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Thematic and information structures

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Presentation on theme: "Thematic and information structures"— Presentation transcript:

1 Thematic and information structures
Understanding how information is organised and presented in texts

2 Functional Sentence Perspective
The English have no respect for their language

3 communicative dynamism in Italian/English translation
Jack ha pagato il conto, e siccome era molto caro, ha contribuito anche Mary. Jack paid the bill and since it was very expensive, Mary chipped in too. Taylor, p.16

4 Halliday and Functional Grammar
All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others. Taylor (p.17)

5 marked thematic organisation
‘The less expected a choice, the more marked it is, and the more meaning it carries’ Baker, Mona, In Other Words, Routledge.

6 Identifying unmarked and marked in translation
Si avvia al termine la pausa estiva che, come ogni anno, ha determinato la sospensione dell’attività parlamentare. The summer break which, as every year, has brought about an adjournment of parliamentary activity, is drawing to a close. Taylor, p.18

7 Hallidayan types of marked theme
Fronted theme: moving into theme position an element that doesn’t usually occur there. e.g. Fronting object or complement : e.g. ‘trouble was what they got’ foregrounds expressive meaning of utterance; Fronting predicator: ‘publicize it they did’ : the most marked of all thematic choices in English.

8 Hallidayan types of marked theme
Predicated themes Involves using an ‘it’ structure (cleft structure). It +that/ it + to: the only instance in which the theme of the clause is not the element that occurs in initial position. Predicating an element foregrounds it by placing it in theme position, thus indicating a marked choice.

9 Hallidayan types of marked theme
Identifying themes These are very similar to predicated themes. Instead of using cleft structure (it+) it places an element into theme position through nominalisation using a ‘wh’ structure (pseudo- cleft structure): ‘what the book received in China was a great deal of publicity’. They both suggest that the selected item is particularly worthy of the reader’s attention. Difference: in predicated themes the element is presented as new information; in identifying themes it is presented as known information.

10 Hallidayan types of marked theme
Pre-posed theme and post-posed** The fitter, he sent these documents to the office. He sent these documents to the office, the fitter. Much more likely to be used in informal discourse, in conversation or oral narratives- anecdotes, jokes.

11 Strategy for translating thematic structure
‘The most common strategy seems to be to abandon the thematic organisation of the ST in favour of adhering to whatever word-order principles operate in the TL. Most translators prefer to give priority to the semantic principles operating in the TL rather than the communicative structure of the ST. The TT must have thematic organisation of its own, preserving where possible any special emphasis in the original and maintaining a coherent point of view as a text in its own right.’ Mona Baker, In Other Words, Routledge.

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