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Title: An investigation of some aspects of 'staying' and 'thematization' in English texts : the use of some 'thematic devices' in context by native and non-native speakers
Author: Ayad, Mahmoud A. G.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3433 7574
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1980
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This thesis is an investigation of some aspects of staging and thematization in English expository texts, with a view to evaluating these concepts within an applied linguistic framework. Staging is a metaphorical label referring to a dimension of prose structure which gives relative prominence to different parts of a text. The term is used in two senses, (i) as a superordinate label of a number of surface structure manifestations ranging from the lexical to the semantic that highlight parts of the message for the reader, and (ii) as a hypothesis about a possible state of affairs reflected in surface structure manifestations. The functions of staging are, (i) to give relative prominence to various segments of the message, (ii) to convey the speaker's perspective on the information conveyed, in the message, and (iii) to organize the message into information blocks with a particular point of departure. Because there are varied and multi-levelled surface manifestations of staging, it was necessary to restrict this study to specific aspects of staging, namely those concerned with theme and thematization. The first part of the thesis examines a corpus-based study of the use and function of passives and it- and wh-clefts in context. These 'grammatical highlighting' devices were investigated in terms of their thematic, textual and communicative functions. Syntactic, semantic, functional and textual criteria were taken into account in this discuss¬ ion. The main contribution of this thesis lies in the presentation of a comprehensive discussion of it- and wh-clefts in the corpus. The second part of the thesis consists of a psycholinguistic investigation of some aspects of 'staging' and thematization in terms of two experimental paradigms. The first paradigm attempts to test some aspects of the notion of staging at the textual level and its effect on the perspective from which information from prose is recalled. This paradigm was also used to show the similarity between the notions of staging the textual level and 'thematization' at the sentence level. The second experimental paradigm has a more direct applied linguistic rationale. It attempts to compare the thematic preferences of a native speaker group with those of a group of undergraduate Egyptian learners of English. This set of experiments constrains the surface manifestations of staging to the thematic structures discussed in the first part of the thesis, namely passives, wh-clefts, and it-clefts; these structures are investigated within a text. The purpose of this set of experiments is to show that the learner group has problems in the area of thematization with the use of passive and cleft constructions in context. It is argued on the basis of both parts of the study that the two notions, those of 'staging' and 'thematization', form an important part of any text production and comprehension model, and that the teaching of such thematic devices in context should form an important part of the teaching of rhetoric in reading and writing to foreign learners of English.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available