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Reading Report

2.5. Subject, Actor, Theme One of the concepts that is basic to the Western tradition of grammatical analysis is that of subject. Since this is a familiar term, let us take it as the starting point for investigating the function in an English clause. Example : My grandmother told my mom first this news. In accordance with the syntactic principles established by medieval grammarians, which were themselves based on the grammars of ancient Greece and Rome, each clause contains one element which can be identified as its Subject; and in this instance, th- Subject would be My grandmother. It is possible to conclude that „subject‟ is the label for a grammatical function of some kind. There seems to be something in common, as regards their status in the clause, to all the elements we have labeled in this way. But it is not easy to say exactly what this is; and it is difficult to find in the grammatical tradition a definitive account of what the role of subject means. Instead, various interpretations have grown up around the subject notion, ascribing to it a number of rather different functions. Theses resolve themselves into three broad definitions, which could be summarized as follows: (i) (ii) (iii) That which is the concern of the message That of which something is being predicated The doer of the action

The author gave three definitions of subject, these definitions are obviously not synonymous; they are defining different concepts. But the big happens if it is possible for the category of subject to embrace all these different meanings at one and the same time? There is no longer obvious answer. It could be split up among these

the part in which the theme is developed. when there was a renewal of interest in grammatical theory. grammatical subject (subject). Subject. as a first step we made two assumptions . and Actor as points of departure. Clause as Message In this chapter we may explore these three aspects of meaning of the English clause. Theme and Rheme. The terms that came to be used in the second half of the nineteenth century. the theme is indicating by position of the clause. in some language. is called The Rheme.meanings. adverbial group. which have a pattern of this kind. The significance of these three functional concepts is that each one corresponds to a different mode of meaning in clause. and logical subject (actor). Simple Themes of more than one constituent. The subject is a function in the clause as an exchange. we can define each them as follows: (i) (ii) (iii) 3. The theme is the function in the clause as a message. The actor is a function in the clause as a representation (of a process). . using the notions of Theme. or prepositional phrase. were psychological subject (theme). that theme of a clause consist of just one element. the theme is the element which serves as the point of departure of the message. Following the terminology of the Prague school of linguists. the theme is announced by means of a particle: in English. As working approximation. While the remainder of the message. and that element is represented by just one constituent — one nominal group . A common variant of this elementary pattern in that in which the theme consists of two or more elements forming a single complex element.

basically this is what it is. Multiple Themes. minor and elliptical clauses. what is the element that is typically chosen as Theme in an English clause? The answer to that question depends on the choice of mood. Other characteristic Theme: (1) Conjunctive and modal Adjuncts. in all major clause types that is. up now we have been considering Theme-Rheme purely as a structure within the clause. (2) Conjunctive and Relatives. It has been pointed out already that English speech progresses as an unbroken succession of melodic units called “tone group” and each of them constitutes one unit of information. all clauses expressing mood and transitivity. Predicated Themes. since the thematic element itself was a single unit. Some like John! And Good Night! Are MINOR clauses. This were still said to be simple Themes. without any further internal structures. although by referring to conjunctions and relatives as structural Themes we have suggested that such clauses to display thematic structure. to explain the function of such predications we have to anticipate the discussion. whether independent or not.- Theme and mood. like the Walrus and The Carpenter. we considered various instances of a Theme having more than one constituent group or phrase. Thematic interpretation of a text. Clauses as a Themes. a structure whose elements are therefore constituents of the clause. There is thematic structure in fact. Every independent clause selects for mood. they have no thematic structure and so will be left out of account. Theme in dependent. . We have not explicitly considered Theme in clauses other than independent ones.

8. the climax of the New. the listener. The Given is what you . But although they are related. The Theme is what I. a speaker will choose the Theme frok within what is Given and locate the focus. Given & New and Theme & Rheme There is a close semantic relationship between information structure and thematic structure. already know about or have accessible to you. Kardinan F21110329 . Maureen O. Other things being equal. Theme + Rheme is a speaker oriented.6. choose to take as my point of departure. Given + New and Theme + Rheme are not the same thing. somewhere within the Rheme. while Given + New is listener oriented. the speaker .