This label describes what something is about or in regard to. Contrast Content, which applies to the message or thought itself.1

A variety of prepositions—including the vast majority of occurrences of about—can mark a Topic. The following subclasses warrant Topic as the scene role:

1. Communication scenes: the content or subject matter of speech, writing, art, performance, etc.#

  • I gave a presentation/spoke about/on politics. 001

  • They wouldn’t stop arguing over the plan. 002

  • I was accused of treason. 003

  • a picture of Whistler’s mother 004

  • two counts of making false statements 048

  • three copies/versions of the test 005

  • TopicIdentity—see discussion at Identity:

    • the topic/issue/question of semantics 006

    • the idea of raising money 007

  • The ratings/reviews for this film are atrocious. 008

  • I did not hazard a guess as_to the cause. 009

2. Cognition scenes: the content or subject matter of thought and knowledge—belief, opinion, decision, learning, study, interest, expertise, skill, etc.#

  • Try not to think about it. 010

  • We took a minute to think/ponder over the situation. 011

  • I plan on going again. 012

  • I am focused on the task at hand. 013

  • There is not enough research on the effects of global warming. 014

  • She was dumbfounded as_to why the police had done that. 015

  • Think of all the possibilities! 016

  • I have no memory of the incident. 017

  • I am aware of the problem. 018

  • You can have your choice of chicken or fish. 019

  • I disagree with that statement. 020

  • I am familiar with this topic. 021

  • Are you interested in politics/going to the party? 022

  • I’m confident in your abilities. 023

  • My daughter excels in/at sports. 024

  • I’m an expert/talented/good at baking cookies. 025

  • I wouldn’t hesitate in seeing a doctor. [but see Circumstance#002 under Circumstance, which is syntactically parallel] 026

3. Relations of regard: the entity, issue, or aspect that the governing predicate pertains to. The relation to the governor may be somewhat loose, skirting the boundary between semantics and information structure.#

  • Be reasonable with your expectations! 027

  • They are transparent with their fee. 028

  • The discount should apply with other restaurants too. 029

  • I approached the manager about the poor service. [implied communication] 030

  • I am a big baby about needles. [implied cognition] 031

  • The owner wouldn’t budge on the price. 032

  • They came through on all of their promises. 033

  • She did not do the right thing for an item that was marked incorrectly. 034

  • I’m fast at baking cookies. [cf. #025] 035

  • They have almost anything you could want when_it_comes_to/in_terms_of spy and surveillance equipment . 036

A few specific governors merit further discussion:


answer, respond, etc.#

For respond with and similar, it depends whether the object is an action, a device facilitating communication, or some aspect of transferred information:

problem with, experience with, etc.#

These are simply Topic:

  • There was/We had a problem with mice in the basement. 045

  • I have limited experience with numerical methods. 046

  • I had a bad experience/my bad experience with a vampire. 047

See also: Stimulus

Counterpart: Experiencer

  1. For example, his claim about the moon landing is Topic, whereas his claim that the moon landing was faked is Content

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Supercategory: Theme