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# Lecture 5  Definitions of Theme:  "Technical" definition: The first experiential element in a clause (process, participant, or circumstance) + any.

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Lecture 5

 Definitions of Theme:  "Technical" definition: The first experiential element in a clause (process, participant, or circumstance) + any element(s) preceding it.  Funtional definitions: "the peg on which the message is hung", "the starting point of the clause as message", "the orientation", "the element that sets up a local context for the clause as message" ->These functions are realized by first position in English. Peter Fries's article

 Components of Theme: Experiential: topical (participant / process / circumstance) Interpersonal: vocative modal (Adjunct) finite (operator) WH- (interrogative) Peter Fries's article

 Textual: continuative structural (conjunction or WH-relative) conjunctive (Adjunct)  Maximally extended Theme (Halliday 1994:55) Peter Fries's article

 T-unit a major clause with embedded and hypotactic dependent clauses. This may be the same as a clause complex, or less than a clause complex. (Paratactic main clauses will count as two T- units.) The T-unit is useful in Thematic analysis, and it seems to allow dependent clauses to be Themes in the T-unit. Also facilitates comparisons between speech and writing. Peter Fries's article

 N-Rheme the opposite of Theme, i.e. the last experiential element in the clause. This is typically the locus of new information. Peter Fries's article

 Simple linear (chained): T1 -> R1. R1=T2. T2 -> R2. R2=T3.  One evening in spring, a man and a woman moved into a new house. Just outside their door there was a garden. It was a pretty garden, with flowers and grass and even a tree. Thematic progression

 Continuous/constant theme (topically linked): T1 -> R1. T1-> R2. T1 -> R3.  Text 1: Once upon a time three bears lived in a house in the woods. There was a great big bear, a medium- sized bear and a little, small wee bear. All the bears like porridge and had their own special porridge bowls. The great big bear had a great big bowl; the medium-sized bear had a medium- sized bowl; and the little, small wee bear had a teeny, weeny bowl. Thematic progression

 Text 2: Sir Edward Elgar, b. near Worcester, June 2, 1857, d. Feb. 23, 1934, is generally considered England's greatest native-born composer since Henry Purcell. He received his early musical training from his father, a music seller, violinist, and organist of St. George's Roman Catholic church in Worcester. In 1879 he had a few violin lessons in London, but as a composer Elgar was self-taught. Thematic progression

 He succeeded (1885) his father as church organist in Worcester and pursued a minor, local career – teaching, conducting, and composing. In 1889 he married his student and admirer, Caroline Alice Roberts, whose love and encouragement transformed him; their marriage of three decades coincided with the most creative period of Elgar's life. Thematic progression

 Thematic Progression with derived themes: Hypertheme (superordinate term to which all the themes relate)  The word operetta, derived from the Italian, means literally "little opera." The progenitors of operetta were The Beggar's Opera (1728), an English ballad opera with a text by John Gay and a score of popular songs and folk tunes, and La Serva Padrona (The Maid-Mistress, 1733), a work by the Italian composer Giovanni Pergolesi. Thematic progression

 The German Singspiel also influenced operetta, because, like ballad opera, it combined music and songs with spoken dialogue. This combination of songs and dialogue still distinguishes operetta from opera, in which dialogue is usually set in recitative, a style of musical declamation midway between speaking and singing. Thematic progression

 Fries's hypotheses 1.different patterns of Thematic progression correlate with different genres, i.e. patterns of thematic progression do not occur randomly but are sensitive to genre; and 2.the experiential content of Themes correlates with what is perceived to be the method of development of a text or text segment. (Fries 1981) Possible functions of Theme in text development

1.the experiential content of Themes correlates with different genres, and 2.the experiential content of the Themes of a text correlates with different generic elements of structure within a text. (Fries 1995) Possible functions of Theme in text development

 Comments on the hypotheses 1.Does not seem to work, because most texts have complex patterns of Thematic progression; i.e. they do not have one single strategy. But Fries's study at the end of the article shows some tendencies. 2.Found to be a workable hypothesis, as it is strenghened by text studies. Agrees with the functional definition of Theme as "the starting point of the message". Possible functions of Theme in text development

1.The hypothesis is supported by evidence from (small-scale) text studies. But it does not work for the study of narratives at the end of the article. 2.Not explored in detail. Possible functions of Theme in text development

 Spaghetti with oil and garlic This is one of the easiest, quickest and most delicious pasta dishes you can prepare, as long as you are a garlic fan. Do please use a good oil and the big garlic cloves for this. A cookbook text:

 Cook the spaghetti until 'al dente'  Meanwhile, put 8 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small pan, add the garlic and salt and fry gently over a very low heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes until the garlic is golden brown, but not burnt.  Drain the spaghetti and turn it into a warmed serving dish. Pour over the remanining olive oil, toss well, stir in the parsley and serve immediately. A cookbook text:

 Comment: In the instructions all the T-units have a verb in the imperative as topical Theme. (Meanwhile is analysed as a conjunctive adjunct.) In the introduction above the instructions we find the same kind of topical Theme in the second sentence, but the first has this as a topical Theme (=a reference to the dish itself). A cookbook text:

Thank you for your kind attention! End of Lecture 5

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