Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

The pragmatic function of theme: the case of the conditional subordinates

Rosa Lorés Sanz



The present paper discusses the possibility of adopting a politeness theory approach to the various problems raised by the speaker's choice of Theme. The discussion will focus on the case of the clause complexes which contain an adverbial subordinate of condition. In the present paper I argue that the ordering 'subordinate + main' is often perceived by the participants in conversation as being more polite than the reverse order 'main + subordinate'. The implications that this discussion has for an understanding of the general concept of Theme will also be discussed. Among others, Halliday, Fries and Downing's views on the issue of theme, as well as Brown and Levinson's Politeness Theory will be reviewed and adopted as theoretical standpoints.


Oración condicional; Orden de palabras; Tema; Cortesía


Copyright (c) 2000 Rosa Lorés Sanz

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