An applied linguistic analysis of the simplification of narrative texts
Simplification of texts has traditionally been carried out by replacing words and structures with appropriate semantic equivalents in the learner's interlanguage, omitting whichever items prove intractable, and thereby bringing the language of the original within the scope of the learner's transitional linguistic competence. This kind of simplification focuses mainly on the formal features of language. The simplifier can, on the other hand, concentrate on making explicit the propositional content and its presentation in the original in order to bring what is communicated in the original within the scope of the learner's transitional communicative competence. In this case, simplification focuses on the communicative function of the language. Up to now, however, approaches to the problem of simplification have been mainly concerned with the first kind, using the simplifier’s intuition as to what constitutes difficulty for the learner. There appear to be few objective principles underlying this process. The main aim of this study is to investigate the effect of simplification on the communicative aspects of narrative texts, which includes the manner in which narrative units at higher levels of organisation are structured and presented and also the temporal and logical relationships between lower level structures such as sentences/clauses, with the intention of establishing an objective approach to the problem of simplification based on a set of principled procedures which could be used as a guideline in the simplification of material for foreign students at an advanced level.