The Dramatic Arc of the Theory of FSP: A Tentative Diachronic Excursion

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Abstract

The theory of functional sentence perspective (FSP) and its research methods have been considered one of the prominent tools of discourse analysis and information processing. It is widely known that, combining the approaches adopted both by formalists and functionalists, the theory of FSP draws on the findings presented by the scholars of the Prague Circle. The father of FSP himself - Jan Firbas - drew on the findings of his predecessor, Vilem Mathesius, who formulated the basic principles of what was to be labelled FSP only later. Apart from the principal FSP representatives and more recent followers (as a rule associated with Prague or Brno universities), this homage paper overviews somewhat less familiar - yet significant - pioneers in the field of theories of information structure, viz. Henri Weil, Samuel Brassai, Georg von der Gabelentz and Anton Marty. It will discuss some of their writings and achievements that were forming (and inspiring) the theory of FSP.

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