The notion of topic is used in different ways. One important distinction is between sentence topic (what is predicated about an entity in a sentence) and discourse topic (what a part of a discourse is about).
Mr. Morgan is a careful researcher and a knowledgeable Semiticist, but his originality leaves something to be desired.
Sentence topic: Mr. Morgan.
Discourse topic: Mr. Morgan’s scholarly abilities.
The example shows that a discourse topic is not simply a noun phrase of a sentence. It is the proposition (expressed as a phrase or a sentence), about which the claim is made or elicited (similar to the title of discourse). It summarizes, reduces, organizes, and categorizes the semantics.
Peter is going to Paris next week.
The topic framework represents a combination of elements derived from the activated physical context (time and place, facts about the speaker and the hearer), and from the discourse fragment itself (people, places, entities, events, facts, etc.) often previously mentioned in the discourse.
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