The topic of a sentence is what the sentence is discussing. Contrast with focus.

The term "topic" can be defined in a number of different ways. Among the most common are

  1. The phrase in a clause that the rest of the clause is understood to be about,
  2. The phrase in a discourse that the rest of the discourse is understood to be about,
  3. A special position in a clause (often at the right or left-edge of the clause) where topics typically appear.

In Hilinqwo, as in English, the topic is generally the subject of the sentence. Consider these sentences:

Kanos bidat puißom. The dog bit the young girl.
Puißos bidtat kanom. The young girl was bitten by the dog.

These sentences mean the same thing—the dog is the agent and the young girl is the patient. However, they have different topics. The first sentence talks about the dog with active voice, while the second sentence discusses the young girl with passive voice.

We generally recommend that Hilinqwists put the topic at the beginning of the sentence. Given the fluid rules on word order, the Hilinqwist is encouraged to use the sentence structure that best fits his culture. Consider the following sentences:

Topic Voice English Order Subject-Object-Verb Order
Dog Active Kanos bidat puißom. Kanos puißom bidat.
Girl Active Puißom bidat kanos. Puißom kanos bidat.
Girl Passive Puißos bidtat kanom. Puißos kanom bidtat.

These sentences all express the same basic fact: An agent (a dog) committed an action (biting) on a patient (a young girl). However, by varying the topic and voice, we can vary the emphasis and tone of the sentence. Furthermore, we can rearrange the words to an order that is more familiar to our audience without losing any meaning. If we are speaking these sentences instead of writing them, we can put primary emphasis on the topic and secondary emphasis on the focus.

Some information for this article from Wikipedia.