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Satoshi Tomioka received his Ph. His past professional experience includes visiting lecturer at Cornell University and the University of California at San Diego and post-doctoral researcher at the University of Tubingen, Germany. He has published papers on various topics, such as ellipsis, anaphora, wh- interrogatives, plurality, and information structure. His other interests include the methodological contribution of acceptability judgments to linguistic theory. Malte Zimmermann received his Ph. He has since published on quantification in European and non-European languages, on information structure and the realization of focus in Chadic, and on a variety of issues pertaining to the syntax-semantics interface.

Information structure is that cognitive domain that mediates between the modules of linguistic competence in the narrow sense, such as syntax, phonology, and morphology, and other cognitive faculties which serve the central purpose of the fixation of belief by way of information update, pragmatic reasoning, and general inference processes.


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Undisputedly, the formal marking of the information-structural status of a given constituent by grammatical means, for instance as given vs. Such pragmatic and cognitive effects consist, for instance, in the identification of special speech acts, the triggering of implicatures, and an increase in the salience of a given discourse referent, which increases its potential to serve as an antecedent for anaphor resolution. It should also be noted that information structure is presumably universal, while its formal reflexes in the grammatical systems of natural languages are subject to cross-linguistic variation.

In confining our attention to these three concepts, 2 Malte Zimmermann and Caroline Fery we follow the contributors of the present volume, as well as Krifka Focus may be understood as a classical semantic notion expressing that a focused linguistic constituent is selected from a set of alternatives Rooth , Givenness is interpreted in the sense of Schwarzschild as being existentially entailed by the context. Topichood may be more difficult to describe in a simple way. The notion of aboutness topic Reinhart is accompanied by the notion of contrastive topic, as well as by a concept of salience E.

Prince ; Lambrecht All the chapters of this book define these concepts from different perspectives, so that we do not need to further develop them in this introduction; but see e. On the empirical side, we are going through an era of typological and experimental investigation which promises to be highly profitable for the research on information structure, as it sheds light on different aspects of typological research, psycholinguistics, and language acquisition. In order to comply to this need, the present volume combines theoretical studies of information-structural phenomena with empirical and typological studies, on the one hand, and with experimental studies on language production and language perception psycholinguistics , on the other.

The present collection of chapters thus combines to form a coherent whole. The book is organized as follows. In it, Mats Rooth points out a tight relation between information structure prominence, in terms of focus, and prosodic prominence, in terms of accent.

This is done by way of a detailed analysis of second occurrence focus SOF , a Introduction 3 phenomenon that has drawn the attention of semanticists and phonologists only in recent years. There are parallels between the semantics and phonology which can be captured by means of two generalizations. The first one is Stress F, which posits that a pitch accent must be placed somewhere in the prosodic domain of the focus constituent. The focus with higher semantic scope is prosodically more prominent than the focus with lower scope.

The effects of both constraints can be captured in a strictly local fashion by the introduction of operators that operate as modifiers on semantic combination functions, such as Functional Application. These modifiers pass the information of semantic and prosodic prominence up the syntactic tree. Thus, Chapter 2, even if it has a strong semantic bias, relates the semantic interpretation of focus to the prosody, mediated by the syntax. In particular, information structure affects the tonal height of focused and given constituents only by register raising of focused constituents and deaccenting or compression of given material.

This chapter complements the preceding paper in refining the phonological part of the semantics-prosody interactions identified in Chapter 2. A recurrent question in many approaches to information structure is the role played by syntax in expressing information-structural distinctions. Brody and Rizzi , among others, have been extremely influential in proposing that focused constituents occupy special syntactic positions, in which they can be interpreted.

After an informative overview of the large body of the relevant literature, E. Kiss exposes her own analysis of the exhaustivity effect found with focus constructions. Drawing on new facts, E. Kiss shows how the distribution of a certain class of elements in Hungarian, namely downward entailing expressions, follows directly from the assumption that exhaustivity is structurally encoded. The next two chapters complement the discussion of focus in concentrating on the second important information-structural notion of topic.

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Simple topic marking on a constituent expresses that this element must be interpreted outside its immediate speech act. Grammatical topic marking itself is subject to cross-linguistic variation, with German exhibiting syntactic topic marking and Japanese morphological topic marking. The contrastive topic effect can then be understood as the result of prosodic focus marking on a constituent that is already syntactically or morphologically marked as aboutness topic. Tomioka points out that such contrastive topic marking gives rise to, for example, scalar implicatures since focus marking invokes a set of alternatives against which the current utterance must be evaluated.

Based on a dynamic conception of left-dislocated aboutness topics as addresses in the common ground where information can be stored, the authors show that the marked peripheral topic position in German is not restricted to proper names and definite descriptions, as often assumed in the literature, but that it can also be occupied by a semantically well-defined subset of indefinite quantifying DPs.

