Last updated Tuesday, June 01, 1999


Linguistics (to establish a chatroom linguistics)

diachronic (historical - comparative/philology)


Structural (syntax and phonology)



Linguistic schools of thought

Prague School of linguistics - Functional sentence perspective (FSP)- - analyses utterances in terms of their information content - The semantic contribution of each major element in a sentence is rated with respect to the 'dynamic' role it plays in communication. This method is still widely in use in Czechoslovakia and other East European countries. (Crystal, 1992, p. 408)

FSP is a theory of Linguistic analysis associated with the modern exponents of the Prague School of linguistics. Refers to analysis of utterances (or texts) in terms of the information they contain the role of each utterance part being evaluated for its semantic contribution to the whole. The notion of 'communicative dynamism' has been developed as an attempt to rate these different levels of contribution within a structure, particularly with reference to the concepts of RHEME and THEME.

Prague School of linguistics Theorists/writers: Vilem Mathesius, founder (1882-1946), Jan Firbas (b. 1921), Roman Jakobson, Nikolai Trubetskoy (1890-1938), Josef Vachek (b. 1909),

Dependency grammar - Explains grammatical relationships by setting up 'dependencies' (or 'valences') between the elements of a construction.

***>> Syntactic structure - is represented using dependency trees - sets of NODES whose interconnections specify structural relations. Every tree contains a governor and a set of dependents, each of which bears a specific relation to the governor.

Tagmemics - focuses particularly on the need to relate linguistic 'forms' and 'functions'.

Stratification grammar - views language as a system of related layers ('strata') of structure.

Systemic linguistics - grammar is seen as a network of 'systems' of interrelated contrasts; particular attention is paid to the semantic and pragmatic aspects of analysis and also to the way intonation is used in the expression of meaning.

Information structure of messages: THEME vs. RHEME (RHEMATIC)

Re. analysis of the information structure of messages

RHEME (RHEMATIC) - The part of a sentence which adds most to the advancing process of communication (it has the highest degree of communicative dynamism) - it expresses the largest amount of extra meaning, in addition to what has already been communicated.

THEME (themat-ic, -ization) - by contrast carries the lowest degree of communicative dynamism. The theme is the part of a sentence which adds least to the advancing process of communication - it expresses relatively little (or no) extra meaning, in addition to what has already been communicated.

COMMUNICATIVE DYNAMISM - an utterance is seen as a process of gradually unfolding meaning, each part of the utterance contributing variously ('dynamically') to the total communicative effect.

Some parts of an utterance will contribute little to the meaning, because they reflect only what has already been communicated: these 'thematic' aspects would be considered to have the lowest degree of CD. By contrast, 'rhematic' aspects have the highest degree of CD, containing new information, which advance the communicative process.



OK AS OF Tuesday, June 01, 1999