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thematic role

SYNTAX: thematic roles are semantic roles in a system which takes location and movement through space as (some of) the key notion in the interpretation of natural language sentences. EXAMPLE: the sentence Don gives Ed a donut is about a relocation or transfer of a donut (the Theme) from Don (the Source) to Ed (the Goal). In syntactic theory thematic roles are usually referred to as Theta-roles with not much concern for their content. See Thematic theory.
LIT. Fillmore, C.J. (1968)
Gruber, J. (1965)
Jackendoff, R. (1990)