Linguistik-Klassifikation: Pragmalinguistik/Kommunikationsforschung / Pragmalinguistics/Communication research
Issues on topics
- The present volume contains papers that bear mainly on issues concerning the topic concept. This concept is of course very broad and diverse. Also, different views are expressed in this volume. Some authors concentrate on the status of topics and non-topics in so-called topic prominent languages (i.e. Chinese), others focus on the syntactic behavior of topical constituents in specific European languages (German, Greek, Romance languages). The last contribution tries to bring together the concept of discourse topic (a non-syntactic notion) and the concept of sentence topic, i.e. that type of topic that all the preceding papers are concerned with.
On the Syntax and Pragmatics Interface : Left-peripheral, Medial and Right-peripheral Focus in Greek
- The present paper explores the extent to which narrow syntax is responsible for the computation of discourse functions such as focus/topic. More specifically, it challenges the claim that language approximates ‘perfection’ with respect to economy, conceptual necessity and optimality in design by reconsidering the roles and interactions of the different modules of the grammar, in particular of syntax and phonology and the mapping between the two, in the representation of pragmatic notions. Empirical and theoretical considerations strongly indicate that narrow syntax is ‘blind’ to properties and operations involving the interpretive components — that is, PF and LF. As a result, syntax-phonology interface rules do not ‘see’ everything in the levels they connect. In essence, the architecture of grammar proposed here from the perspective of focus marking necessitates the autonomy of the different levels of grammar, presupposing that NS is minimally structured only when liberated from any non-syntactic/discourse implementations, i.e., movement operations to satisfy both interface needs. As a result, the model articulated here totally dispenses with discourse projections, i.e. FocusP.
Analysis of a Cayuga Particle : ne:' as a Focus Marker
- A feature of the Northern Iroquoian languages is their especially rich inventory of particles. This paper is concerned with one particle in the Cayuga language which has a widespread distribution and performs a broad range of apparently unrelated functions. The particle ne:' is commonly .translated as 'it is/that is', 'this' or ' that'. In other instances it is translated as predominant stress, or is simply omitted in the translation. The particle can occur in almost any syntactic or semantic environment, but it is not obligatory in any context. The various functions that have been suggested in the literature include indication of declarative mood and assertion, marking of emphasis, focus or contrast, and expression of predicative and deictic force. I argue that the particle ne:' can be described successfully if its distribution is considered from a wider perspective, taking into account discourse structure and variation in scope. Its analysis as a focus marker can account for the variety of apparently unrelated functions. The analysis is based on a detailed study of the particle' s distribution in spoken language using a database of five Cayuga texts by four different speakers, including three narratives, one procedural text and a children 's version of a ceremonial text.
A preliminary bibliography on focus
- [I]n its present form, the bibliography contains approximately 1100 entries. Bibliographical work is never complete, and the present one is still modest in a number of respects. It is not annotated, and it still contains a lot of mistakes and inconsistencies. It has nevertheless reached a stage which justifies considering the possibility of making it available to the public. The first step towards this is its pre-publication in the form of this working paper. […]
The bibliography is less complete for earlier years. For works before 1970, the bibliographies of Firbas and Golkova 1975 and Tyl 1970 may be consulted, which have not been included here.
Russian predicative clefts : tensions between semantics and pragmatics
- Russian predicate cleft constructions have the surprising property of being associated with adversative clauses of the opposite polarity. I argue that clefts are associated with adversative clauses because they have the semantics of S-Topics in Büring's (1997, 2000) sense of the term. It is shown that the polarity of the adversative clause is obligatorily opposed to that of the cleft because the use of a cleft gives rise to a relevance-based pragmatic scale. The ordering principle according to which these scale