Actual division of the sentence
Иностранные языки, филология и лингвистика
The purpose of the actual division of the sentence is to reveal the correlative significance of the sentence parts from the point of view of their actual informative role in an utterance. The main components of the actual division of the sentence are the theme and the rheme.
Actual division of the sentence.
The purpose of the actual division of the sentence is to reveal the correlative significance of the sentence parts from the point of view of their actual informative role in an utterance. The main components of the actual division of the sentence are the theme and the rheme. The theme expresses the starting point of the communication, i.e. denotes an object or a phenomenon about which smth. is reported. The rheme expresses the basic informative part of the communication, its contextually relevant centre. Between the rheme and the theme are positioned intermediary, transitional part of the actual division of various degrees of informative value.
The actual division finds its full expression only in a concrete context of speech, therefore it is sometimes referred to as the contextual division of the sentence. e.g. Mary is fond of poetry.
Here the theme is expressed by the subject, and the rheme by the predicate. This kind of actual division is “direct”. But a certain context may be built around the given sentence in conditions of which the order of actual division will be changed into the reverse: the subject will turn into the exposer of the rheme while the predicate into the exposer of the theme, e.g. “Isnt it surprising that Im is so fond of poetry?” “But you are wrong. Mary is fond of , not Tom”. Such actual division is called “inverted”.
Among the formal means of expressing the distinction between the theme and the rheme there are word-order, intonation, constructions with introducers, syntactic patterns of contrastive complexes, constructions with articles and other determiners, constructions with intensifying particles.
Then difference between the actual division of sentence signaled by the difference in their word-order: e.g. The winner of the competition stood on the platform in the middle of the hall →on the platform in the middle of the hall stood the winner of the competition.
In this example the rheme is placed towards the end of the sentence; while the theme is at the beginning of it.
The reversed order of the actual division i.e. the positioning of the rheme at the beginning of the sentence is connected with emphatic speech, e.g. it was unbelievable to all of them→ utterly unbelievable it was to all of them.
Constructions with introducers (“there”) e.g. Tall birches surrounded the lake→ there were tall birches surrounding the lake.
Constructions with anticipatory it, e.g. She had just escaped smth simply awful→it was smth simply awful that she had just esca cahad just esca ca
Definite determiners serve as identifiers of the theme while indefinite determiners serve as identifiers of the rheme, e.g. The man walked up and down the platform.→ A man walked up and down the platform.
Intensifying particles identify the rheme, e.g. Mr. Stores had a part in the general debate. → Even Mr. Stores had a part in the general debate.
The function of intonation has been described in terms of “logical accent”, which amounts linguistically to the “rhematic accent”.
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