Approaches and Findings in Oral, Written and Gestural Language

Ishihara, S, Schmidt, M, and Schwarz, Anne (2005) Approaches and Findings in Oral, Written and Gestural Language. Interdisciplinary Studies on Information Structure, 3 . Universitätsverlag Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany.

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[Extract] This third volume of the working papers series Interdisciplinary Studies on Information Structure illustrates the diversity of approaches in play at the SFB 632 "Information Structure" ( The seven papers included offer a wide spectrum of new research findings and ongoing debates concerning focus and other information structural phenomena. Four of the papers are based on presentations at the third internal SFB workshop in Gülpe in October 2004. Contributing to this volume are members of every thematic group at the SFB, i.e. a theory developing project, typologically and diachronically oriented projects, psycholinguistic projects, and a phonetic database project.

The first paper in this volume by Elke Kasimir (Project A4: "Focus Evaluation, Anaphoricity, Discourse Coherence") discusses the reliability of the commonly used question-answer test as a focus diagnostic tool. The complications assumed by Kasimir in considering a category of givenness and her proposed alternative account are challenged and discussed in the following paper by Thomas Weskott (Project C1: "Contextually Licensed Non-canonical Word Order in Language Comprehension"). In the third paper, Paul Elbourne, also from the A4 project, looks at four phenomena that are particularly troublesome for theories of ellipsis and offers a new semantic analysis.

While these papers treat their subjects on the basis of English examples, the data of the fourth contribution by Ines Fiedler and Anne Schwarz (Project B1: "Focus in Gur and Kwa Languages") come from five Ghanaian languages of the Gur and Kwa language group. These languages have some morphosyntactically heavily marked focus constructions which are analyzed and diachronically interpreted. Taking a diachronic approach as well, Roland Hinterhölzl, Svetlana Petrova and Michael Solf (Project B4: "The Role of Information Structure in the Development of Word Order Regularities in Germanic") examine the interaction between information structure and word order in Old High German based on data from the Tatian translation (9th century) and find support that the finite verb form in Early Germanic distinguishes the information structural domains of Topic and Focus.

Item ID: 17844
Item Type: Book (Edited)
ISBN: 978-3-937786-01-8
ISSN: 1866-4725
Keywords: information structure
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2011 05:00
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200408 Linguistic Structures (incl Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 100%
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