Записки з романо-германської філології (Apr 2015)

Lexical means of Theme and Rheme definition in Ukrainian and English

  • Е. В. Стрига

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 0, no. 2(33)
pp. 114 – 118


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Lexical means of Theme and Rheme definition in Ukrainian and English are analyzed in the article. Among them are: negative pronouns, negative particles, special questions, parenthetic and modal words, approximators. The comparison of various linguistic devices, which can express the correlation between the base and the core of the utterance peculiar to each language, presents the linguistic interest. Naturally, the most interesting language means for the purpose of grammatical description are those with the help of which the theme-rheme organization is revealed. These instruments include: intonation, word order, syntactic structures, lexical means. Thus, the main aim of this article is to analyse the lexical means creating the theme and the rheme in the English and Ukrainian languages. Lexical means which single out the theme and the rheme in English and Ukrainian vary a lot. One of the most widely used lexical means creating the theme-rheme structure of the English statement is the emphatic verb to do. Used before the subject of the sentence this verb draws attention realising the logical stress. Such equivalent in the Ukrainian language does not exist. Another lexical means which singles out the theme and rheme structure of the sentence is negation. In English, it can be expressed by the theme and the rheme particle not, negative prefixes un-, dis-, in-, non-, il-, im-, ir-, no-, negative pronouns nobody, nothing, none. In English statement the stress falls on the negative particle not, emphasizing the predicate. Pronouns nobody, nothing, none due to their negative meaning are always under logical stress and, thus, are the rheme of the utterance. In the Ukrainian language negative particles serve to negate the content of the whole utterance or parts of it. In the Ukrainian language the negative form of the verb is stressed. The most emphasised member of the statement, i.e the predicate becomes the rheme of the utterance. The necessary information does not correlate with modal predicate plane of the utterance but does correlate with its lexical and semantic content. Since the lexical-semantic sense is diverse, signals for information should also be diverse. To express the intention in the English and Ukrainian languages respondents in their utterance often use approximators – a group of lexical units with approximate nomination, which help to avoid exact naming of the object and the factors that contribute to successive communication. So, for the majority of the sentences realised by the theme-rheme organization, the distribution of the subject and predicate is important. Thus the name or the group of names correlating with the topic of the utterance become the subject of the sentence. Comparing the means which express actual sentence division in Ukrainian and English, it was found that the most common position of the rheme for the Ukrainian language is at the end of a sentence, while in the English language the rheme is expressed by using certain structures (split constructions), article determination, word order, phrase (logical) stress, English construction there be construction, interrogative pronouns. The indicators of the theme are: demonstrative, possessive, personal, negative pronouns, definite article, low contextual-semantic load. The indicators of the rheme include: indefinite article, the presence of negation, high-contextual semantic load, approximators.