Logique du texte

De MultiGram

Un texte n'est pas une séquence arbitraire de phrases. Il doit idéalement avoir une unité et une structure.


Unité Logique (temps, espace, personne)

Texte: Robert Ludlum: The Bourne Ultimatum
David Webb walked through the National Airport terminal and out the automatic doors onto the crowded platform. He studied the signs and proceeded along the walkway leading to the Short Term Parking area. According to plan, he was to go to the farthest aisle on the right, turn left, and continue down the row of parked cars until he saw a metallic grey Pontiac LeMans with an ornamental crucifix suspended from the rearview mirror. A man would be in the driver’s seat wearing a white cap, the window lowered. Webb was to approach him and say «the flight was very smooth». If the man removed his cap and started the engine, David was to climb in the backseat. Nothing more would be said.
Nothing more was said.

L'unité de ce texte est réalisée de plusieurs façons :

L'unité de temps est réalisée à travers les temps verbaux : une narration au prétérit simple, les instructions rapportées au prétérit des auxiliaires, et un retour final à la narration dans «nothing was said», qui confirme par la même que les instructions furent suivies comme prévu.
L'unité d'espace (l'aéroport, marqué par le lexique. Souvent les éléments sont identifiés par l'article défini the, qui suggère une (re)connaissance basée sur la connaissance du monde (le lecteur sait à quoi s'attendre dans un aéroport).
La progression (dans le temps et l'espace) procède au pas à pas, permettant au lecteur de suivre David Webb de son entrée jusqu'à son départ.
L'unité de personne est réalisée par l'emploi anaphorique du pronom personnel : David Webb reste le sujet thème, et le rhème est constitué par ce qu'il fait ou doit faire.

Unité lexicale

L'unité du texte peut aussi être réalisée par recours aux relations lexicales, telles que la répétition, la synonymie, l'hyper- et hyponymie:


Vice-Premier and Justice Minister Melchior Wathelet wants to put a time-bomb under the slow-moving Belgian legal system. (...)
Wathelet’s principal target is urban crime. (...)
Wathelet’s proposal (...) will need parliamentary approval before it can take effect.
The justice minister foresees greater recourse to sentences of compulsory work within the community, ... - The Bulletin.


The [Belgian] government is due to decide whether or not to prolong a legal clause comparable, in theory at least, to South Africa’s 
Group Area Act.
Introduced in 1985, article 18 bis of the country’s immigration law allows six Brussels communes to refuse right of residence to new 
non-European Comunity arrivals (...)
The law has its origins in a unilateral decision by Schaerbeek in 1981 to refuse to register all new non-EC nationals in the commune. 
- The Bulletin.

Hypernymie (généralisation) et hyponymie (inclusion)

"We believe that prolonged operations will not be necessary", Bush said.  
That position does not coincide with Boutros-Ghali’s. - Bruce W. Nelan: “Today, Somalia...”, in TIME Magazine.

"Why do they go into people’s houses without our permission ?" he said.  "Are they here to restore peace?"
That question was echoed by frustrated relief workers who were not yet feeling the benefit of the Marines’ presence. 
- Bruce W. Nelan: “Today, Somalia...”, in TIME Magazine.

A giant flying saucer hovers at its moorings in a hangar near the southern Russian city of Ulyanovsk.  
The new airship about to take to the skies promises a revolution in long-haul air cargo transport. (...)
The craft, which measures 200m across, faces its first tests next summer. - The European.

Principes de structuration

"General idea vs. Specific details"

Un des principes de structuration d'un texte (qu'il s'agisse d'un paragraphe ou d'un texte plus long) est l'énoncé d'une idée générale (topic sentence) suivi de quelques preuves ou illustrations plus spécifiques. Si nécessaire, le texte peut être conclu par un résumé final (clincher sentence)

