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Language Planning as a Sociolinguistic Experiment

By: Ernst Jahr

Provides richly detailed insight into the uniqueness of the Norwegian language development. Marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Norwegian nation following centuries of Danish rule


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Acquiring Phonology: A Cross-Generational Case-Study

By Neil Smith

The study also highlights the constructs of current linguistic theory, arguing for distinctive features and the notion 'onset' and against some of the claims of Optimality Theory and Usage-based accounts.


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Language Production and Interpretation: Linguistics meets Cognition

By Henk Zeevat

The importance of Henk Zeevat's new monograph cannot be overstated. [...] I recommend it to anyone who combines interests in language, logic, and computation [...]. David Beaver, University of Texas at Austin


Book Information

   

Title: Information Status and Noncanonical Word Order In English
Written By: BettyJ.Birner
Series Title: Studies in Language Companion Series 40
Description:

This work provides a comprehensive discourse-functional account of three classes of noncanonical constituent placement in English - preposing, postposing, and argument reversal - and shows how their interaction is accounted for in a principled and predictive way. In doing so, it details the variety of ways in which information can be 'given' or new' and shows how an understanding of this variety allows us to account for the distribution of these constructions in discourse. Moreover, the authors show that there exist broad and empirically verifiable functional correspondences within classes of syntactically similar constructions. Relying heavily on corpus data, the authors identify three interacting dimensions along which individual constructions may vary with respect to the pragmatic constraints to which they are sensitive: old vs. new information, relative vs. absolute familiarity, and discourse- vs. hearer-familiarity. They show that preposed position is reserved for information that is linked to the prior discourse by means of a contextually licensed partially-ordered set relationship; postposed position is reserved for information that is 'new' in one of a small number of distinct senses; and argument-reversing constructions require that the information represented by the preverbal constituent be at least as familiar within the discourse as that represented by the postverbal constituent. Within each of the three classes of constructions, individual constructions vary with respect to whether they are sensitive to familiarity within the discourse or (assumed) familiarity within the hearer's knowledge store. Thus, although the individual constructions in question are subject to distinct constraints, this work provides empirical evidence for the existence of strong correlations between sentence position and information status. The final chapter presents crosslinguistic data showing that these correlations are not limited to English.

Publication Year: 1998
Publisher: John Benjamins
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
Syntax
Subject Language(s): English
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Versions:
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 1556199260
ISBN-13: 9781556199264
Pages: 314 p
Prices: U.S.$ 155
 
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9027230439
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 314 p
Prices: NLG 138,--