3.1 Discourse Fragments and the Notion ‘Topic’ This part try to explain about a fragment of a sentence and word chunk can lead people to know where the sentence goes or where the sentence begin and where its end. From the chunk of a word also, we can mark the kind of the discourse. Is it the mark of joking, anecdote, sentence for clarifying, asking etc. For example: The word “once upon a time” can be mark as the beginning of a narrative story of fairy, sometimes we can mark that this story will be end with the fragment “they lived happily ever after” 3.2, 3.3 Discourse Topic and Sentence Topic What is Topic? According to Nunan (1993: 125). Topic is “the subject matter of a text.” The concept of topic is elusive; different scholars use it to refer to different phenomena, from a constituent of a clause to proposition of a text. Based on those definitions above, generally we can conclude that topic is what is being talked about in discourse. The notion of topic is used in different ways. One important distinction is the one between Discourse topic (what a part of a discourse is about) and sentence topic (what is predicated about an entity in a sentence). (cf. van Dijk 1977). Example: (1) Mr. Morgan is a careful researcher and a knowledgeable Semitists, but his originality leaves something to be desired. - Sentence topic: Mr. Morgan. - Discourse topic: Mr. Morgan’s scholarly abilities. Approaches to Sentence Topics Classical definition in Hockett (1958): The most general characteristic of predicative constructions is suggested by the
terms ‘topic’ and ‘comment’ for their ICs [immediate constituents]: the speaker announces a topic and then says something about it. Identification of Sentence Topics The notion of topic obviously plays an important role in language, but it is diffi- cult to identify. Topics are often subjects: a. Felix goes out with Rosa. b. Rosa goes out with Felix. Notice also that these sentences are truth-conditionally equivalent. Topichood ap- pears to come in addition to truth conditions. But topics don’t have to be subjects: Kracauer’s book is probably the most famous ever written on the subject of cinema. Of course, many more people are familiar with the book ’s catchy title than are acquainted with its turgid text. Topics can be expressed in various ways, for example by special syntactic move- ment (a), by diatheses like passivation (b), by specialized syntactic constructions as in (c), in languages with freer word order like German by sentence-initial position (d), or by DE accentuation (e). a. This article Mr. Morgan has written when he was still young. b. This article was written by Mr. Morgan when he was still young. c. As for this article, it was written by Mr. Morgan when he was still young. Regarding this article, it was written by him when he was still young.
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- Fall '13
- Microeconomics, Predicate, Sentence Topics