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UNIT 1

Martin, Matthiessen and Painter, chapter 2

Study-Guide

1. What meta-function does the system of Theme belong to? Check in other readings
you have done previously how this meta-function is defined.

2. How is the clause organized as message according to M. M. & P.?

3. How far does M. M. & P. s definition of Theme and Rheme agree with the definitions
provided by the other authors you have read? What new insight, if any, do you get
about Theme and Rheme from the description provided by M. M. & P.?

4. Which are the two systems that organize the information presented in the clause?
What does each of them make use of to do so?

5. What is meant by the texts method of development?

6. What different stages can the Theme of a clause have? What stage must always be
present and where in the Theme is this stage to be found? Relate to Multiple Theme in
other readings.

7. What is the Ideational/Topical Theme? Explain and illustrate.

8. State the difference between unmarked and marked Topical Theme and look for
further examples of both in texts.

9. What elements can the Interpersonal Theme include? Identify them and look for
further examples of them in texts.

10. Refer to the position and function of the Textual Theme. State the elements that
may appear as Textual Theme and look for further examples of them in texts.

11. What is the difference between structural conjunctions and conjunctives (=


conjunctive adjuncts) in terms of their probability of occurring as Textual Theme?
Explain and exemplify.

12. What is peculiar to relative conjunctions and wh- words with respect to Theme?
(see question 21. Bring both together)

13. How do we analyse, from the perspective of Theme and Rheme, a clause complex
where the dependent clause is in initial position? Do we have all the information we
need in M. M. & P. to analyse all clause complexes thematically? If not, which other
readings provide us with the necessary information?

14. M., M. & P. say we can extend the principle of textual organization to units larger
than the clause. Which are those and what would we regard as the Theme of those
units?

Troubleshooting section
15. Which is the first step in undertaking a Theme analysis and why?

16. What is the status of a non-finite clause when we do a theme-rheme analysis?

17. How do we establish the boundary between Theme and Rheme? Does this criterion
coincide with that provided by other authors? Which?

18. What is the Theme of a clause with an ellipsed Subject?

19. When are yes and no interpersonal Theme? When are they textual Theme? Give
further examples.

20. Time expressions of frequency represent interpersonal Themes. Give examples of


them as interpersonal Themes and say how they are to be distinguished from topical
themes that also express time.

21. How are question words, relative pronouns and reference items like this
(especially when it refers to a complete previous clause or a series of clauses) analysed
from a Theme-Rheme perspective? Relate to question 12 and bring together the
information in both.

22. How can we distinguish between conjunctives as textual themes and circumstances
of time as topical theme?

23. Read the section on the pronoun it and sum up what is said about the different
types and the status of it in a Theme-Rheme analysis in each

24. Which is the Theme in an existential clause introduced by there and why? Explain
briefly and illustrate

25. What elements can function as topical themes besides pronouns and short noun-
groups? Which tests can we use to recognize long Themes?

26? Which is the Theme of a clause complex? Bring the answer to this question
together with the answer to question 13

You can do the exercises in this chapter for practice.