Thematic meaning in Semantics

What is thematic meaning?

Thematic meaning is mainly a matter of selection between alternative grammatical constructions. In thematic meaning, the theme remains the same, but the order of two sentences may changes.

Thematic meaning is mainly a matter of choice between alternative grammatical construction. In brief Thematic meaning- What is communicated by the way in which the message is organized in terms of order and emphasis.

Let's talk about it in details

The organisation of the message or information in terms of order and emphasis has an unavoidable role in linguistic communication. Therefore, what is communicated by the way in  which the speaker organizes the message in terms of ordering, focus, and emphasis can be substantiated as a sort of meaning labeled “thematic meaning”.
For example, it is often felt that an active sentence, such as “Mr. John donated the first prize has a different meaning from its passive equivalent” The first was donated by Mr. John, although in conceptual content they appear to be identical. So change of voice also comes under the thematic meaning.

The two sentences certainly have different communicative values ​​in that they are indicative of different contexts.  The active sentence seems to answer an inherent question “What did Mr. John donate?, whereas the passive equivalent seems to answer implicit question Who donated the first prize? That is, the active sentence suggests that we know Mr.  John, but the passive sentence does not. Thematic meaning is mainly a matter of selection between alternative grammatical constructions.

Thematic meaning in Semantics with Example

But the kind of contrast by ordering and emphasis illustrated by the active and passive sentences above can also be contrived by lexical means, for example, by substituting "belongs to" owns in:

1. My father owns the largest mobile-shop in New York.

2. The largest mobile-shop in New York belongs to my brother.

In other cases, it is stress and intonation rather than grammatical construction that highlight information in a specific part of a sentence or utterance.

Alternative grammatical construction also gives thematic meaning. For example,

1. She likes British good most.
2. British goods she likes most
3. It is the British goods she likes most.

Like the grammatical structures, intonation and stress also make the message prominent.

For example, the contrastive stress on the word ‘wool’ in the following sentence give prominence to the information

1. Elizabeth wears a wool culotte.
2. The kind of culotte that Elizabeth wears is wool one.

Thus pairs of sentences with similar conceptual meaning differ their communicative value. This is due to different grammatical constructions or lexical items or intonations and stress.Therefore they are used in different contents. The ways we order our message also convey what is important and what not. This is basically thematic meaning.

Lyons states that one part of the meaning of sentences – as sentences are commonly defined – that is definitely not part of their proportional content is thematic meaning. For example, the following sentences, that differ in thematic meaning, all have identical truth-conditions, and therefore identical propositional content.

a. She has not read this book.
b. This book she has not read.
c. It is this book (that) she has not read.
d. This book has not been read by her.

The meaning arising out of the way in which the speaker or writer organizes his/her message is called thematic meaning. The examples are:
a. Tomorrow she plans to have an outing.
b. She plans to have an outing tomorrow.

đŸ‘‰Sentence-1 seems to answer the question: When will you have an outing?
đŸ‘‰Sentence-2 What will you do tomorrow?
Next Post Previous Post
No Comment
Add Comment
comment url