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Thematic progression



The flow of information in a sentence from Theme to Rheme is crucial in achieving communicative effectiveness in a message and in contributing to moving the discourse forward.
New information is converted into given information in successive clauses and as the text moves forward the known elements contribute less to the advancement of communication than the new ones. Together theme and rheme constitute the communicative dynamism of successive sentences in a text, with the theme carrying the lowest degree of communicative dynamism and the rheme propelling the communication forward.
The exchange of information between successive Themes and Rhemes in a text is called thematic progression. A whole text needs to follow certain patterns. There are several main types of thematic progression, depending on different text types. The most common patter ns of thematic progression are:

1) Linear thematisation of Rhemes, the most basic and straightforward form of thematic progression: in fact, the rheme in sentence 1 will be the theme in sentence 2 and so on...

2) Thematic progression with a constant theme: subsequent themes are related to themes 1
Theme 1 --> Rheme 1
Theme 1 --> rheme 2
Theme 1 --> rheme 3
The theme 1 can be:  Santa Claus and the other theme can be personal pronouns related to him

3)Thematic progression by means of a split Rheme:
Theme 1 --> Rheme 1
                        Rheme 1 is made up of: theme 2 rheme 2
                                                               theme 3 rheme 3
For example: substances can be divided into 2 classes: elementary substances and compounds (rheme 1). An elementary substance is.... (theme and rheme 2) and a compound is ...(theme and rheme 3).

4)Thematic progression with subsequent Themes derived from an Hypertheme or MetaTheme:
                   HyperTheme
Theme 1- Rheme 1            Theme 2- Rheme 2               Theme 3-Rheme 3
For example: New Jersey is... It is the HyperTheme and all the sentences after it are related to this (description of New Jersey).

5)Thematic progression with subsequent constant Themes related to the first Rheme
 Theme 1 ----- Rheme 1
                        Theme 2 --------- Rheme 2
                                                    Theme 2 ------ Rheme 3
Cats eat rats. Rats live in holes. Rats are bigger than mice. Rats are hard to catch.

6) Thematic progression with subsequent new Themes related to a constant Rheme
Theme 1 --> Rheme 1
Theme 2 --> rheme 1
Theme 3 --> Rheme 3
Cats eat dogs. Dogs eat rats. Snakes eat rats.

di Melissa Gattoni
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