Degrees of Explicitness

Information structure and the packaging of Bulgarian subjects and objects

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This book explores factors relevant in the choices speakers and writers make in regard to explicitness of reference to the subjects and objects in their utterances. Bulgarian is a particularly felicitous target language for this type of study, since it possesses a rich inventory of available packaging techniques, ranging from zero reference, to various stressed and unstressed single forms, to actual doubled (“reduplicated”) constructions. The study systematically addresses the need to avoid referential and grammatical ambiguity, and the crucial influence of emphasis. Another, and perhaps most interesting central factor is the status of what the communication is about, which is assessed on two different levels. The book makes use of data from both published Bulgarian fiction and naturally occurring oral conversations. The fundamental similarities between these modes of communication with respect to noun phrase selection is demonstrated, but explanations are also proposed for the observable differences.

Subjects: Slavic linguistics; Pragmatics; Semantics; Syntax

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Arizona

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