As President from 1897-1901, William McKinley took America into the twentieth century. And he presided over another great transition too : "Topic sentence"
under his administration the United States became for the first time a world power. His years in office saw the country go to war with Spain, annex Hawaii, and acquire Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. Triumphantly re-elected, McKinley was assassinated in his second term by a young anarchist. Développement: accumulation de faits illustrant ("prouvant") l'affirmation initiale.
With such dramatic events crowding his tenure in the White House he might be pictured a bold, provocative figure. "Clincher sentence"
It takes a lot to get someone to fly Air India. "Topic sentence," délibérément ambiguë.
For example: a lot more goodies to eat and drink and generally while away your time to New York than you get on your usual airline. Who else offers you mango nectar as an alternative to orange and tomato juice ? Who else offers you eighteen different brands of whiskies, gins, liqueurs and brandies ? Who else ofers you sizzling hot canapes of whole masala fried shrimp, spicy kebabs, chicken brochettes ? Who else offers you twenty-three different magazines, newspapers and comics ? Who else carries canned French mineral water in case you’re partial to it ? Who else carries fans ? or hot water bottles ? Or Tabasco sauce ? Who else ? Who else indeed. Développement: accumulation de faits et de questions conduisant à l'affirmation finale.
We do, because when someone like you asks for something on an Air India flight, we just hate to say no. We’re not that sort of airline. - (Air India Advertisement). "Clincher sentence", contenant la réponse à la question "Who else" récurrente, et l'explication.
Cheese can be classified into four major groups : soft, semisoft, hard and very hard. "Topic sentence"
Soft cheeses can be spread on crackers or bread. In this group some of the most popular are Brie and Camembert, which improve in flavour when left out for an hour before being served. Next we have the semisoft cheeses. These are sometimes crumbly, like Roquefort, which can be served on top of a salad. Limburger and Port Salut are strong-flavoured semisoft cheeses, but Munster, which is also in the semisoft range, is mild. Then there are hard cheeses like Swiss and Cheddar. They may be sliced for sandwiches and eaten cold or allowed to melt lusciously while the sandwiches are grilled. Finally, there are the very hard cheeses like Parmesan and Romano. These can be grated and sprinkled onto various dishes . Développement: énumération de faits illustrant ("prouvant") l'affirmation initiale.
  Ici une "Clincher sentence" serait superflue.
Weather forecasts are not to be trusted. "Topic sentence"
One day you are told that the sun is going to be shining all day, and then you spend the whole day watching television because it is pouring outside. Another time you are advised not to go to the seaside because the weatherman expects showers; and when the week-end comes to an end, you have not seen a single drop of rain falling from a clear blue sky. And when you’re told to expect a foot of snow, you spend your holiday sipping coffee in a mountain resort because there is not even an inch of snow to ski on. Développement: énumération de faits illustrant ("prouvant") l'affirmation initiale.
  Ici une "Clincher sentence" serait superflue. L'argument est prouvé.

"Step-by-step" technique

L'organisation du développement central peut suivre une organisation "pas à pas", chronologique, spatiale ou fonctionnelle. Les différents stades peuvent être explicités par des adverbes ou adverbiaux.

In 1948, William Shocklay working in the laboratory of the Bell Telephone Company produced the first transistor.  Years later, in 1963, 
Robert Noyce managed to put more than one transistor on the same small piece of silicon - integrating first two, then tens of transistors 
into complex current patterns, thus forming the basis of the integrated-circuit industry. "
At six o'clock in the morning, the silence in Austin's tiny flat is shattered by the penetrating buzz of his alarm clock.  Slowly, Austin 
rises from his bed, and with half-open eyes groggily gropes his way to the bathroom.  Only minutes later,  he emerges, showered and 
dressed.  He has just enough time left to gulp down a steaming cup of black coffee before  rushing off to the local station.  Walking 
briskly down the village street, he reaches the station just in time to catch the seven o'clock train to Brussels.
The very first thing that the buyer of a computer should do is (...) getting himself on to an appreciation course that has got hands-on use 
of the equipment; because it's rather like driving a car : you don't set about going out to buy the car until you've had your driving licence. (...) 
Buy a computer to start off with, a computer at the budget you can afford, and use it to learn about it in the home, and then to learn that way, 
and you will find, after a couple of months or so, that you probably want a more powerful computer, and at that point you either start buying 
additional things to add to the machine you've bought in the first place, or you throw it away and buy another one.
When I came out of the toilet I pushed open the bathroom door.  The room was warm and steamed up.  I saw the broad silhouette 
through the shower curtain.  I pulled it open a little and looked at him.  He reached out a hand but I pulled away.  
I offered to scrub his back.  I stepped onto the rim, put my hands under the warm water and picked up the soap, turning it over between my 
palms until I worked up a thick lather.  I began to rub his back, starting at the neck and shoulders, in circular movements. 
– Alina Reyes: The Butcher

"Le pour et le contre"

Une autre démarche, plus proche du "plan dialectique" (thèse-antithèse-synthèse) cher aux écoles francophones, consiste à alterner les arguments "pour" et "contre" l'affirmation initiale. L'ordre dans lequel ces arguments sont présentés est important, car chaque second argument agit comme "correctif" au premier.

