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

Open access


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.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Adam Martin. Functional Macrofi eld Perspective (A Religious Discourse Analysis Based on FSP). Brno: Masaryk University 2009. Print.

  • ---. A Handbook of Functional Sentence Perspective (FSP in Theory and Practice) with Key. Brno: Masaryk University 2008. Print.

  • ---. “In Honour of Professor Aleš Svoboda.” Discourse and Interaction 3/1. 2010: 113-117. Print.

  • ---. Presentation Sentences (Syntax Semantics and FSP). Brno: Masaryk University 2013. Print.

  • Brassai Samuel. “A magyar mondat I.” [The Hungarian Sentence]. A Nyelves Szeptudomanyi Osztaly Kozlonye. 1860: 279-399. Print.

  • Brůhová Gabriela. “Passivization of Ditransitive Verbs from the FSP Point of View.” Linguistica Pragensia 25. 2015: 27-36. Print.

  • Chamonikolasová Jana. “Communicative Perspectives in the Theory of FSP.” Linguistica Pragensia 20/2. 2010: 86-93. Print.

  • ---. Intonation in English and Czech Dialogues. Brno: Masaryk University 2007. Print.

  • ---. On Different Approaches to the Information Structure of Language. Habilitation Thesis. Brno: Masaryk University 2007. Print.

  • ---. “Word Order and Linear Modifi cation in English.” Brno Studies in English 35/2. 2009: 17-28. Print.

  • Chamonikolasova Jana and Martin Adam. “The Presentation Scale in the Theory of Functional Sentence Perspective.” Patterns. A FestschriThfor Libuše Duškova. Eds. Jan Čermak Aleš Klegr Marketa Mala and Pavlina Šaldova. Prague: Charles University 2005. 59-69. Print.

  • Chamonikolasová Jana Martin Adam Irena Headlandova Kalischova Martin Drapela and Lenka Stehlikova. “Creating a System of Annotation for FSP. Linguistica Pragensia 1. 2015: 9-18. Print.

  • Chamonikolasová Jana Miroslav Černy and Eva Golkova (Eds.). Collected Works of Jan Firbas. Volume Three (1979-1986). Brno: Masarykova univerzita 2014. Print.

  • Chamonikolasová Jana Miroslav Černy and Ludmila Urbanova (Eds.). Collected Works of Jan Firbas. Volume Two (1968-1978). Brno: Masarykova univerzita 2013. Print.

  • Daneš František. “Functional Sentence Perspective and the Organization of the Text.” Papers on Functional Sentence Perspective. Ed. František Daneš. Prague: Academia/The Hague: Mouton 1974. 106-128. Print.

  • ---. “The Paragraph - A Central Unit of the Thematic and CompositionalBuildup of Texts. Organization of Discourse Proceedings from the Turku Conference. Eds. Brita Warvik Sanna-Kaisa Tanskannen and Risto Hiltunen. Turku: University of Turku 1995. 29-40. Print.

  • ---. “A Three-Level Approach to Syntax.” Travaux Linguistiques de Prague 1. 1964: 225-240. Print.

  • Dědičová Helena. “K historii německe lingvistiky z pohledu slovosledu a aktualniho členěni věty.” [On the History of German Linguistics from the Point of View of Word Order and Functional Sentence Perspective]. Češtinař 5/17. 2006. Web. 5 April 2016.

  • Drápela Martin. “Appendix 3: Examples of FSP annotation in FSPML 1.0 Strict” 2014. Web. 20 January 2016.

  • ---. “The FSP Bibliography.” A Bibliography of Functional Sentence Perspective 1956-2011. Ed. Martin Drapela. Brno: Masaryk University 2015. 33-186. Print.

  • ---. “Libuše Duškova’s Birthday: Four Score Years and Five.” Ostrava Journal of English Philology 1. 2015: 83-86. Print.

  • ---. “O některych uskalich a možnostech začleněni ramce funkčni větne perspektivy do elektronickych korpusů [On Some Issues and Opportunities Regarding the Integration of the Framework of Functional Sentence Perspective into Large Electronic Corpora].” Korpusova lingvistika Praha 2011 (3. Gramatika a značkovani korpusů) [Corpus Linguistics Prague 2011. Vol 3: Grammar and Annotation of Corpora] Eds. Vladimir Petkevič and Alexander Rosen. Prague: Lidove noviny 2011. 98-109. Print.

