Information Structure and Sentence Form: Topic, Focus, and the Mental Representations of Discourse Referents

Cambridge University Press (1994)
Abstract
Why do speakers of all languages use different grammatical structures under different communicative circumstances to express the same idea? In this comprehensive study, Professor Lambrecht explores the relationship between the structure of sentences and the linguistic and extra-linguistic contexts in which they are used. His analysis is based on the observation that the structure of a sentence reflects a speaker's assumptions about the hearer's state of knowledge and consciousness at the time of the utterance. This relationship between speaker assumptions and formal sentence structure is governed by rules and conventions of grammar, in a component called 'information structure'. Four independent but interrelated categories are analysed: presupposition and assertion, identifiability and activation, topic, and focus.
Keywords Grammar, Comparative and general Sentences  Grammar, Comparative and general Syntax  Discourse analysis  Pragmatics
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Call number P295.L36 1994
ISBN(s) 9780521380560   0521587042   0521380561
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