Thematic Structure in Chinese and Spanish: A Contrastive Analysis to Be Applied in Foreign Language Teaching and Translation


  • Sara Rovira-Esteva Autonomous University of Barcelona
  • Shiyang Liu Beijing Foreign Studies University



topic, comment, thematic structure, Chinese, Spanish, Chinese as a foreign language, didactics of translation


Although the concept of theme or topic has been widely researched both in Chinese and Spanish, no studies have been carried out about their thematic structure from the perspective of contrastive linguistics. Taking Loar’s theory (2011) as a starting point, we have carried out a contrastive analysis and the results show that Chinese has not only a higher tendency to use topicalised constructions than Spanish, but also a wider range of constructions of this type. Both languages can use topicalisers and have also in common the word classes that can occupy the topic position. Nevertheless, Spanish is more flexible regarding the position of the topic. All these aspects are illustrated with numerous examples offering possible equivalents between this language pair. Therefore, this study can help to fill in a gap in both the field of Chinese as a foreign language and didactics of translation.

= 109 veces | PDF
= 116 veces| | HTML
= 0 veces|


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Sara Rovira-Esteva, Autonomous University of Barcelona

Ph.D in Translation Theory. Main professor in Translation, Interpretation and East Asian Studies Department. Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.

Shiyang Liu, Beijing Foreign Studies University

Ph.D. in Translation and Intercultural Studies, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.


I., y Gutiérrez-Rexach, J. (2009). Fundamentos de sintaxis formal. Madrid: Akal Ediciones.

Chafe, W. (1976). Givenness, contrastiveness, definiteness, subjects, topics and points of view. En C. Li y S. A. Thompson (Eds.), Subject and Topic: A New Typology of Language (pp. 25-56). Nueva York: Academic Press.

Chu, C. C. (1996). Source and management: Two tiers of information structure. En T. F. Cheng y H. J. Zhang (Eds.), Proceedings of NACCL-7 and ICCL- 4, Volume 1: Pragmatics, Syntax and Semantics (pp. 37-53). Los Angeles: GSIL, University of Southern California.

Contreras, H. (1983). El orden de palabras en español. Madrid: Cátedra.

Espasa (2010). Nueva gramática de la lengua española. Madrid: Espasa.

Global Asia. (2013). Mondragón: excelencia empresarial en China. Global Asia, 34, 18-21.

Gutiérrez Ordónez, S. (1997). Principios de sintaxis funcional. Madrid: Arco Libros.

Gutiérrez Ordónez, S. (2000). Temas, remas, focos, tópicos y comentarios. Madrid: Arco Libros.

Halliday, M. A. K. (2004). An Introduction to Functional Gramar. Londres: Arnold.

Hernanz, M. L., y Brucart, J. M. (1987). La sintaxis. Barcelona: Editorial Crítica.

Huang, C. J. (1982). Logical Relations in Chinese and Thetheory of Grammar. Cambridge: MIT.

Lambrecht, K. (1994). Information structure and sentence form. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lao She (老舍). (2000). Luotuo Xiangzi(骆驼祥子[Camello Xiangzi]. Beijing: Renmin wenxue chubanshe.

Lee, W.-T., y Marco Martínez, C. (1987). Gramática de la lengua china. Taipei: NTIC.

Li, C. N., y Thompson, S. A. (1976). Subject and Topic. Nueva York: Academic Press.

Li, C. N., y Thompson, S. A. (1981). Mandarin Chinese: A functional Reference Grammar. Londres: University of California Press.

Li, K. (2014). Informe sobre la labor del gobierno. Recuperado de:

Loar, J. K. (2011). Chinese Syntactic Grammar. Nueva York: Peter Lang.

Lu Sin. [Lu Xun] (鲁迅). (1973). Nahan (呐喊) [Grito de llamada]. Beijing: Renmin Wenxue Chubanshe.

Lu Sin. [Lu Xun]. (1978). Grito de llamada. Trad. J. I. Shiao. Madrid: Alfaguara.

Mathesius, V. (1939). Functional sentence perspective. Prague: Academia.

Mo Yan. (2007). Grandes pechos amplias caderas. Madrid: Kailas. Trad. M. Peyrou.

Mo Yan (莫言). (2012). Fengru Feitun (丰乳肥臀) [Grandes pechos amplias caderas]. Shanghai: Shanghai Wenyi Chubanshe.

Mora, David. (2013). .Está tu hotel preparado para el turismo chino? Global Asia, 34, 55-57.

Rodríguez Ramalle, T. M. (2005). Manual de sintaxis del español. Madrid: Castalia.

Sun, Kun (孙坤). (2013). Huati lian zai yinghan pianzhang fanyi zhong de yingyong celue yu moshi (话题链在英汉篇章翻译中的应用策略与模式) [Estrategias y modelos de aplicación de la cadena de tópico en la traducción de discurso ingléschino].

Waiyu yu waiyu jiaoxue (外语与外语教学) [Lenguas extranjeras y su didáctica], 1, 268-271.

Tsao, Feng-fu. (1977). A functional study of topic in Chinese: The first step toward discourse analysis (Tesis doctoral), University of Southern California, EE. UU.

Xinhua Net (新华网). (2014). Shixian zhongdong heping de san guo fangan Aobama xu fansi zhongdong zhanlüe (实现中东和平的“三国方案” 奥巴马 需反思中东战略) [Para realizar el plan pacífico del Medio Oriente de “tres países” Obama necesita reflexionar sobre la estrategia en Medio Oriente]. Recuperado de:

Xu, Lina (徐莉娜). (2010). Fanyi zhong zhuti ju quxiang de yuyong guandian (翻译中主题句取向的语用视点) [Traducción de la oración de tópico, una aproximación pragmática]. Waiyu Yanjiu (外语研究). Foreign Languages Research, 3, 71-78.

Zubizarreta, M. L. (1999). Las funciones informativas: tema y foco. En I. Bosque y V. Demonte (Eds.), Gramática descriptiva de la lengua española (vol. 3, pp. 4215- 4244). Madrid: Espasa.




How to Cite

Rovira-Esteva, S., & Liu, S. (2016). Thematic Structure in Chinese and Spanish: A Contrastive Analysis to Be Applied in Foreign Language Teaching and Translation. Íkala, Revista De Lenguaje Y Cultura, 21(2), 189–202.



Theoretical Articles