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thematic role Line breaks: the|mat¦ic role

Entry from British & World English dictionary

Definition of thematic role in English:


(In Chomskyan linguistics) any of a set of semantic roles that a noun phrase may have in relation to a verb, for example agent, patient, location, source, or goal. Also called theta role.
Example sentences
  • A number of verbs belonging to each category are analyzed in terms of the thematic roles and grammatical relations undertaken by the noun phrases required by these verbs.
  • A discussion of thematic roles is closely linked to one of the most complex questions ever: what is meaning?
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