and ‘charges’ (subordination, IV.46).
25. The coherence of the text is supported by the use of some expected material within two individual paragraphs, so that production and reception would be supported in part at least by spreading activation. A ‘diehard TV addict’  is expected to have detailed likes and dislikes and to get very ‘excited’ over certain kinds of programs . The extreme behaviour over ‘food commercials’  is more easily compatible with a ‘little child’  than with a ‘twenty-year-old’ . Once Willie B.is revealed as a ‘gorilla’ in , we expect to hear how the ‘TV set’ made it to the zoo . ‘December’ is a likely time for Christmas gifts, particularly ones that promote business for a ‘dealer’. And a ‘lonely life’ is expected for the ‘only’ one of a group .
26. Against this background of well-organized cohesion and coherence, the text producer is able to present a substantial surprise: that ‘Willie B.1s not the human being suggested throughout the entire first paragraph. The name “Willie B.’ is itself one such suggestive signal, since animals are less likely than humans to have last names, at least in America. The terms addict’, ‘talk’, ‘fist’, ‘friend’, and ‘child’ all indicate human status with greater or lesser subtlety. The explicit comparison of ‘Willie to ‘a little child’ is an outstandingly skilful touch for the text producer’s intention. The distinctions of ‘Willie’s tastes in programs  lead us to suppose that he can understand their content; and for ‘talk shows’, he would of course have to understand language. Any signals that would betray the status of ‘gorilla’ are studiously avoided, e.g. ‘paw’ for ‘fist’, or ‘zookeeper’ for ‘friend’, though the reference to objects in the world would be the same.14 The age of ‘twenty years’, though totally normal for humans, is fairly substantial for a gorilla perfectly reasonable for humans.
27. The second paragraph then hits us with a series of expressions whose content demolishes the belief nurtured so far: ‘450 lb gorilla at the Atlanta Zoo’ . The immediate effect is an occurrence with third-order informativity, followed up by backward downgrading (cf. VII.13): the receiver can regress and find that the preceding material deals with only typical, not determinate knowledge about humans—though atypical for gorillas. Forward downgrading is also provided for via the content expressed in the final sentence . The atypical situation and actions of the gorilla are revealed to be caused and enabled by a human agent. These downgradings prevent the text from being really troublesome.
28. The use which this text producer has made of receivers’ expectations markedly increases the interestingness of the text (cf. VII.13). The second paragraph might easily have been placed before the first one, but the effectiveness of the text would have been much lower (cf. I.23). Such tactics are doubtless common in journalistic text production, where interest must be upheld even when the events and situations to be depicted are not in themselves momentous. In addition, this particular text producer has a special motivation for the tactic. The situation in this textual world reflects people’s quirky belief that animal loneliness can be cured with the same technology as human loneliness. Parallel to that view, the striking imagery of a gorilla ‘addicted’ to television even to the point of ‘charging at the set’ during short, insignificant messages (‘food commercials’) projects back on the bizarre, childish conduct of many human TV watchers. By forcing us to confuse the gorilla with a human, the text producer validates his own analogy and suggests that the human TV watchers are acting below the standards of human intelligence and abilities, i.e. like animals who can hardly understand what is going on. And by forcing us to recover and build up that message from subtle cues, the text producer renders the argument especially persuasive (cf. I.16; VII-42; VIII-20).
29. As remarked at the outset, the everyday usage of “informativity” applies mostly to content (VII.1). We will now consider a text where the notion is useful for several language systems in concerted interaction. Our sample is the sonnet quoted as  in I.1 (Jennings 1967: 55) (compare discussions in Beaugrande 1978b; Quirk 1978):
 Those houses haunt in which we leave
 Something undone. It is not those
 Great words or silences of love
 That spread their echoes through a place
 And fill the locked-up unbreathed gloom.
 Ghosts do not haunt with any face
 That we have known; they only come
 With arrogance to thrust at us
 Our own omissions in a room.
 The words we would not speak they use,
 The deeds we dared not act they flaunt,
 Our nervous silences they bruise;
 It is our helplessness they choose
 And our refusals that they haunt.
