Thematic Structure in Barack Obama’s Press Conference: A Systemic Functional Grammar Study

Heri Kuswoyo


This article looks into the theme – rheme pattern of presidential press conference that can be employed by speakers to organize the text in order to have a texture. Since a message should be conveyed in clause contextually and co-textually. Therefore, the objectives of this study are to analyze and describe the theme-rheme pattern employed in President Barack Obama’s press conferences. The collected data are taken from Barack Obama’s speeches in his press conferences on January 14th and October 8th 2013. The collected data are analyzed based on the theory of Systemic Functional Grammar put forward by Halliday. The method and technique used in this study are an analytic descriptive. This descriptive research finds (1) two kinds of theme-rheme pattern; namely; simple theme-rheme patterns and multiple theme-rheme patterns. The simple theme-rheme patterns contain constant theme pattern, linear theme or zig-zag pattern, and derived theme-rheme pattern, and the multiple ones contain combination of constant theme and constant rheme, combination of constant and linear theme, combination of split and constant themes and another pattern is proposed by the researcher himself, namely derived rheme. The findings show that (2) the combination of constant and linear theme patterns is distributed most in both press conferences. In the contrary, combination of constant and split theme is only found once. To sum up, thematic structure can be used in developing of a text and making the message easily to be understood. Besides, it also can be used to have an effective communication to achieve specifiable goals.

Keywords: Thematic Structure, Press Conference, Systemic Functional Grammar

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