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Notes on transitivity and theme in English Part 3

  • M. A. K. Halliday (a1)

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Previous parts of this paper have been concerned with two areas in the syntax of the English clause: Part 1 with transitivity, Part 2 with theme. Transitivity is defined as relating to the experiential component of meaning (or ‘cognitive’, though this term is not really appropriate since all components involve a cognitive stratum); the discussion has been confined to the expression of processes and the participants therein – syntactically, those functions having in general verbal and nominal realizations – although a full treatment of the experiential component in the syntax of the clause would take account of other features, the expression of time and place and other adjuncts to and conditions on the process. Theme is related to the discoursal, or informational, component; under this heading are brought together the principal options whereby the speaker introduces structure into the discourse and (in the ideal case) ensures ‘comprehension’ – the recognition of the text as a text, and its interpretation along predicted lines.

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Notes on transitivity and theme in English Part 3

  • M. A. K. Halliday (a1)

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