Class 5

Language, Context and Texture: Thematic Structure

Language, Context and Texture

Texture: "what makes the text hang together"
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Thematic Structure


  • starting point of the clause, "point of departure" (Halliday & Mathiessen, 2004) , the first constituent in the claus
  • it makes the message "fit smoothly into the unfolding language event" (Thompson, 2004)
  • frames, prepares, delimits the content of the core of the message, they help listeners "hook" the upcoming message into the earlier ones, it's the "ground from which the clause takes off" (Halliday et al 2004 in Thompson, 2004)
  • generally goes from the "familiar" into the "unfamiliar" (though watch out for cases of grammatical emphasis!), and may mirror the intonational Given-New structure

Theme according to metafunction

Special Thematic Constructions: Enhanced

Thematic Equatives

Theme-Rheme structure presented in terms of equivalence.

  • wh-clefts
  • demonstratives + to be
  • ing clauses + to be

Predicated themes and Thematised comments

Elements given emphatic status and at times, presented as New:

  • It-clefts
  • It + comment + that/inf clauses.
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