pwiles pwiles at
Tue Jul 7 08:29:49 EDT 1998

The following question is to anyone who has studied functional grammar
and its application to greek (others may wish to ignore!).

I have been reading M Halliday's "An Introduction to Functional Grammar"
and using an associated work book, and have a question re possible
application of some functional grammar concepts to greek.

In Halliday's functional grammar clauses can be divided into Theme and
Rheme. Theme being the point of departure of the clause considered as
message, and Rheme where the presentation moves after the point of
departure. Progression of Themes then structure the discourse as
message. In English Theme is realised by initial position in the clause
(up to and including the first constituent that is either participant,
circumstance or process), and Rheme follows. Halliday says that many but
not all languages realise Theme through initial position. (He offers
Japanese as an example of a language which doesn't.)

My question is, has anyone done or is anyone aware of any work
discussing whether the Greek clause realises Theme by way of initial

This would obviously have import for nuancing the import of word order
in Greek clauses.

Any replies welcome!


Perry Wiles
Moore Theological College
1 King St
NSW 2042

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