Communicative Structure of a Text

Communicative Structure of a Text

1. Communicative approach in linguistics

2. Other functional perspectives in text analysis

The study of a communicative structure of the utterance does not seem to be new or unusual in linguistic communicative syntax appeared on the basis of transitional syntax. The subject of this trend is the organization of the speaker’s intentions. A Czech scholar W. Mathesius is a founder of a theory of the actual division of a sentence or function sentence perspective. Paul’s ideas of psychological subject and predicate are also widely known.

Mathesius and Danes, representatives of the Prague linguistic group contributed to the elaboration of the idea of actual division for the analysis of the text. Their systems of concepts are interrelated. Thematic progressions of Danis are the logical continuation of theme and rheme division of Mathesius. It goes without saying that such category of actual division of the sentence as theme and rheme are connected with text building more that other syntactic units because the communicative perspective of the method is taken into consideration. The speaker can’t transit information.

Within the limits of one moment – the linearity of speech stipulated a certain order of the events in a message. The front elements of the message have different communicative charge, so the choice of the order of events is very important for communication. Thus thematic and rhematic relations prove to be the reflexion of the speaker’s communicative strategy. According to his/her intention the speaker builds up a message where each element has its certain fuction and in the same time contributes to the development of the message.

Mathesius contracted the starting point of the utterance or that which is known or at least obvious in the given interaction and from which the speaker perceives speech which is what the speaker things about or in regard to the starting point of the utterance – “theme” of the utterance, the remaining portion – “enunciation”.

Normally theme precedes enunciation, which is to say “given intonation normally precedes new intonation”. In later discussions by others, including Danes, these concepts are called themes and rhemes (by non-Prague linguists they are called topic and comment).

These criteria for theme name: a) that the theme identifies something that is known by the speaker; b) that the theme is that part of the sentence for which the speaker proceeds are potentially at odds. With each other as Firbas points out, the difficultly is specially obvious at the start of communication in which a speaker asserts something that is not known but the speaker means to explain. The most important distinction between utterence and subsequent sentences of any text is that the first sentence must situate the rear usually by initiation of common frame of references, where the subsequent text must sustain this frame of records.

Thematic progressions

Danes showed how dynamic of given and new information units expressed in the theme-rheme relation of individual sentences can be applied to the structure of extended text. He did this by showing that in well-formed texts the theme-rheme relations build on each other in sequences, which are called progressions.

e.g. in the sentence pair: “I study Physics this term. It is hard”.

The theme of the second sentence “it” – replaces the rheme of the first sentence. In doing so the second sentence continues in fact to comment upon the statement begun in the first sentence. Thus the second elaborates on the first one. This particular thematic progression (a simple linear progression by Danes) is first of three types he identified.

1) simple linear progression, where the thematic information of a sentence is the same as the rhematic information of the preceding sentence

2) constant theme or run-through progression where the thematic information of the sentence is the same as the thematic information of  preceding sentence

3) derived theme progression, where the thematic information is the same for a sequence of sentences but this information is implied, not stated

Danes’s classification of the ways in which sentences build upon each other is important as it demonstrates the viability in the analysis of extended text and provide the patterning of information in any given text.