Information Structure and Sentence Form: Topic, Focus, and the Mental Representations of Discourse Referents
Why do speakers of all languages use different grammatical structures under different communicative circumstances to express the same idea? Professor Lambrecht explores the relationship between the structure of the sentence and the linguistic and extra-linguistic context in which it is used. His analysis is based on the observation that the structure of a sentence reflects a speaker's assumption 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.
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The mental representations of discourse referents
Summary and conclusion
accented constituent accessible active referents addressee allosentences analysis anaphoric animacy antitopic argument argument-focus assertion assumed Chafe Charles Fillmore cognitive construal Construction Grammar construed contrast correlation definite deictic denotata denotatum detached difference discourse function discourse referents discourse-active discussion distinction element English entity event-reporting example fact focus accent focus constituent focus domain focus marking focus relation focus structure formal given hearer identifiable inactive indefinite information structure information-structure interpretation Italian languages lexical linguistic markedness mental representations morpheme morphosyntactic necessarily non-topical notion noun phrase open proposition phrasal pitch accent position postverbal pragmatic relation pragmatically presupposed pragmatically structured predicate predicate-focus present presupposed proposition presuppositional structure principle pronoun proposition expressed prosodic prominence prosodic structure question referential relationship relative clause relevant role Section semantic sentence accent sentence-focus speaker status subject NP syntax thetic sentences topic constituents topic expression topic NP topic referent topic-comment unaccented pronominal universe of discourse unmarked utterance verb phrase