Word Order and Incremental Update

In Proceedings from CLS 39-1. CLS (2003)
The central claim of this paper is that surface-faithful word-by-word update is feasible and desirable, even in languages where word order is supposedly free. As a first step, in sections 1 and 2, I review an argument from Bittner 2001a that semantic composition is not a static process, as in PTQ, but rather a species of anaphoric bridging. But in that case the context-setting role of word order should extend from cross-sentential discourse anaphora to sentence-internal anaphoric composition. This can be spelled out as a two-part hypothesis. First, in all languages anaphoric composition derives incremental updates based on the topological order rather than the syntactic hierarchy. And secondly, rigid vs. free word order is simply rigid vs. free mapping from syntax to topology. To formalize this hypothesis, I first present, in section 3, Sevensorted Logic of Change with Centering. This makes it possible, in section 4, to articulate a system of constraints on basic meanings in Kalaallisut — a polysynthetic language with free word order, ideally suited to test the hypothesis of incremental update. The key assumptions about topology as the input to anaphoric composition are spelled out in section 5, which concludes the development of a general formal framework. This formal framework then serves, in sections 6 through 8, t o explicate topologically based incremental updates for increasingly more complex samples of an actual Kalaallisut text. This reveals ubiquitous patterns of prominence-guided anaphora, in all semantic domains, t o increasingly more complex types of discourse referents. These anaphoric patterns show that the context-setting role of word order indeed does extend from discourse to word-to-word anaphora. And this, in turn, strongly supports the hypothesis of topologically based anaphoric composition. Finally, in section 9 I adduce evidence from English that this hypothesis also holds for languages with rigid word order, albeit the fixed mapping keeps the topology close to the syntax. I conclude that both free and rigid word orders receive a natural account if semantic composition is viewed as topologically based anaphoric bridging..
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive Maria Bittner, Word Order and Incremental Update
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Gerlof J. Bouma & Petra Hendriks (2012). Partial Word Order Freezing in Dutch. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 21 (1):53-73.
Jae Jung Song (2012). Word Order. Cambridge University Press.
Jan van Eijck (2001). Incremental Dynamics. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 10 (3):319-351.
Maria Bittner (2011). Time and Modality Without Tenses or Modals. In Renate Musan & Monika Rathert (eds.), Tense across Languages. Niemeyer 147--188.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

47 ( #102,176 of 1,902,847 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

7 ( #128,380 of 1,902,847 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.