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Book Information


Title: Shifting the Focus
Subtitle: From Static Structures to the Dynamics of Interpretation
Written By: Daniel Wedgwood
Series Title: Current Research in the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface, Volume 14

How direct is the mapping between linguistic constructions and their
interpretations? Much less direct than we commonly assume, according to
Daniel Wedgwood. Extending current ideas from frameworks like Relevance
Theory and Dynamic Syntax, Wedgwood upholds a radical position on modelling
linguistic competence: the idea of interfacing static syntactic and
semantic representations must be abandoned in favour of models of the
incremental construction of meaning during parsing---which may involve
significant pragmatic enrichment. In illustration, Wedgwood presents a
detailed study of a key meeting point of grammar and pragmatics: focus, in
particular its syntactic expression in Hungarian. The result is a
strikingly simple explanation of a complex set of syntactico-semantic
phenomena, touching on information structure, negation, quantification and
complex predication. For its clear and bold theoretical argumentation and
its novel analysis of some notorious data, this book will be of interest to
all linguists, philosophers and computational linguists concerned with the
relationships between syntax, semantics, pragmatics and information structure.

Table of Contents:
Language and Meaning. Relevance Theory and Implications for Linguistic
Structure. The Hungarian Data. Focus and Grammar. Focus and Quantifier
Distribution. Dynamic Structured Meanings: Predication and Information
Structure. Verbal Modifiers and Main Predication. 'Aspectual Constructions'
and Negation. Summary and Conclusions. Bibliography. Index.

"Wedgwood's book tackles two difficult tasks at once. It makes a radical
contribution to debate about the basic form of linguistic theory and
presents an impressively broad and deep example of specific linguistic

This book will interest anyone concerned with the interrelations of
structure and meaning in natural languages - whether on a philosophical
level or via numerous concrete proposals on issues like the interaction of
information structure with quantification and negation."
-Professor James R Hurford, University of Edinburgh, UK

"A novel and radical dynamic perspective on language, with Hungarian as a
case study. Anyone interested in how the web of syntax and semantics fit
together with properties of general reasoning should not miss out on this
-Professor Ruth Kempson, King's College London

Publication Year: 2005
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics
Issue: All announcements sent out by The LINGUIST List are emailed to our subscribers and archived with the Library of Congress.
Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0080445772
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 312
Prices: U.K. £ 62.99
U.S. $ 99.95
Europe EURO 91.95