International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Volume 5 Issue 2 (December 1995), Pages 153-244

A texture index: measuring texture in discourse (pages 205-223)

The purpose of this study was to devise and validate an index of texture that could be used easily and accurately to analyze texts – especially those of developing writers – as an aid in improving readability in education and business settings, among others. Texture is defined as a synergistic combination of conjunction, conjunctive reach, specificity, connectivity, topic, and topic shift. An index reflecting these six indexicals was devised. The index was used to measure the texture of four expository texts, which were then subjected to the judgements of nineteen expert judges, comprising the English departments of two universities. Results indicated a perfect correlation in rankings produced by the index and by the judges. Furthermore, a high level of concordance was found to exist among the rankings of the individual judges. It is concluded that the six indexicals reflect those elements of texture that interpreters perceive as crucial to texturing in such texts. It is further concluded that the index gives a highly reliable rating of texture and provides a more consistent and more delicate basis for measuring texture than has heretofore been available.

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