УДК 811.161.2'367

Bakun Olha


In the article we have studied the problem of distinguishing structure models of segmental constructions in the modern English language taking into account their theme and rheme split, there has been defined that a segmental construction is divided into two parts: a communicative subject (a theme) and a communicative predicate (a rheme) being a core communicative aim of a message. Depending on the position of a segment in investigated structures the phenomenon of segmentation as an expressive means may occur in two types: a) a reprise (with a segment in pre-position to postsegmental component) and an antecipation (with a segment in post-position to a postsegmental component). Depending on a segmental construction components position there should be distinguished two types of anticipation: a) a theme and rheme arrangement and b) a rheme and theme arrange­ment of components, showing different tendencies of expressiveness – expected and suddenness.

Key words: actual split, a communicative subject, a communicative predicate, reprise, anticipation.


Problem definition in the context of modern philological science. A segmental construction is a type of a unit of an expressive syntax, having its structural and semantic peculiarities, and enlarges traditional notion of a sentence. A segmental construction appears to be an utterance – a unit of a communicative level. As A. Zagnitko asserts, «an utterance is an actual sentence being relative to an addresser and an addressee of a communicative act» [5, p. 159]. According to our collected practical material a segmental construction, being a communicative unit with partially broken connections is very frequently used to achieve a pragmatical aim. The break of structural connections between structural components of a segmental construction and their functioning in the context intensify their expressiveness. Informative break and the break of theme and rhеme organization of its components intensify the expressiveness and it is necessary to be taken into account while studying.

It is considered to be actual to analyze a communicative structure of this construction allowing to ascertain the interaction of components of a segmental construction.

The analysis of the problem. While analyzing a segmental construction as a unit of communicative syntax it’s essential to take into account theme and rhyme arrangement of its components as the appearance of a segmental construction is closely connected with the phenomenon of actual split. This theory has been studied in details by the members of Prague linguistic school V. Matezius [8], F. Danesh [3]. V. Matezius deduced that the word order is the result of information giving in a specific communicative situation [8]. He proposed to use the term «actual split». In the process of a communicative act means of communication have some communicative aim which is the speaker having while advancing his opinion. This means are making an informative structure consisting of two anti-elements: initial point or a base (according to V. Matezius’ terminology) and the aim of a message – main body [8]. Later the terms «base» and «main body» have been changed by terms «theme» and «rheme».

The aim and tasks of the paper. The subject of the artice is a segmental construction. The source of practical material is the novel of Chuck Palaniuk «Invisible Monsters». We have collected and analyzed 1500 segmental constructionі. The aim of the paper is to find the structures of an analyzed type, to describe them and to analyze them taking into account the peculiarities of their communicative structure. Thus, there have been defined such tasks: 1) to study scientific and theoretical literature in investigated problem; 2) to collect practical material – a unit of an expressive syntax, a segmental construction, – from the chosen source; 3) to study the types of communicative structure of a segmental construction and to analyze them.

Basic material statement and received results reasoning. The role of a substantive is to name a theme of further information following a segment. A segment focuses a reader’s attention on the theme of a message, logically emphasizing it. While segmentation a separated substantive is communicatively more important than in an unsplit utterance. Compare a segmental construction: The shot, it was like getting hit hard what I remember (Chuck Palaniuk, p. 287) and an unsplit variant of this utterance: The shot was like getting hit hard what I remember As we can see in a split construction attention is focused on a segment being a theme of a message. In the second example the shot being a part of a rheme is logically less emphasized and consequently less expressive. Thus the theme of a message in a segmental construction takes actual position and becomes more attractive for a reader being a very expressive unit. The second part of an utterance comprises a message about a theme being a rheme conveying the main content of a message.

Thus a segmental construction is divided into two parts: an initial part (a theme) and a message (a rheme) being a main communicative aim of an utterance. Peculiar for a substantive role of a theme component isn’t occasional. A. Zagnitco assumes that «the function of theme is typical for a semantic subject and the function of rheme – for a predicate». [5, p. 79, 90].

It should be mentioned that the peculiarity of a postsegmental component of a segmental construction is to be expressed by a sentence with verb in the function of a predicate. The main part of this structure, to be sure, can’t be expressed by one word form and even word combination, because the role of a rheme is to give expanded information about theme being a segment. 

Synonimcally terms «old» and «new» are used apart from terms «theme» and «rheme». But the theme of utterance doesn’t always denote «old», the objects or events already known to an addressee.

