I have read several linguistic accounts of the particle は that claim it has two fundamental uses:
- To indicate the theme/topic of the discourse (assuming that the speaker can take for granted that the audience understands what he is specifically referring to , ie, the theme is anaphoric or generic).
- To indicate contrast.
None of these accounts ever discuss what happens when you have particle + は situations. For example, situations like:
- Noun + で + は
- Sentence + まで + は
- Sentence + て + は
My question is, in situations like those above (phrase + particle + は), can は take the thematic meaning or is it restricted to the contrastive meaning? Or perhaps its meaning is altogether different and particle combinations like では, までは, ては, and には should be considered separate entities?