Definitely, men do not behave rationally. "Topic sentence"
They claim that women are stupid inferior creatures, but they cannot live without them. They are very proud of their manly strength, their superior intelligence and their practical sense, but they cry for help whenever a little problem arises. They want to have children who will perpetuate their name, but they turn green whenever the words “marriage” or “family” are pronounced. Développement: alternance d'illustrations "pour" et "contre" illustrant ("prouvant") l'affirmation initiale et séparés par "but".
  Ici une "Clincher sentence" serait superflue. L'argument est prouvé.
For a spring break, Cumbria is hard to beat. "Topic sentence"
There is of course a strong risk of bad weather during the early months of the year. On the other hand, the early tourist is rewarded by empty roads and the feeling that he has the countryside to himself. Not all the hotals are open, it is true, and you may be obliged to drive on to the next village. But this is well offset by the welcome that awaits you in a guest house where you may turn out to be the only resident. Développement: alternance d'illustrations "pour" et "contre", renforcés par des conjonctions adverbiales de concession et de contraste.
Early visitors to Cumbria rarely regret their initiative.  "Clincher sentence" réaffirmant l'argument principal en d'autres termes.

Choix de la forme verbale

Le choix des formes verbales peut aider à guider les attentes du lecteur dans la bonne direction.

History has not been kind to the Philistines. Cette première "topic sentence" est formulée au passé-présent, suggérant qu'il s'agit d'une ancienne situation qui dure jusqu'à ce jour. Ce qui éveillera la curiosité du lecteur, qui s'attendra (peut-être) à un changement.
They are depicted in the Bible as thieves and warmongering aliens. The ancient Egyptians branded them pirates and marauders. Since the 17th century, their name has been used as a synonym for uncultured, anti-intellectual boorishness. Cette phrase offre trois preuves/illustrations pour étayer l'affirmation initiale.
A nouveau, le passé-présent désigne une situation qui dure jusqu'à ce jour, suggérant qu'une mise à jour pourrait suivre dans le reste du texte.
But the Philistines’ battered reputation is in the process of being repaired La conjonction "but" indique que le texte va chercher à contredire la première affirmation. Le présent progressif indique qu'il s'agit d'un processus en cours. Cette phrase constitue une nouvelle "topic sentence".
The big news from the Ekron excavation site is that the Philistines, whatever may have been said about them, were in fact one of the most highly civilised peoples of their time. Cette phrase sert à illustrer la phrase précédente. La nouvelle apportée par le texte est une grande nouvelle ("big news"), c-à-d. que les faits ("in fact") découverts par l'archéologie contredisent la croyance fort répandue qui a prévalu jusqu'ici (voir le contraste entre "has been said" (= juqsu'ici) et "were in fact" (= fait à présent établi). L'article continuera à apporter les preuves archéologiques de la supériorité de cette civilisation.


La conclusion d'un texte peut, évidemment, réaffirmer les principaux arguments; mais elle peut, en plus, apporter une évaluation, chercher à inspirer les récipiendaires en leur donnant une pensée à retenir (sous forme de "slogan") ou jeter un regard sur le futur de la problématique traitée.

To sum up, I will venture to say that, even when the nature of the source-language text creates severe constraints of all sorts, the translator 
enjoys more potential freedom than is generally accepted.  In the interest of quality, he should be encouraged to make use of it.  This conclusion 
should please whoever loves freedom in the widest sense -- especially the creative freedom of the literary artist.  The translator is an artist too. 
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger.  
I do not shrink from this responsibility --  I welcome it.   I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or 
any other generation.  The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it -- 
and the glow from that fire can truly light the world. (J.F. Kennedy: Inaugural Address).
The collection [in this book] leaves one with a strange mixture of satisfaction and frustration.  Of satisfaction, because so much has been said, 
and of frustration because so much remains to be said : there are so many names which, doubtless, one would have liked to see among the 
authors, many subjects and approaches which would have deserved a place among the essays; many notions which perhaps one would have
liked to clarify, to revise or to discuss more thoroughly.  But then again, the ambitions of the present volume are limited to setting a first step, 
thus indicating a number of directions to be followed.  It is hoped that, now that a forum has been provided, more steps will follow. –
Preface of a collective volume.

Voir aussi: => Résumer un texte, Types de texte