30. The format of the text on the page at once activates expectations about text type (cf. VII.1 8.6). A poetic text is one in which, for special motives, the selection and mapping of language options is typically modified as compared with the conventional organization of language overall (cf. IX.9). An arrangement of fourteen lines of comparable length and rhythm suggests the sub-type “sonnet”; already, some expectations about the sub-type are to be violated. Instead of usual divisions such as eight lines (often two four-line stanzas) followed by six (often two three-line stanzas)—the so-called “Italian” or “Petrarchian” sonnet—or twelve lines (usually three four-line stanzas) followed by a couplet of two lines—the so-called “Shakespearean” sonnet—we have an odd numbered division of nine lines (three three-line stanzas) followed by five (three-line stanza followed by two lines that do not form a rhyming couplet). The rhyme pattern is also hard to reconcile with the sonnet format: a “terza rima” scheme in which each new rhyme appears locked between two lines with the preceding rhyme. However, with the series of aba-bcbcdc-ded-de, even this scheme is oddly imbalanced by a rhyme with four appearances, two of them in adjacent lines (‘us/use/bruise/choose’). The rhymes themselves are only approximate in the first part of the text: ‘leave/love’, ‘gloom/come’, ‘us/use’ (the last being a rhyme more for the eye than the ear). A receiver would set up expectations that approximate rhymes are going to be the standard in the whole text; yet in the last five lines, there is a shift to full, regular rhymes. The line in which the lack of full rhyme becomes evident (line 3) contains the word ‘silences’; the line initiating a pair with full rhymes (line 4) contains the word ‘echoes’. Another oddity is that the title may be itself intended to rhyme with the second line, being closer to it than line 4 (‘ghosts/ those’ vs. ‘those/place’).
31. The progression of rhymes reveals a trend we can observe on other language levels as well: irregularity and unevenness in the first part (usually lines 1-9) yielding to regularity and expectedness in the last part (usually fines 10-14). For example, the full rhymes of the final five lines are reinforced by grammatical equivalence: A rhyme words are verbs with the same subject ‘they’ having identical reference to ‘ghosts’. The closing word ‘haunt’ fulfils expectations on multiple levels: (a) it is in the closest possible association with the poem’s topic of ‘ghosts’; (b) it is a predictable verb for the subject ‘they’, i.e., the ‘ghosts’; and (c) it is one of a small number of available rhymes for ‘flaunt’ in line . Yet the element is conceptually non-expected in its setting, since ‘haunt refusals’ is a far less probable combination than the ‘haunt houses’ at the poem’s outset. As we shall claim later on (VII.41f.), the correspondences of expectation flow on different levels is apparently a result of the text producer’s well-designed plan. The initial rejection of strict poetic conventions in the early stretch of the text is supportive of a refusal to adopt a conventional outlook about the topic.
32. The grammar/syntax of the text is subtly organized. The object of the opening sentence would at first seem to be ‘those houses’, the element directly preceding the verb ‘haunt’; on closer inspection, the subject is in the poem’s title, and ‘those houses’ is the direct object displaced from its conventional slot after the verb. This displacement matches the fact that these are not the ‘houses’ that ‘ghosts’ would be expected to ‘haunt’ (cf. VII.38). On the level of sound, ‘something’ breaks the rhythm pattern in line 2 and also designates an unexpected kind of action, i.e. ‘undone’.
33. The “cleft construction” is so called because it “cleaves” what could otherwise be a single sentence into two clauses, each with its own subject and verb (cf. Jespersen 1961: 147f ; Quirk et al. 1972: 951). The first clause usually opens with the conceptually empty expression ‘it is’ so that a focused element can have the rest of the predicate slot where high-informational items are expected to appear (cf. IV.52). The material connected to the focused element can then be added on in a relative clause is introduced by ‘who’, ‘which’, ‘that’, or the like. In the sequence of the poem’s second sentence (‘it is not those great words…” lines [2-5], attention is heightened in order to stress that (a) the ‘great words and silences of love’, a common topic for sonnets, will not be the topic this time; and (b) the events which ghosts are conventionally thought to re-enact (cf. VII.3 8) will not be considered here.
