Table of Contents
Martin Drápela: Foreword
Radek Čech: The development of thematic concentration of text in Karel Čapek’s travel books
The aim of this article is to present a method for the analysis of the development of thematic characteristics in text called thematic concentration. The method is based on a property of the graph expressing the development of thematic concentration in subsequent chapters. Specifically, the length of the line connecting subsequent points in the graph is used for the analysis. This method allows us to test the differences between texts statistically. To obtain a more comprehensive view on relationships among observed texts, averaging of thematic concentration was used as well.
Michal Jurka: The distribution of thematic and rhematic elements in Hemingway’s “A Very Short Story”
This contribution deals with the distribution of thematic and rhematic elements in a text from the point of view of Firbas’s functional sentence perspective theory. After some introductory notes, an analysis is carried out on Ernest Hemingway’s “A Very Short Story” in its original language, English, in comparison to a Czech translation. I aim at a comparison of the beginnings and endings of clauses in both languages, with a few remarks on the verbs of both languages. A spoken version of the English text is also taken into account.
Czech, English, functional sentence perspective, rheme, theme
Anna Kudrnová: Dynamic semantic scales in sentences with rhematic preverbal subjects and it-clefts with focused subjects: centre and periphery
The paper discusses some results from the analysis that was the core of my thesis, “Rhematic subjects in written English: regular preverbal position vs. focusing by it-cleft”, which compares two structures mentioned in the title mainly from a Functional Sentence Perspective (FSP) viewpoint, with the goal of determining whether they are strictly exclusive, and if not, under what circumstances they can overlap. Using the Praguian concept of centre and periphery, and marginally a comparison with Czech, an attempt is made to explain the ambiguous and problematic cases, find their characteristic features and locate them in the FSP system as described by numerous scholars, mainly from Charles University in Prague and Masaryk University in Brno.
dynamic semantic scales, FSP, periphery, syntax, written English
Ľudmila Lacková: Iconicity and topic˗focus sequentiality
The article deals with the concept of the language iconicity of the information structure in a sentence. It aims to investigate the possibilities for word order to correspond to an increase in sentence informativeness. Theoretical assumptions about the dependency of language iconicity of the information structure on word order rules will be examined on the basis of an analysis and comparison of two parallel texts, the first of which is in a language with relatively free word order (Italian) and the other in a language with fixed word order (French). The aim of my approach is to explain the various possibilities of ranking the elements in an utterance in terms of iconicity in order to provide a semiotic understanding of language strategies.
diagrammaticity, sentence information structure, iconicity, sequentiality, word order
Leona Rohrauer: Preliminary Notes on the Textual Functions of Presentation Sentences in Academic Prose and Fiction
This paper was inspired by Hasselgård (2004) and Dušková (2010), who examined the relation between cleft-sentences and the discourse functions they perform in text. The aim of this study was to examine a potential correlation between a presentation sentence type and the textual function it carries out. Examining textual functions necessarily involves larger stretches of text. Following Dušková (2010) I chose the paragraph as the textual unit in which textual functions are identified and examined. As the paragraph exhibits its own structure, a position in the paragraph of each of the presentation sentence under examination was taken into account.
FSP, paragraph structure, presentation sentence, textual function
Petra Vaculíková, Thomas Hawes: Issues when Researching Thematic Development in Spoken Discourse
This article examines various issues arrising when researching thematic development in spoken discourse. More specifically, we review certain theoretical options that have been presented in recent academic papers and apply them to the analysis of the Theme-Rheme line running through spontaneous spoken dialogues with the aim of clarifying the principles behind the thematic development in these types of texts. Our data consist of both Czech and English dialogues occurring in authentic social interaction and involving at least two people. Therefore we are able to compare the suitability of these methods for researching thematic development in the two languages. Furthermore, since the participants in the dialogues are exclusively native speakers, it is hoped that the findings will have practical relevance for language teachers.
spoken discourse, thematic development, thematic progression