Presentation on theme: "Language means of expressing theme and rheme. Focality and topicality"— Presentation transcript:
1 Language means of expressing theme and rheme. Focality and topicality
2 The theme expresses the starting point of the communication The rheme expresses the basic informative part of the communication
3 The rheme of the actual division, in its turn, may or may not coincide with the predicate of the sentence — either with the whole predicate group or its part, such as the predicative, the object, the adverbial.The theme of the actual division of the sentence may or may not coincide with the subject of the sentence.
4 Ex. 1. The theme is expressed by the subject, while the rheme is expressed by the predicate: Stewie didn’t like his breakfast
8 Formal means of expressing the distinction between the theme and the rheme: word-order patternsintonation contoursconstructions with introducerssyntactic patterns of contrastive complexesconstructions with articles and other determinersconstructions with intensifying particles
9 Focality and topicality. “focality” characterizing the most important or salient parts of what we say about the topical things“topicality” characterizing “the things we talk about”
10 Special distinctive treatment is given to some topical or focal element, we assign it the pragmatic function of Topic (topicality) or Focus (focality)
11 • Different types of focus according to SCOPE (= what part of the underlying clause structure is in focus):I did not buy a bike, I bought a car (argument)I did not paint the house, I sold it (predicate)Peter did not solve the problem (π-operator)
12 • Different types of focus according to COMMUNICATIVE POINT (= what pragmatic reasons underlie the assignment of Focus to the relevant part of the underlying clause structure):Q-word- and yes/no-question-answer pairs (completive / new)
13 Contrastive focus:John and Bill came to see me. John was nice, but Bill was boring (parallel)
14 counter-presuppositional types of focus: Replacing:John bought coffee. – No, he bought rice.John grows potatoes. – No, he doesn’t grow them, he sells them.
15 John bought coffee, but he also bought rice. Expanding:John bought coffee, but he also bought rice.He is not only going to buy bananas, he’s also going to sell them.
16 John bought coffee and rice. – No, he only bought coffee. Restricting:John bought coffee and rice. – No, he only bought coffee.It seems John grows and sells potatoes. – No, he only sells them.
17 Would you like coffee or tea? – Coffee, please. Selecting:Would you like coffee or tea? – Coffee, please.
18 Thank you!Herzen University 2009Karavayeva Lidia