34. The first nine lines have a largely irregular formatting, so that syntactic constructions fail to coincide with line boundaries. The opening sentence apparently encompasses the title (cf. VII.32) and fills out one and a half lines. A similar transition from one major clause to the next in the middle of the line is found in the third stanza too. Even closely-knit grammatical dependencies overrun line ends: verb-to-direct object in [1-2], determiner-to-head in [2-3], and head (verb)-to modifier in [7-8]. In contrast, the last five lines show heavy agreement between syntactic units and line organization. Each major clause in the fourth stanza fills exactly one line, with lines 10 and 11 being entirely parallel (cf. IV. 17). All five lines contain in their first stretch the direct object of the verbs placed at line end, while the next-to-last word is always the subject ‘they’. Hence, the non-conventional, improbable English sentence order “direct object-subject-verb” becomes expected and probable—an illustration of statistical probabilities being overturned by context (cf. VII.5). Each occurrence of these parallel structures steadily downgrades their informativity.
35. The two groups of agents are expressed chiefly through pro-forms: ‘we’ versus ‘they’. Whenever one of those groups is parsed onto the subject of a verb, the other one is brought into grammatical dependency with the verb’s direct object: (a) ‘ghosts’ haunt the ‘houses’ ‘in which we leave something undone’; (b) they do so with no ‘face’ that ‘we have known’; (c) they ‘thrust at us our omissions’; (d) ‘they’ use the ‘words we would not speak’; (e) ‘they’ flaunt the ‘deeds we dared not act’; (f) ‘they’ bruise ‘our’ ‘silences’; (g) ‘they’ choose ‘our’ helplessness’; and (h) ‘they’ ‘haunt’ ‘our refusals’. As indicated a moment ago (VII. 34), the last five lines manifest a peak of regularity by making these dependencies parallel. The effect is to evoke on the grammatical level the correspondence between ‘our’ own ‘deeds’ and the ghosts’ re-enactment.
36. The pattern formed by number of words per line also shifts between the early and later sections of the text. The first three stanzas have the word counts of 7-6-6, 7-6-7, and 7-6-6, yielding an even balance (first and third stanzas the same, middle stanza internally balanced). These lines contain mostly one-syllable words, with the multi-syllable ones distributed unevenly. In contrast, the last section opens with two lines of exclusively one-syllable words (10-11) that add up to the high word count of 8. There follows a line with the markedly low count of 5, and the final lines both have 6. The pattern of word-counts is thus another means of setting the first stretch of text off from the conclusion.
37. The selection of lexical expressions for the surface text was also carefully planned. Recurrence (cf. IV. 12) is used, as if evoking the ghostly re-enactments: ‘ghosts’, ‘haunt’, ‘those’, ‘words’, ‘silences’, ‘not’, ‘we’, ‘they’, ‘our’. The first occurrence of ‘words’ and ‘silences’ (line 3) is soon followed by ‘echoes’ (line 4); later on, the ‘words’ (line 10) and ‘silences’ (line 12) are of a very different kind, mocking perhaps those from the domain of ‘love’. The recurrence of ‘ghosts’ and ‘haunt’ adds still more emphasis to the imitative nature of those activities. Besides recurrence, there is some degree of paraphrase and synonymity (cf. IV.18; VII.41) among ‘undone’, ‘omissions’, ‘helplessness’, and ‘refusals’. And the arrangement of thematic materials has its own patterning of alternation between the predominantly audible—‘words’, ‘silences’, and ‘echoes’ in lines 3-4, and ‘words’, ‘speak’, silences’, and ‘refusals’ in lines 10, 12, and 14—and the predominantly visual—‘face’, ‘arrogance’, ‘thrust’, in lines 6-9, ‘deeds’, ‘act’, ‘flaunt’ in line 10, and ‘helplessness’ in line 13. Not surprisingly, this alternation becomes swift and regular in the last five lines: 10-audible, 11-visual, 12-audible, 13-visual, and 14-audible.