  • Dušková Libuše. “Czech Approaches to Information Structure: Theory and Applications.” A Bibliography of Functional Sentence Perspective 1956-2011. Ed. Martin Drapela. Brno: Masaryk University 2015. 9-32. Print.

  • ---. “From the Heritage of Vilem Mathesius and Jan Firbas: Syntax in the Service of FSP.” Ed. Jan Chovanec. Theory and Practice in English Studies 3. Brno: Masaryk University 2005. 7-23. Print.

  • ---. From Syntax to Text: the Janus Face of Functional Sentence Perspective. Praha: Karolinum 2015. Print.

  • Elffers-van Ketel Els. “Georg von der Gabelentz and the Rise of General Linguistics.” Ontheven aan de tijd. Linguistisch-historische studies voor Jan Noordegraaf bij zijn zestigste verjaardag. Munster Amsterdam: Nodus Publikationen 2008. 191-200. Print.

  • ---. “The Historiography of Grammatical Concepts: 19th and 20th Century Changes in the Subject-Predicate Conception and the Problem of Their Historical Reconstruction.” Rodopi: Verlag 1991. Print.

  • Firbas Jan. “Dogs must be Carried on the Escalator: a Case Study in FSP potentiality.” Brno studies in English 25. 1999: 7-18. Print.

  • ---. Functional Sentence Perspective in Written and Spoken Communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1992. Print.

  • ---. “On Defining the Theme in Functional Sentence Analysis” Travaux Linguistiques de Prague 1. 1964: 267-280. Print.

  • ---. “On the Problem of Non-thematic Subjects in Contemporary English.” Časopis pro moderni fi lologii 39. 1957: 171-173. Print.

  • ---. “On the Thematic and the Rhematic Layers of a Text.” Anglicana Turkuensia 14. 1995: 59-72. Print.

  • ---. “Round Table on Functional Linguistics 1 April 1993 University of Vienna: Prof. J. Firbas.” Vienna English Working Papers 3/1. 1994: 4-5. Print.

  • ---. “Some Aspects of the Czechoslovak Approach to Problems of Functional Sentence Perspective.” Papers on Functional Sentence Perspective. Ed. František Daneš. Prague: Academia 1974. 11-37. Print.

  • ---. “Some Thoughts on the Function of Word Order in Old English andModern English.” Sbornik praci fi lozofi cke fakulty brněnske university 5. 1957: 72-100. Print.

  • Gabelentz Georg von der. Die SprachwissenschaTh ihre Aufgaben Methoden und bisherigen Ergebnisse. Tubingen: Gunter Narr-Verlag 1969 [Leipzig 1891]. Print.

  • Golková Eva. “Bibliography of the Publications of Professor Jan Firbas.” Brno Studies in English 9. 2003: 99-108. Print.

  • Hajičová Eva. “Topic-Focus Articulation in the Czech National Corpus.” Ed. Josef Hladky. Language and Function: To the Memory of Jan Firbas. Amsterdam: John Benjamins 2003. 185-194. Print.

  • ---. “Vilem Mathesius and Functional Sentence Perspective and Beyond.” A Centenary of English Studies at Charles University: from Mathesius to Presentday Linguistics. Eds. Marketa Mala and Pavlina Šaldova. Prague: Charles University 2012. 49-62. Print.

  • Hajičová Eva and Petr Sgall. “Degrees of Contrast and the Topic-FocusArticulation.” Ed. Anita Steube. Information Structure: Theoretical and Empirical Aspects. Berlin - New York: de Gruyter 2004. 1-13. Print.

  • Headlandová Kalischova Irena. Intonation in Discourse: English Intonation as (Mis)Used by Czech Speakers. Brno: Masaryk University 2010. Print.

  • ---. “Intonation in Discourse: Why do Czech Speakers of English not Always Use it to Enhance the Meaning?” Brno Studies in English 36. 2010: 77-93. Print.

  • Hurtová Zuzana. Firbasian Non-thematic Layers in Paragraphs and Beyond: A Study in Functional Sentence Perspective Syntactic Semantic and Pragmatic Paragraphs and Communicative Strategy in Fiction. Ostrava: Ostrava University 2009. Print.

  • Jewish Encyclopaedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Co. / KTAV Publishing House. 1606/1960. Web. 13 August 2016.

