LINGUIST List 8.1169

Tue Aug 12 1997

Books: Discourse

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <>

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Message 1: New Books: Discourse

Date: Mon, 11 Aug 1997 14:15:08 -0400
From: Tony Schiavo <>
Subject: New Books: Discourse

John Benjamins Publishing would like to call your attention to the
following new titles in the field of Discourse:

Ritva Laury
1997 viii, 294 pp. Studies in Discourse and Grammar, 7
US/Canada: Cloth: 1 55619 373 4 Price: US$69.00
Rest of the world: Cloth: 90 272 2617 2 Price: Hfl. 125,--
John Benjamins Publishing web site:
For further information via e-mail:

This book concerns one of the paradigm examples of grammaticalization,
the development of a definite article from a demonstrative
determiner. Although standard written Finnish has no articles, the
demonstrative 'se' is currently emerging as a definite article in
spoken Finnish. This book describes and explains the developing use of
'se' based on a database consisting of spoken narratives from three
different periods spanning the last one hundred years.

The author proposes that the development from demonstrative to article
has its roots in the way that speakers ordinarily use demonstratives
in conversation, and provides an analysis of the use of 'se' and the
two other Finnish demonstratives, 'tama' and 'tuo' in a corpus of
multi-party conversations, showing that speakers of Finnish use
demonstratives to focus attention on important referents and to
express and negotiate access to them in the interactive context of
ongoing talk, and not primarily to talk about how near or far
referents are. The development of se into a general marker of
identifiability is shown to be connected with both the focusing
function of demonstratives as well as its use for referents which the
speaker considers accessible to the addressee.

Hongyin Tao
1996 xvi, 226 pp. Studies in Discourse & Grammar, 5
US/Canada: Cloth: 1 55619 371 8 Price: $77.00
Rest of the world: Cloth: 90 272 2615 6 Price: Hfl. 135,--
John Benjamins Publishing web site:
For further information via e-mail:

This book provides a new way of studying grammar. The basic thrust of
the book is to investigate grammar based on a prosodic unit, the
intonation unit (IU), in spontaneous speech. The author challenges the
dominant practice in the study of syntax, which has been to focus on
the unit of the artificially constructed sentence. The book shows that
some basic notions developed from sentence-level data often do not
account well for speech data. For example, in many versions of
syntactic theory, the basic syntactic structure of any sentence is
assumed to comprise both an NP and a VP (with variations in
terminology). However the author shows that a Mandarin sentence in
spoken discourse can consist of a lone NP or a transitive verbal
expression without any explicit argument (which is not due to
anaphora). Although the book concerns Mandarin discourse and grammar,
it will be of interest to students of a wide range of fields,
including discourse analysis, syntax, conversation analysis, prosodic
studies, and typological studies.

Heidrun Dorgeloh (ed.)
1997 x, 224 pp. Studies in Discourse and Grammar, 6
US/Canada: Cloth: 1 55619 372 6 Price: $69.00
Rest of the world: Cloth: 90 272 2616 4 Price: Hfl. 125,--
John Benjamins Publishing web site:
For further information via e-mail:

The book offers a comprehensive study of the different forms of
subject-verb and subject-auxiliary-inversion in Modern English
declarative sentences. It treats inversion as a speaker-based decision
for reordering within a fairly rigid word order system and identifies
the meaning of the construction in terms of point of view and speaker
subjectivity. This semantic claim is tested against the occurrence, as
well as the absence, of the different forms of inversion in natural
discourse. The analysis of the pragmatics and discourse function of
inversion is based on the LOB and the Brown corpus and takes into
account various textual relations: British and American English,
written mode, style, text type, genre. The results suggest a strong
affinity with the greater or lesser subjectivity of a text: the
construction is a marker of interpersonal meaning. Provided the
context is one of relative unexpectedness, it additionally becomes a
discourse marker, which points to the limited value of quantitative
corpus data in functional syntax.

For further information please e-mail
Bernadette Keck:
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