ERIC Number: ED218637
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-May-15
Reference Count: 0
Functional Sentence Perspective and Some Related Recent Work in Discourse Analysis.
Vande Kopple, William J.
There are three dominant conceptions of functional sentence perspective (FSP): (1) a sentence should be analyzed into several segments, each having a different degree of what is called communicative dynamism; (2) a sentence should be analyzed into two segments, the theme and the rheme; and (3) a sentence should be analyzed into two segments, the topic and the comment. More recently, scholars such as Peter Fries have used some notions derivable from FSP to talk about the perceived structure of texts. One important claim is that the information contained within the themes of all the sentences of a paragraph creates the method of development of that paragraph. Other lines of research that are closely related to work in FSP and that have some promising practical sides show paragraphs to be consistent with the third view of FSP. For example, a sentence will be easy to comprehend if its given information is easy to recognize, matches a direct antecedent in memory, and occurs before the new information. Composition instructors should teach their students the principles of the third view of FSP and should show them how to adjust English syntax to make their sentences conform to these principles. Doing this should help students produce more readable and memorable essays, should make them more sensitive to the informational needs of their particular readers, should provide them with guidelines for revision, should help them develop greater syntactical facility, and should help them write sentences moving from shorter subjects to longer predicates rather than from longer subjects to shorter predicates. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Functional Sentence Perspective; Textual Analysis
Note: Paper presented at the Meeting of the Great Lakes Area Rhetoric Association (Chicago, IL, May 1982).