Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics: Volume 3
  • ISSN 1572-0268
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0276
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The association that has been made between the discourse notion of grounding (viz. the foreground-background semantic structure) and the Gestalt notions of figure and ground has led to equating foreground with prominence — a surface structure property of discourse. Sorting out the terminological confusion, this article distinguishes grounding from the prominent ways in which it is signalled and shows that prominence is the textual counterpart of the perceptual distinction between figure and ground. It focuses on foregrounding-backgrounding as one manifestation of surface organization that makes linguistic structures more or less prominent, capturing the writer’s choice of a vantage point from which events and states of affairs are perceived and encoded.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): cognition; pragmatics; salience; semantics; text typology
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