The Thought Occurs

The Thought Occurs

Friday, 5 August 2016

What's Wrong With Jim Martin's Misunderstanding Of Un/marked Theme?


(1) Applying Martin's model yields:

Blessed
are
those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
Theme: marked
Rheme
Theme: unmarked

That is, the clause as message is deemed to have two 'points of departure', one at the beginning and one at the end, both providing the context for the body of the message, which is simply 'are'.

Cf Halliday's version of Halliday's theory:

Blessed
are
those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
Theme: marked
Rheme
Attribute
Process: relational
Carrier
Complement
Finite
Subject
Residue
Mood


(2) Applying Martin's model yields:

Sad
therefore
in his view
is
how to describe it
Theme: marked
Rh-
Theme: marked
-eme
Theme: unmarked

That is, the clause as message is deemed to have three 'points of departure', one at the beginning, one in the middle and one at the end, each providing the context for the body of the message, which is the discontinuous Rheme 'therefore…is'.

Cf Halliday's version of Halliday's theory:

Sad
therefore
in his view
is
how to describe it
Theme: marked
Rheme
Attribute

Angle
Process: relational
Carrier
Complement
conjunctive Adjunct
circumstantial Adjunct
Finite
Subject
Residue
Mood


For the paradigmatic opposition of unmarked and marked Theme, see here.

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