Foregrounding gives prominence to some elements of the text by interrupting the pattern of predictability and introducing some unexpected changes. This unexpected change may be created either by extra-regularities or by extra-irregularities or by a combination of both. MAK Halliday describes foregrounding as "prominence that is motivated".
The main functions of foregrounding in a poetic text are as follows:
- It establishes the hierarchy of meanings and themes, bringing some to the fore and shifting others to the background. In this way it helps the reader to steer "between the twin rocks of intuition and objectivity".
- Foregrounding provides structural cohesion between the whole text and its elements of various levels, beginning with the lowest and ending with the highest (i.e. including the phonetical level and that of composition), and also within parts of the text.,,
- It enhances the aesthetic response and emotional involvement of the reader and provides memorability, i.e. helps the reader to remember what he has read.
- It protects the message from noise (interference) by helping the reader to guess thе meaning and function of elements hitherto unknown to him.
The notion of foregrounding is more comprehensive than that of a stylistic dc ice. If we accept the idea that stylistic devices form a specific level - and this point of view seems to be accepted.-, we may claim that foregrounding constitutes the next higher level, because its units are constituted by stylistic devices and figures of speech 3 and cover bigger parts of texts or even whole texts.
To sum up: we shall mean by foregrounding the presence in the text of some formal signals achieved by contextual organisation, focussing the reader's attention on some elements in the contents of the message, and establishing meaningful relations between juxtaposed or distant elements of the same or different levels and the text as a whole.
Types of foregrounding: defeated expectancy, convergency, coupling and repetition.