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Voice Quality

By John H. Esling, Scott R. Moisik, Allison Benner, Lise Crevier-Buchman

Voice Quality "The first description of voice quality production in forty years, this book provides a new framework for its study: The Laryngeal Articulator Model. Informed by instrumental examinations of the laryngeal articulatory mechanism, it revises our understanding of articulatory postures to explain the actions, vibrations and resonances generated in the epilarynx and pharynx."

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Let's Talk

By David Crystal

Let's Talk "Explores the factors that motivate so many different kinds of talk and reveals the rules we use unconsciously, even in the most routine exchanges of everyday conversation."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Cognitive Status, Discourse Salience, and Information Structure: Evidence from Irish and Oromo Add Dissertation
Author: Ann Mulkern Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Minnesota, Linguistics
Completed in: 2003
Linguistic Subfield(s): Pragmatics; Syntax;
Subject Language(s): Irish
Oromo, Eastern
Director(s): Nancy Stenson

Abstract: This dissertation examines the interaction of syntax and pragmatics, focusing on some specific phenomena in Irish and Oromo. I argue that the best way to account for these phenomena is by assuming the existence of information structure (IS) as a separate component of grammar.

Adopting the framework of Lambrecht (1994), the elements of the IS component represent three types: (i) presupposition and assertion, (ii) identifiability and activation, having to do with the cognitive status of the mental representations of discourse referents, and (iii) the relational elements of topic and focus. In place of the theory of reference used by Lambrecht for (ii), I use the Givenness Hierarchy proposed by Gundel, Hedberg, and Zacharski (1993), which identifies six implicationally related cognitive statuses relevant for explaining the use of different types of nominal expressions in all languages. Using data from naturally occurring Irish discourses, I show that the Givenness Hierarchy can be used to account for the use of referring expressions in Irish.

Based on a proposal by Clamons, Mulkern, and Sanders (1993), I identify two types of relative salience associated with entities in a discourse: inherent salience, determined by the history of the discourse, and imposed salience, indicating the importance or foregrounding the speaker chooses to give to particular discourse entities. The notion of imposed salience is used in developing more precise characterizations of contrast and emphasis. Using these characterizations, three particular pronominal forms in Irish, which signal the same cognitive status for their referents, are shown to differ in what they signal about the relative discourse salience of their referents. I also show that the phenomenon of object preposing in Oromo is a strategy for imposing salience on the object, sensitive to the relative inherent salience of the subject and object.

I argue that analyses of pronoun postposing in Irish appealing exclusively to syntactic processes are inherently inadequate, showing that the phenomenon follows from the association of the syntactic structure with the IS elements of presupposition and assertion. In Oromo, subject-verb agreement is dependent on the information status of the subject; specifically, whether or not it is a topic.