Publication details

The Phenomenon of Presentation on the Scene


ADAM Martin

Year of publication 2011
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Education

Description The idea of presentation of a phenomenon seems to be at the core of human existence and communication. To make use of Mathesius’ ideas, it is possible to claim that first one has to present a phenomenon (typically a person, object) to be able to say something about it. Mathesius (1975) was the first to notice the language universal of every utterance having a theme and a rheme, and to formulate the basic principles of what was to be labelled the theory of functional sentence perspective (FSP) only later. According to Mathesius’ studies on the Czech word order, the theme of a sentence represented the point of departure, i.e. what is being talked about, while the rheme was connected with the core of the message, i.e. what is being said about the theme (Mathesius 1961:91-92, 1975). In the framework of FSP every sentence implements one of the dynamic semantic scales, which functionally reflect the distribution of communicative dynamism and operate irrespective of word order. In principle, Firbas (1992) distinguishes two types of dynamic semantic scales: the Presentation Scale and the Quality Scale. The present paper looks at the make-up and role of the English Presentation Scale sentences within fiction narratives from the point of view of both dynamic and static semantics. Above all, the Firbasian phenomenon of presentation or appearance on the scene is examined and exemplified by means of statistical and FSP analysis of a sample corpus based on fiction narrative texts.

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