Public discourse syndrome: Reformulating for clarity

Dana P. Skopal*, Maria Herke

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    The purpose of this article is to provide insights into the processes of public discourse and how information can be reformulated for public consumption. The article draws on data from readability research of public information documents conducted in Australia. Public information documents need to be understood by members of the public and a lexicogrammatical analysis, centred on a Theme and Rheme analysis, provides a platform through which readability, or a text's coherence, can be further examined. The readability data combined with text analyses demonstrate readers' preferences for clearer Theme structures and coherent development of information within the Rheme. The analysis highlights the functional differences between a text-section judged as difficult-to-read and a text-section preferred by the reader-participants, providing insights into the requirements for achieving clearer public discourse.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)141-164
    Number of pages24
    JournalText and Talk
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


    • information flow
    • plain English
    • public discourse
    • text analysis
    • Theme and Rheme


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