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

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 13, 1996 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 408 pages
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Why do languages have so many different ways of expressing the same idea? Professor Lambrecht addresses this question through an investigation of the 'information structure' of sentences. 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. Four independent but inter-related categories are analysed: presupposition and assertion, identifiability and activation, topic, and focus.'It represents the state of the art in functional syntax.' Journal of Linguistics
  

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Contents

Information
36
structure
65
The mental representations of discourse referents
74
topic
117
focus
206
Summary and conclusion
334
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About the author (1996)

Lambrecht is Professor in the Department of French and Italian at the University of Texas at Austin.

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