Continuing Discourse on Language - A Functional Perspective, Volumes 1 and 2 - Ruqaiya Hasan†

Continuing Discourse on Language - A Functional Perspective, Volumes 1 and 2 - Ruqaiya Hasan†

23. Unfolding theme: the development of clausal and textual perspectives on theme

Continuing Discourse on Language - A Functional Perspective, Volumes 1 and 2 - Ruqaiya Hasan†

Geoff Williams [+-]
University of Sydney
Additional to his honorary appointment at this University, Geoff is an Emeritus Professor of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia, Canada, where he was Head of the Department of Language and Literacy Education from 2005 to 2010. Earlier, he held senior lecturer appointments at the University of Sydney in the Faculty of Education (1979-1993) in the fields of Primary Education and English Language, and the Faculty of Arts, Department of English, in the English Language and Early English Literature section (1993-2005).

Description

Our understanding of Theme has, of course, developed considerably over the past 40 years, in terms of its function in both the clause and the text; but this has not meant abandoning or changing the nature of the concept. Rather, it has involved a process of unfolding the potential of the initial insights and exploring the implications, both in relation to the evolution of the model and through the analysis of an increasingly wide range of different registers and genres. In this process, Halliday’s accounts of Theme (see especially Halliday, 1967/8; 1985; 1994; Halliday and Matthiessen, 2004) have provided constant points of reference, as the basis for other linguists to work from or react against – in many cases both together. In particular, since the 1970s the interpretations of Theme have been marked by a significant expansion of contributions relating Theme in clause and clause complex to patterns in textual organisation. In this chapter I will trace, without aiming for a simple chronology, some of the main directions in which this unfolding has led, indicating areas of uncertainty or disagreement – that is, the potential growth points. Though many of these echo issues raised in an earlier survey (Fries and Francis, 1992), there have been advances, as well as shifts of emphasis.

Notify A Colleague

Citation

Williams, Geoff. 23. Unfolding theme: the development of clausal and textual perspectives on theme. Continuing Discourse on Language - A Functional Perspective, Volumes 1 and 2. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 671-696 Nov 2005. ISBN 9781845531140. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=25349. Date accessed: 06 Feb 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.25349. Nov 2005

Dublin Core Metadata