38. The various levels we have looked at so far, namely sound, syntax/grammar, lexical expression, and their correlations, are eminently supportive of the flow of expectations in the actual content and argument of the text. The title announces ‘ghosts’ as the topic, activating the global knowledge configuration we have called a frame (cf. V.16). A reasonable ‘ghost’-frame might contain common beliefs such as: (a) that ghosts haunt houses where something dreadful has been done; (b) that ghosts bear the faces of people involved in the dreadful events; and (c) that ghosts re-enact the events. These beliefs are of course not stated here, but the NEGATION of them in lines 1-7 shows that one would otherwise be inclined to hold such beliefs (cf. VII.20). The text contains four occurrences of ‘not’ (lines 2, 6, 10, and 11), a limiting ‘only’, and a series of expressions whose definition includes some kind of negation or absence: ‘undone’ (line 2), ‘silences’ (lines 3 and 12) ‘unbreathed’ (line 5), ‘omissions’ (line 9), ‘helplessness’ (line 13), and ‘refusals’ (line 14).
39. Since these denials of common beliefs come unexpectedly, a motivation search is required to downgrade them (cf. VII.13). Receivers cannot very well verify beliefs about ‘ghosts’ via recourse to the 49 real world” as defined in VII.18.1; the motivation for the text’s assertions cannot be “factual” and so must be discovered in terms of the text-world itself. This task can be done only if the identity of both the ‘ghosts’ and the group designated ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘our’ is established. The latter group can be defined in this context as ‘those of us who have left something undone’. The ‘ghosts’ can be defined as entities which re-enact the ‘omitted’ events.
40. A discrepancy arises here (cf. VII.13): how can something be re-enacted or even known about if it was never done in the first place? The only records of such events would be kept in the minds of those who intended or wanted to act but failed. If follows that the ghosts’ activities can only be in those same minds. Accordingly, the poem’s argument might be downgraded into something like:
 People who fail to act at the proper moment will keep on re-enacting those occasions in their minds.
This version would be attained by the sequence of processing steps we have outlined: (a) the title and some related expressions activate the ‘ghost’-frame; (b) some basic beliefs in that frame are negated; (c) a discrepancy is noticed regarding the omitted events; (d) motivation search is instituted to downgrade the discrepancies in (b) and (c); (e) the identities of ‘ghosts’ and ‘we’ are reconstructed from the available material; (f) both the events and the ghosts are identified as located in the minds of the people who fail to act. This process entails outward downgrading (cf. VII.13) rather than the backward and forward downgrading noted for the ‘gorilla’ text in VII.27.16
41. The argument proceeds as follows. The first lines declare the kinds of houses that ghosts haunt (1-2). Other possible occasions for haunting are denied (lines 2 7), and the opening declaration then returns in a paraphrase (lines 7-9). The last five lines are used to develop and re-affirm what has already been stated. The ‘words’ and ‘silences’ depicted here supplant those rejected (lines 2-5). The ‘deeds we dared not act’ (line 11) look back to ‘something undone’ (line 2). The ‘helplessness’ (line 13) and ‘refusals’ (line 14) are predictable reasons for the various ‘omissions’. The motivation of the elaborate expectation patterning on the levels of sound, syntax/grammar, and expression now becomes obvious. In the opening stretch of text (1-9), the receiver must be motivated to resolve discrepancies; accordingly, the planned irregularities and shifts prevent a relaxation of attention and processing depth. In the concluding stretch (lines 10-14), the receiver is to accept the argument as now established; hence, the various levels become regular, and expectations of all sorts are confirmed. What might otherwise appear a discrepant and debatable viewpoint attains a subtle but forceful inevitability, culminating with the fulfilment of multi-level expectations upon the final word ‘haunt’ (VII.31).
