Visit www.benjamins.com

Topic Continuity in Discourse

A quantitative cross-language study

MyBook is a cheap paperback edition of the original book and will be sold at uniform, low price.

Buy this e-book

Personal Price: £46.00+Taxes
(Purchase for institutional use at £118.00 + taxes by logging in as an institutional administrator)
Add to favourites
image of Topic Continuity in Discourse
Abstract

The functional notion of “topic” or “topicality” has suffered, traditionally, from two distinct drawbacks. First, it has remained largely ill defined or intuitively defined. And second, quite often its definition boiled down to structure-dependent circularity. This volume represents a major departure from past practices, without rejecting both their intuitive appeal and the many good results yielded by them. First, “topic” and “topicality” are re-analyzed as a scalar property, rather than as an either/or discrete prime. Second, the graded property of “topicality” is firmly connected with sensible cognitive notions culled from gestalt psychology, such as “predictability” or “continuity”. Third, we develop and utilize precise measures and quantified methods by which the property of “topicality” of clausal arguments can be studied in connected discourse, and thus be properly hinged in its rightful context, that of topic identification, maintenance and recoverability in discourse. Fourth, we show that many grammatical phenomena which used to be studied by linguists in isolation, all partake in one functional domain of grammar, that of topic identification. Finally, we demonstrate the validity of this new approach to the study of “topic” and “topicality” by applying the same text-based quantifying method to a number of typologically-diverse languages, in studying actual texts. Languages studied here are: Written and spoken English, spoken Spanish, Biblical Hebrew, Amharic, Hausa, Japanese, Chamorro and Ute.

Subjects: Discourse studies; Theoretical linguistics; Functional linguistics; Pragmatics

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Oregon

References

http://jbenjamins.metastore.ingenta.com/content/books/9789027280251
Loading
Chapters loading Please wait...
/content/books/9789027280251
dcterms_subject,pub_keyword
6
3
Loading
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address