THEMATIC RELATIONS or ROLES
There are many ways to analyze grammatical relationships
and functions. We can analyze relationships by syntax, and note, for
example, that a nominal can function as a subject or an object We
can also acknowledge that the meaning of words and phrases (syntax) can
Noun phrases may be specified by the various roles they can play
in a clause. These roles are listed below. These roles represent the DEEP
STRUCTURE of grammatical meaning.
It sounds complicated. but
when we shift an event from active to
passive voice, these roles are maintained. In active and passive
voice, the THEME and the AGENT remain the same. Active and passive
voice are SURFACE STRUCTURES; they represent the same DEEP STRUCTURE.
Passive voice is especially useful when we explain how
something is made or done. To do this, students may construct a grammatically-focused
transfer task to model of what they wish to express. A grammatically-focused transfer
task may be composed of a sequence of pictures. In
the case of the exercise on the next page. the pictures detail
the steps that are involved in canning fish. Any activity could
be illustrated using the same procedures. In each step, the subject is matched with the appropriate
Click here for the
Beginning ESL Notional-Functional Dictionary and Activities.