Informational and referential hierarchy

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This paper analyses clause-linking strategies in mostly Austronesian languages, with particular focus on the functions of informational and referential hierarchy strategies in the architecture of complex clauses. Informational (topic, focus) hierarchy and its markers, structure clauses as subordinate via the contrast between presupposition vs. assertion. Referential hierarchy and its markers (endophoric demonstratives and definite markers), are another subordinating strategy based on the contrast between already referential/backgrounded clause vs. asserted main clause. Paths of evolution leading from coordinators or from endophoric demonstratives to informational hierarchy markers and to subordinating conjunctions or constructions are more specifically discussed. It is argued that informational hierarchy and referential hierarchy strategies are inherent to the syntactic architecture of the complex clause.


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