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LINGUIST List 20.2580

Wed Jul 22 2009

Diss: Psycholing/Syntax: Slioussar: 'Grammar and Information...'

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        1.    Natalia Slioussar, Grammar and Information Structure: A study with reference to Russian

Message 1: Grammar and Information Structure: A study with reference to Russian
Date: 21-Jul-2009
From: Natalia Slioussar <slioussargmail.com>
Subject: Grammar and Information Structure: A study with reference to Russian
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Institution: Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS
Program: International PhD programme in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Natalia Slioussar

Dissertation Title: Grammar and Information Structure: A study with reference to Russian

Dissertation URL: http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl/dissertations/2007-0704-200710/UUindex.html

Linguistic Field(s): Psycholinguistics

Subject Language(s): Russian (rus)

Dissertation Director:
Eric J. Reuland
Tatiana Chernigovskaya
Frank Wijnen

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis is dedicated to the study of information structure (IS). One
must distinguish between the IS represented in the discourse mental model
and IS as encoded in the grammar, which indirectly reflects the former (as
the tense system of the language indirectly reflects our mental
representation of time). This dissertation addresses the nature of the
interface between the two: what information from the discourse IS system
gets encoded in the grammatical IS system and by what means, and what
information is lost? To answer it, IS-related word order variation and
prosodic phenomena are analyzed (with data primarily from Russian).

This thesis shows that IS notions in the grammar are relational (such as
'more or less accessible': A is more accessible than B) rather than
categorical (such as 'given' or 'new': A is given, B is new). A model
capable of encoding and interpreting such notions is developed. Crucially,
relational notions cannot be encoded by means of IS features as used in the
literature so far, which constitutes an important argument for
configurational and against feature-based IS models. The resulting model
relies on syntactic configurations, and prosodic IS phenomena are deduced
from them. This sets it apart from other configurational IS theories.
Finally, a novel account of the relation between the subject and the Tense
domain (the role of the EPP-feature) is proposed for Russian.

This dissertation is of relevance to scholars in the field of information
structure, as well as to linguists working on the syntax-discourse and
syntax-prosody interfaces and on the EPP.

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