Pragmatics of New Topics

Matthew Anstey manstey at
Wed Aug 25 15:02:42 EDT 1999

Gday all,

Dik(1997:316) states that "New Topics across languages have a strong
preference for taking a relatively late position in the clause." He gives
exmaples from English, French, and Russian. A clear example of this in my
view in BH is in Ruth 2:19:

	shem		ha'ish		'asher	'asithi	who	I.worked

	`immi		hayyom	   	bo`az
	with.him	today		[is].Boaz

Boaz is a new topic *to Naomi*, obviously not to the reader. My question is,
do others think that BH generally introduces new topics this way, by
shifting the new topic to a late position in the clause? Can anyone think of
other examples of this of the top of their head? Are there any clear

With regards,
Matthew Anstey

Reference: Dik, Simon C. 1997. The Theory of Functional Grammar. Part 1: The
Structure of the Clause. 2d rev ed. Functional Grammar Series 20, ed. Kees
Hengeveld. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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