The Predicated theme in Alan Paton's 'Cry, the beloved country' - a resource for written text

María Martínez Lirola, Bradley Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we explore the use of predicated Themes in the novel Cry, the Beloved Country (1948) by Alan Paton, using the systemic functional framework of analysis. We show how this noncanonical structure helps to build the novel's semantic textual design. The analysis of the structural component of predicated Themes (Theme–Rheme and Given–New structures and their interactions) will be essential to an understanding of the functions these structures and other grammatical resources play in the novel. This is complemented by a paradigmatic view on the use of predicated Themes: that is, we view these structures as the realization of systemic options in the grammar of English, functioning as resources for the creation of text. One proposal for theorizing the novel's semantic organization in particular is explored, that of hyper/macro-Theme/-New, as developed by Martin (1992), based upon work by Fries (1981). By employing these concepts, as features in the semantic systems of “method of development” and “point”, we show how the use of predicated Themes may be related to the discourse functions they serve and thus, ultimately, to the context of the novel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalText and Talk
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • predicated themes
  • systemic functional linguistics
  • Alan Paton
  • discourse semantics
  • theme
  • rheme

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