The Expression of Information Structure

A documentation of its diversity across Africa

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  • Editors: Ines Fiedler1, and Anne Schwarz2
  • Format: PDF
  • Publication Year: 2010
  • e-Book ISBN 9789027288424

This book analyzes the different patterns found across subsaharan Africa to express information structure. Based on languages from all four African language phyla, it documents the great diversity of linguistic means used to encode information-structural phenomena and is therefore highly relevant for some of the most pertinent questions in modern linguistic theory. The special contribution of this volume is the perspective on a variety of information-structurally related phenomena which go far beyond classical notions such as focus and topic. Detailed investigations are dedicated to so far less discussed focal subcategories, like focus on verbal operators or the thetic-categorical distinction. Finally, the information-structural configuration of unmarked, canonical sentence structures is recognized. The papers provide evidence that the formal means to encode information-structural categories range from means such as morphological markers or syntactic operations, famous in linguistics, to less well-known strategies, such as defocalization rather than focalization.

Subjects: Typology; Semantics; Theoretical linguistics; Syntax

  • Affiliations: 1: Humboldt University, Berlin; 2: Humboldt University, Berlin & James Cook University, Cairns

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