Topic and focus in Dholuo narrative texts
Njura, Gerald O
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This study is an attempt to describe how the two information structure categories; topic and focus, are coded in Dholuo narrative texts using the Relevance Theory as proposed by Deirdre Wilson and Dan Sperber (2008). Topic and focus are both syntactically and morphologically coded in Dholuo narrative texts hence the need to test these categories using the two principles provided by the relevance theory; that is, the communicative principle of relevance and the cognitive principle of relevance. Information units, specifically topic and focus are coded in various ways in different languages. Word order and prosody are the most common. Some languages use the morphological method. Lambrecht (1998) tested these information units using the information structure theory. Following this, it is worth attempting this analysis using a different theory to see to what extent the two theories merge or differ. The data for this study was collected from narrative books written in Dholuo and analyzed for topic and focus using the relevance theory. The main interest will be on how readers identify the clause/ sentence topic(s). Chapter one introduces the topic under study, the background of the language, the research problem, objectives, hypotheses, the rationale ,scope and limitation, the literature review, the methodology and the significance of the study. Chapter two focuses on the analysis of topic definition, topic identification at the sentence level, topic and word order, topic in discourse and finally topic cohesion and coherence. This chapter aims at describing how the topic is coded in Dholuo narrative texts. Chapter three turns its attention to focus analysis. This chapter defines focus, discusses the various focus structures in general, describes the information focus in discourse and finally explains how focus is marked in Dholuo narrative texts. Chapter four discusses the applications of the relevance theory. Various principles of the relevance theory are applied and tested for their accuracy at identifying the two information units. Finally in chapter five, the summary and conclusions of the study are presented. In addition, the suggestion sand recommendations for further research are also outlined. This chapter also tries to relate the findings to the objectives outlined in chapter one.
University of Nairobi, Kenya