42. In VII.28, we suggested that careful use of expectation flow can be supportive of a text producer’s intention. In the ‘gorilla’-text, something seemingly human proved to be nonhuman. In the ‘ghosts’-text, the reverse happens when nonhuman ‘ghosts’ prove to be human thoughts. In both texts, discrepancies are employed to force a recognition of analogies (cf. V.17), such that insights are provided into the human situation. The ‘gorilla’-text is a factual news report, and thus committed to the organization of the “real world” (VII.18.1). The ‘ghost’-text belongs to the literary type and is thus free to present a fundamentally different, alternative world (cf. IX.8). By monitoring an undesirable human situation via a frame of beliefs about unreal beings, the producer signals that the situation has no real justification. People could spare themselves mental re-enactment and regret by acting despite hesitation and overcoming ‘nervous silences’ and ‘helplessness’. Notice that here again the text receivers are being persuaded by the line of argument that they have supplied and reconstructed themselves (cf. VII.28; VIII.20).
43. We hope that our discussion of informativity in this chapter has at least raised some worthwhile issues in the study of texts. We have argued that informativity, being the extent to which presented materials are new or’ unexpected, exerts important controls on the selection and arrangement of options in texts. The usual standard of informativity is a medium degree we called “second order”; occurrences of the first order can be upgraded, and those of the third order downgraded. We suggested that text producers can create a planned flow of expectations in order to uphold interest and fulfil an intention, and we undertook to illustrate the claim with two very different texts. We conclude that the controls exerted by informativity must be a vastly important factor in limiting and motivating the use of particular options in all sorts of contexts.
1 Cited in Kari Riha, “‘Schntzgrmm.’ Zu Ernst Jandl.” Replik 3/4 1970, 54-56.
2 The so-called “function words” derive their name from the dominance of their contribution to the organization of actual systems over their contribution of stable content. This notion of “function” is the basic one in systems theory.
3 Cf. IV.36. In effect, people would be inferring functions on the basis of preferential configurations of sense, rather than following the function cues in the surface text. The “content words” can thus contribute more to the functional organization of a text than the old dichotomy of “content words” versus “functions words” would seem to suggest.
4 The tendencies uncovered by Weinrich may be due to the tendencies of textual systems and subsystems to remain stable (cf. III.14f.).
5 Interest is not decided solely by improbability: we must also consider factors such as the inherent potential for strong impact on human sensory apperception, i.e. salience (cf. VIII.3); and the importance of an occurrence for the apperceiver’s personal goals (cf. VI.12; le Ny & Denhière 1980).
6 The “information state” is only one of several important states in which a communicative participant may enter (cf. note 4 to Chapter IV). Beaugrande (1979a, b) suggests that humans decide their actions in order to attain or maintain desirable states along various dimensions. The desire for interestingness instinctively conflicts with the desire for knownness.
7 cf. VI.11-16; VII.38; IX.25-8.
8 For example, one can narrate events out of their original order in time if cues of tense, junctives, or time modifiers are employed (cf. IV.38ff.).
9 See note 2 to this chapter.
10 On “nonsense”, cf. V.2; VII.14. It follows from our definition there that “non-sense” is a matter of receivers’ expectations and prior knowledge, and it may well vary from one individual or group to another.
11 See the examples in VI.2f.; VII.81.
12 We do not treat definiteness in any detail in this book, since it falls between informativity and cohesion (selection of articles). See Beaugrande (1980a) for a more extensive discussion.
13 See again Beaugrande (1980a: 137-44) for details.
14 Considerations like this why people are motivated to use different expressions in referring acts should have been more prominently raised in the long dispute over ‘Morning Star/Evening Star’ since Frege (1892) (cf. Camap 1947: 119; Quine 1953: 21; Linsky 1971: 83ff.). The issue cannot be settled in terms of the names and existence of objects themselves.
15 We occasionally use the term “grammar/syntax” because the distinction between the two notions has been reduced in generative linguistics and fades still more in a linguistics of texts. In semiotics, syntax subsumes grammar entirely.
16 Here also, text-world discrepancies are intended to point up discrepancies in the “real world” (cf. IV.19; IX.8; X. 16).
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