  • Kiefer Ferenc. “On the Information Structure of the Hungarian Sentence.” Hungarian Studies 19/2. 2005: 255-265. Print.

  • Kiss Katalin E. “A Pioneering Theory of Information Structure.” Acta Linguistica Hungarica 55/1-2. 2008: 23-40. Print.

  • Lečka Oldřich. “Prague School Teachings of the Classical Period.” Prague Linguistic Circle Papers: Travaux Du Cercle Linguistique de Prague 1. 1995: 3-22. Print.

  • MacEwan Elias. Freytag’s Technique of the Drama: an Exposition of Dramatic Composition and Art. Chicago: Scott Foresman 1900. Print.

  • Marty Anton. Untersuchungen zur Sprachphilosophie und Grammatik. Halle: Niemeyer 1908. Print.

  • Pípalová Renata. “On the Global Textual Theme and Other Textual Hyperthemes.” Linguistica Pragensia 15/2. 2005: 57-86. Print.

  • ---. Thematic Organization of Paragraphs and Higher Text Units. Praha: UK PedF 2008. Print.

  • Rohrauer Leona. Presentation Sentences in Fiction and Academic Prose: a Syntactico-Semantic FSP and Textual View. Ph.D. Dissertation. Prague: Charles University 2015. Print.

  • Rollinger Robin D. “Linguistic Expressions and Acts of Meaning: Comments on Anton Marty’s Philosophy of Language.” The Brentano Puzzle. Ed. Roberto Poli. Aldershot: Ashgate 1998. 215-226. Print.

  • Rounds Carol. Hungarian: an Essential Grammar. London; New York: Routledge 2001. Print.

  • Řezníčková Ivana. Selected FSP Aspects of a Narrative Text: A Study of the Verb beyond the Transition the Verb on Dynamic Semantic Scales and Authorial Communicative Strategies. Ostrava: Ostrava University 2013. Print.

  • Sgall Petr Eva Hajičova and Jarmila Panevova J. The Meaning of the Sentence in its Semantic and Pragmatic Aspects. Reidel: Dordrecht 1986. Print.

  • Sgall Petr Eva Hajičova and Eva Buraňova. “Topic-Focus Articulation and degrees of Salience in the Prague Dependency Treebank.” Formal Approaches to Function in Grammar: in Honor of Eloise Jelinek Arizona. Eds. Andrew Carnie Heidi Harley and MaryAnn Willie. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company 2003. 165-177. Print.

  • Smolka Vladislav. “Linearity in Functional Sentence Perspective: The Strength of the Weak Factor.” Linguistica Pragensia 25/1. 2015: 19-26. Print.

  • ---. “Word-Order Variability and FSP in Written and Spoken Discourse.” Linguistica Pragensia 21/1. 2011: 14-23. Print.

  • Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. Stanford University. 19 December 2008/18 February 2014. Web. 28 August 2016.

  • Stehlíková Lenka. Contextual Disengagement in Functional Sentence Perspective. Ph.D. Dissertation. Brno: Masaryk University 2016. Print.

  • Svoboda Aleš. Diatheme (A Study in Thematic Elements their Contextual Ties Thematic Progressions and Scene Progressions Based on a Text from Alfric) Brno: Masaryk University 1981. Print.

  • ---. Kapitoly z funkčni syntaxe [Chapters in Functional Syntax] Prague: Statni pedagogicke nakladatelstvi 1989. Print.

  • Svoboda Aleš and Teodor Hrehovčik. An ABC of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics. Opava: Slezska univerzita 2006. Print.

  • Svoboda Aleš Jana Chamonikolasova and Ludmila Urbanova (Eds.). Collected Works of Jan Firbas. Volume One (1951-1967). Brno: Masarykova univerzita 2010. Print.

  • Vachek Josef. “Epilogue.” Ed. Josef Vachek. Z klasickeho obdobi pražske školy 1925-1945 [From the Classical Period of the Prague School]. Prague: Academia 1972. 67-73. Print.

  • ---. A Functional Syntax of Modern English. Brno: Masaryk University 1995. Print.

  • ---. Selected Writings in English and General Linguistics. Praha: Academia 1976. Print.

  • Weil Henri. De l’ordre des mots dans les langues anciennes comparees aux langues modernes. [The Order of Words in the Ancient Languages Compared with that of the Modern Languages]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins 1844 [1978]. Print.

Journal information
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 497 219 3
PDF Downloads 148 82 4