Theme zones in contrast: An analysis of their linguistic realization in the communicative act of a non-acceptance

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This contribution examines the form and function of theme zones in a sociopragmatic framework supplemented by functional grammar comparing British English and German political discourse. In the British data, multiple themes are the unmarked variant. They signify the pragmatic force of incongruity but at the same time indicate that a negotiation of meaning is possible. In the German data, the variant [topical theme] is preferred but there are also multiple themes. Analogously to their functional meaning in British English, they signal an upcoming incongruity, but no intention to negotiate its status. Multiple themes also differ in their linguistic realization. While both sets use indexicals and general nouns for topical themes, the German data display more variation for textual and interpersonal themes.


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