Getting the message in order
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The textual metafunction deals with the ways in which the message is structured. The two main resources through which this is achieved are “thematic structure” and “information structure”. Thematic structure is concerned with the way in which the speaker organizes his clause in terms of a theme and a rheme. A textual theme precedes the topical theme and links the clause to the surrounding discourse. Interpersonal themes precede the topical theme and indicate the attitude of the speaker towards the content of the clause. The relative pronoun which occurs in a relative clause links it to the rest of the clause, and so functions as a textual theme, but it also fulfils a function within the clause, and so functions also as topical theme. English also has some less usual constructions which pose problems for thematic analysis. These are known as “extraposition”, or “thematized comment”, and “cleft structures”, or “predicated theme”.