Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

Vowel Length From Latin to Romance

By Michele Loporcaro

This book "draws on extensive empirical data, including from lesser known varieties" and "puts forward a new account of a well-known diachronic phenomenon."


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Letter Writing and Language Change

Edited By Anita Auer, Daniel Schreier, and Richard J. Watts

This book "challenges the assumption that there is only one 'legitimate' and homogenous form of English or of any other language" and "supports the view of different/alternative histories of the English language and will appeal to readers who are skeptical of 'standard' language ideology."


Book Information

   
Sun Image

Title: The Discourse Function of Inversion in English
Written By: Betty J. Birner
Description:

The author argues that inversion (exemplified by such clauses as "in the garden sat a rabbit") serves an information-packaging function, linking relatively unfamiliar and relatively familiar information in the discourse. An examination of over 1,700 naturally-occurring inversions shows that the preposed constituent in a felicitous inversion never represents newer information within the discourse than does the postposed constituent. Moreover, information that has not been explicitly evoked in the prior discourse but which isnonetheless inferable in context is found to have the same distribution in inversion as does explicitly evoked information; both are treated as familiar within the discourse. Furthermore, the main verb in an inversion is shown to be subject to a pragmatic constraint to the effect that it not represent new information within the discourse. By demonstrating a rigorous correlation between a well-defined type of giveness and constituent position within a particular syntactic construction, this study sheds light on the complex relationship between information status and word order. This detailed study of discourse-functional constraints on the use of a marked syntactic construction, it will be of interest to researchers in both syntax and discourse.

Publication Year: 1997
Publisher: Garland Publishers
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
Syntax
Subject Language(s): English
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.

Versions:
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0815325568
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 208
Prices: $55