The analysis of practical material proves that a theme in a segmental construction isn’t old as this element can’t be represented in preliminary context. The theme in two-component structures is new, firstly mentioned. I. Kovtunova assumes that such type of connetion (new – new) is a matter of situational independence; such utterances aren’t stipulated for context and situation [6, p.152].

A postsegmental component of a segmental construction being a rheme gives new information including old one as a correlate. It appears to be a thematic element in the second part of a construction. Thus pronominal correlate has the function of theme – old.

To denote two communicative parts of an utterance there has been used such terms in linguistics: «communicative subject» and «communicative predicate», «logical subject» and «logical predicate», «psychological subject» and «psychological predicate», «sense subject» and «sense predicate», «starting point» and «main point» etc. In our research we’ll use terms «communicative subject» to denote what is informed and “communicative predicate” to nominate the main point of the utterance as we consider these terms to be the most successful to name the parts the structure falls into according to speaker’s communicative intension.

We consider the research of T. Safronova to be interested to be taken into account. The scientist stresses on the structural peculiarities of segmental constructions making them different from unsplit constructions, – a theme in a segmental construction is represented by one-member component and a rheme is «a two-member theme and rheme component». Apart from that T. Safronova accentuates on double theme denotation: a segment – a correlate [10, p. 14]. Let’s take the next example: The suit, it’s this white Bob Mackie knock-off Brandy bought in Seatle with a tight hobble skirt that squeezes her ass into the perfect big heart shape (Chuck Palaniuk, p. 12). In this example we have a type of a segmental construction – a pronominal reprise. In communicative syntax this utterance is divided into a theme the suit, a communicative subject and a rheme, a communicative predicate it’s this white Bob Mackie knock-off Brandy bought in Seatle with a tight hobble skirt that squeezes her ass into the perfect big heart shape.

Communicative subject located outside the main part of an utterance changes the common structure of it; a theme becomes emphasized owing to a pronominal correlate which is repeated in a postsegmental component and appears to be a communicative predicate. 

Thus, we have а theme twice represented in a structure. T. Safronova considers that a thematical component referring to pronominal objective component in a postsegmental part acquires the features of a theme in relation to which the rest of components of a postsegment is a rheme as it contains new information about theme, being a communicative predicate.

It may be sketched in the following way:


Segmentation is known in linguistics to be represented in two types: reprise (a segment is located in pre-position to a postsegmental component) and anticipation (a segment is located in post-position).

The sketch represents the type of segmentation – reprise.

Constructions with a segment in post-position and their actual split have been studied by T. Zhavoronkova [4], Yu. Skrebnev [11], A. Nikitina [9]. As T. Zhavoronkova assumes antecipation constructions comparing with reprise have some peculiarities. Unlike reprise where a segment is a core theme, in antecipation constructions a segment can be not only a theme, but also a rheme of an utterance. [4, p. 45]. The scientist singles out the structures with a postpositional segment with theme and rheme arrangement and rheme and theme arrangement of components.

Antecipation constructions with R → T arrangement are close to reprise. They are inverted variants of reprise: All around us, erosion and insects are just chewing up the world, never mind people and pollution (Chuck Palaniuk, p. 84) comp., Erosion and insects all around us are just chewing up the world, never mind people and pollution; How bad could it be, my face? (Chuck Palaniuk, p. 53) comp., How bad could my face, it, be?  As it can be seen in similar antecipation constructions structures can be easily transformed into reprise. N. Valgina ascertains that substantives in postposition to expose the contents of a subject (pronominal correlate) used in common form [2, p. 200].

In Т → R arrangement the most informative component of an utterance is placed in initial position [6; 7]. Such usage completely differs from rheme and theme arrangement. «Communicative split and actual informativity of components contradict each other: a rheme informs about that isn’t of enough informative value without a theme» [6, p. 153]. A segment is a rheme when a pronominal correlate and a substantive is logically emphasized, the main assignment of which is to emphasize the most important in an utterance. These are constructions where logical emphasize is necessary. Let’s take the example: How bad could it be, my face? (Chuck Palaniuk, p. 53). A postsegmental component has the biggest notional meaning while the predicate in postsegmental component has a weakened lexical meaning. Apart from that a segment actualization is realized by unusual component position and a substantive gains semantic expression only in the end of an utterance.

Thus, there has been distinguished two types of antecipation а) rheme and theme arrangement and b) theme and rheme arrangement of components.

Sh. Balli ascertains that segmentation is very expressive approach as the arrangement from a theme to a rheme (Т → R) and from a rheme to a theme (R → T) expose opposite tendencies of expressiveness – expected and suddenness.

