I am preparing a power point lecture series on the grammar of Nicaraguan Sign Language.  English speaking linguists define the "theme" essentially as the moving figure classifier within the spatial verb.  My Spanish translator last year selected the Spanish word "tema" for "theme".

In sign language grammar, we also discuss the concept of "topicalization" and how a signer can mark "the topic position" (by raising eyebrows, for example).  My translator selected "tematizacion" for "topicalization" and "la posicion del tema" for "the topic position".

So, in English, we have THEME and TOPIC -- two obviously distinct terms.  But, my translator selected TEMA for both terms.  That's rather confusing!

So my question to anyone on the list who can answer this:  Can you recommend two distinct Spanish words for these rather distinct grammatical concepts?

(One possible solution would be to abandon the term "theme" altogether, and just rely on the synonymous phrase "moving figure" ("la figura en movimiento").

-- James



Valerie Sutton
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