- English (4) (remove)
- Functional similarities between bimanual coordination and topic/comment structure (2007)
- Human manual action exhibits a differential use of a non-dominant (typically, left) and a dominant (typically, right) hand. Human communication exhibits a pervasive structuring of utterances into topic and comment. I will point out striking similarities between the coordination of hands in bimanual actions, and the structuring of utterances in topics and comments. I will also show how principles of bimanual coordination influence the expression of topic/comment structure in sign languages and in gestures accompanying spoken language, and suggest that bimanual coordination might have been a preadaptation of the development of information structure in human communication.
- Nominal reference, temporal constitution and quantification in event semantics (1989)
- It is by now a weIl-known topic in semantics that there are striking similarities between the meanings of nominal and verbal expressions, insofar as the mass:count distinction in the nominal domain is reflected in the atelic:telic distinction in the verbal domain (cf. Leisi 1953, Taylor 1977, Bach 1986, to cite just a few authors). However, these supposed similarities have not be made explicit in formal representations.
- Introduction (2007)
- Basic notions of information structure (2007)
- This article takes stock of the basic notions of Information Structure (IS). It first provides a general characterization of IS — following Chafe (1976) — within a communicative model of Common Ground (CG), which distinguishes between CG content and CG management. IS is concerned with those features of language that concern the local CG. Second, this paper defines and discusses the notions of Focus (as indicating alternatives) and its various uses, Givenness (as indicating that a denotation is already present in the CG), and Topic (as specifying what a statement is about). It also proposes a new notion, Delimitation, which comprises contrastive topics and frame setters, and indicates that the current conversational move does not entirely satisfy the local communicative needs. It also points out that rhetorical structuring partly belongs to IS.