We have found out there are theme and rheme connections between the components of a segmental construction. A segmental construction the postsegmental component of which is expressed by complex syntactical unit isn’t an exception. Communicative arrangement of this unit is expressed according to its components: each following sentence is dependant on the preceding, from known to new, forming a theme and rheme link. In a complex syntactical unit there has been distinguished a core theme or a hypertheme correlated not only with the first utterance, but with all the following, being the part of a postsegmental component and a rheme containing a thematic component.

Let’s take a segmental construction where we have a complex syntactical unit: The detective, the one who searched my car for bone fragments, the guy who’d seen all those people get their heads cut off in half-open car windows, he comes back one day and says there’s nothing left to find (Chuck Palaniuk, p 50). The second part is a complex syntactical unit containing three sentences. In this segmental construction a theme and rheme link is arranged on the basis of parallel connection. A hypertheme is a segment and a rheme is realized in separated rhemes: rheme 1 containing a theme component (indefinite pronoun) is the first sentence of a postsegmental component, rheme 2 containing a theme component (a noun-synonym) is the second sentence of a postsegmental part and rheme 3 containing a theme component (personal pronoun) is the third sentence. «A core theme and correlates representing it in the second segment make some theme line or the line of cohesion (connection), penetrating the whole text» [12, p. 77].

Let’s show this chain in sketch:


Conclusions and perspectives for further investigation. Summing up, it should be mentioned that segmentation occurs according to speaker’s intention. In segmental structures, to be sure, a segment is a commu­nic­tive subject. It conveys the topic of an utterance, the part of information being the subject of a message. A postsegmental component is a rheme                      (a communicative predicate), the centre of a construction. In antecipation either theme (R → Т) or a rheme (Т → R) in emphatic emphasis, focuses on a postpositional substantive. In further investigation it will be interesting to study semantic and pragmatic peculiarities of these structure models from the point of view of a speaker and the addressee.

Sources and literature

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Бакун Ольга. Позиційні варіанти сегментних конструкцій у сучасній англійській мові. У статті досліджено проблему розмежування структурних мо­делей сегментованих висловлень у сучасній англійській мові в аспекті їхнього темо-ремного членування, з’ясовано, що сегментована конструкція як одиниця комунікативно-синтаксичного рівня, розпадається на дві частини: на комуніка­тивний суб’єкт (тeму) i на комунікативний предикат (peму), який виступає гo­лoвнoю кoмунiкaтивнoю мeтoю вислoвлeння. Залежно від позиції сегмента в до­сліджуваних структурах явище сeгмeнтaцiї як eкспpeсивний пpийoм peaлiзо­вується у двox piзнoвидax: як peпpизa (сeгмeнт перебуває у пpeпoзицiї щoдo пoстсeгмeнтнoгo кoмпoнeнтa) й aнтеципaцiя (сeгмeнт знaxoдиться у пoстпoзи­цiї). Залежно від позиції компонентів сегментованої конструкції розмежовують два типи aнтеципaцiї: a) peмо-тeмнa пoслiдoвнiсть i б) тeмо-peмне poзтaшувaння eлeмeнтiв, відповідно poзкpивaючи пpoтилeжнi тeндeнцiї eкспpeсивнoстi – oчiкувaнe та paптoвiсть.

Ключові слова: актуальне членування, комунікативний суб’єкт, комуні­кативний предикат, реприза, антеципація.

Бакун Ольга. Позиционные варианты сегментированных конструкций в современном английском языке. В статье рассматривается проблема разгра­ничения структурных моделей сегментированных высказываний в современном английском языке в аспекте их тема-рематического членения; сегментированная конструкция как единица коммуникативно-синтаксического уровня разделяется на две части: коммуникативный субъект (тему) и коммуникативный предикат (рему), который выступает главной коммуникативной целью высказывания. Зависимо от позиции сегмента в исследуемых структурах явле­ние сегментации как экспрессивный прием реализуется в двух разновидностях: как реприза (сегмент расположен в препозиции к постсегментному компоненту) и антеци­пация (сегмент расположен в постпозиции). Зависимо от позиции компонентов сегментированного высказывания выделяют два вида антеци­пации: а) ремо-тематическое и б) темо-рематическое размещение элементов, раскрывая разные тенденции экспрессивности – ожидаемое и внезапность.

Ключевые слова: актуальное членение, коммуникативный субъект, ком­муникативный предикат, реприза, антеципация.