Theme and Rheme in the Thematic Organization of Text: Implications for Teaching Academic Writing

Title
Theme and Rheme in the Thematic Organization of Text: Implications for Teaching Academic Writing

Keywords: Theme; Rheme; Thematic Progression

Authors
Lixia Wang
Nanjing University of Finance and Economics, China

Bio Data
Lixia Wang has a Masters Degree of Education (TESOL) from the University of South Australia. She is a Lecturer of Department of English Language, Nanjing University of Finance and Economics, China. Her research interests are in all areas of English teaching and learning approaches.

Abstract
This paper explores the insights concerning the relationship between Theme and Rheme derived from theory of Systemic-Functional Grammar, with the aim to improve cohesion in academic texts. The paper shows that, by analyzing Theme and Rheme in a text, the students can learn to perform the same analysis in their own writings, and thus improve cohesion in their own work. The paper begins by briefly overviewing the theoretical framework underlying this approach, in particular discussing the definition of Theme and Rheme, together with three common problems resulting from misuse of Theme and Rheme, and overall Thematic Progression in an academic text. Using a university student s writing as an example, the paper demonstrates the application of this approach to show how the student s textual cohesion could be improved. The paper concludes by exploring the pedagogical implications of the relationship between Theme and Rheme.

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Filed Under: Quarterly Journal