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Beyond the given

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Abstract

This paper argues for the discursive pertinence of utterance elements receiving prosodic prominence, and against a one-to-one iconic relationship between “new” vs. “given” information on the one hand and presence/absence of pitch accent on the other. The prevalent “information flow” approach ignores the choices offered the speaker to structure the content of his discourse by prosodic means. We focus instead on the role prosody plays in the thematic construction of discourse (as outlined in Schaefer 2001) and the strategies employed by the utterer to win the adherence of the colocutor to his point of view. The Theory of Enunciative Operations accommodates such uses of prosody, where the melody affected to utterance elements is basic to the construction of meaning.

References

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