This restricted subset of quantifying DPs can be reinterpreted as denoting a uniquely identifiable set of situations , for which reason they can occur as topics. The chapter puts forward a convincing solution to three puzzles surrounding contrastive topic CT vra-marking in Japanese, namely the occurrence of CTs in the absence of additional focus constituents, unlike in intonation languages, the occurrence of CTs in non-assertive speech acts, and the identical morphology of CTs and ordinary aboutness topics.

The proposed analysis is minimal in attributing the same basic function to the contrastive topic morpheme wa. The uniform function of all instances of Introduction 5 wa is thus to indicate that the constituent it attaches to must be interpreted outside the speech act constituted by the rest of the clause, as is the case with all topics see above.

The contrastive flavour of CT -wa is the result of additional prosodic focus marking, which introduces focus alternatives in the Roothian sense. Presence of -wa guarantees that these alternatives are not closed off until the speech act level, such that CT-wa indicates the presence of alternative speech acts. The assumption that focus alternatives can project to the level of speech act creates a tight link between sentence-based information-structural effects, which consist in the generation of alternatives, and the illocutionary force of an utterance.

The question is investigated of which phonological and structural factors have to do with the coding of IS-structure in the narrow sense, and which factors determine other discourse-related notions, such as illocutionary force or speech act. The chapter provides a unified account of so-called biased questions —tag questions, negative polarity questions, and emphatic focus questions—which have long been observed to express a certain bias of a speaker towards the possible answers to the question.

They give us tools for typological and diachronic comparison, as well as for a better understanding of language production and processing. These chapters thus fulfil a control function for the theoretical approaches from the first part. The empirical findings allow for a re-evaluation of the cross-linguistic validity of theoretical claims that have been made almost exclusively on the basis of intonation languages, such as the conviction that focus contrastive or information is always formally expressed.

Buring shows in his chapter that FocusProminence can also explain other strategies of focus marking, such as syntactic reordering and the use of particles on the focused constituent. The main idea of the chapter is that focus has to be more prominent than non-focused constituents, and that languages have at their disposal a whole series of strategies to fulfil this need. Rather than inflating the inventory of functional projections from FocP high to FocP low , the proposed analysis does away with focus projections altogether. The authors, then, question the existence of designated syntactic focus positions in Aghem and thus come to the opposite conclusion of Chapter 4, which argued for the existence of a focus position in Hungarian.

The latter view would support claims in Szendroi to the effect that Hungarian focus movement is driven by prosodic needs rather than syntactic ones see also Chapter 8 and Zubizarreta This position is compatible with a view of information structure that sees grammatical components such as prosody, syntax, and morphology as supporting the needs of information structure in forcing the emergence of marked structures, which are available in a grammar independently of information-structural considerations.

More strikingly, though, all the languages discussed exhibit an asymmetry between subjects and other arguments when it comes to focus marking.

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While information focus on non-subjects is generally unmarked in the majority of languages, subject focus must be grammatically marked, no matter whether it is used contrastively or as new information focus. The special status of subjects with respect to focus marking is attributed to the fact that unmarked subjects in their canonical preverbal position are prototypically interpreted as aboutness topics in West African languages.

Quite to the contrary, it shows that an independently available position, say Spec-TP, is associated with a default interpretation as topic. The syntactic encoding of information structure, possibly triggered by prosodic factors, also plays a central role in the two diachronic chapters, which propose a correlation between the syntactic position of a constituent and its information-structural interpretation. In older texts, OV order was predominant with DPs representing old information, as for instance pronouns, while VO order was primarily confined to heavier DPs linked to focus and new information.

This difference is accounted for by assuming that Malte Zimmermann and Caroline Fery DPs representing old information moved to a high syntactic position, while heavy and focused DPs underwent only short movement to a lower syntactic position and thus remained in the VP domain.

VO that were linked to this information structural difference. The chapter also argues that during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a set of sociolinguistic factors gave rise to a high frequency of VO orders. Eventually, a parameter change—loss of VP movement—made the OV orders disappear. The most important empirical result is that arguments and predicates in Old High German, which cannot be extraposed in modern German, could occur in the postverbal position in embedded clauses if they were part of the focus of the clause.

The joint result of this and the preceding chapter is that it is possible to detect effects of information structure in older stages of a language, which in turn allows for the formulation of hypotheses concerning its effects on prosody and word order as a whole. Based on a variety of experiments, the three chapters in this part address the production and processing of information structure and thus constitute the third component of a truly integrative theory of information structure.

The emphasis of the three chapters is on production experiments and psycho- linguistic online experiments that probe for different aspects of information structure, with special attention being paid to the third information-structural distinction of given vs. Only a deeper understanding of the general processes and mechanisms involved in the production and processing of grammatical structures will lead to a better understanding Introduction 9 of what motivates the choice of a marked structure or reference over an unmarked canonical structure, as is frequently the case in the expression of focus and topic.

Methodologically, the use of a production experiment sets a new standard for the collection of reliable, and cross-linguistically comparable, empirical data on the interaction of information structure and grammar. Empirically, the results are threefold.

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First, it shows that givenness manifests itself in natural language in a surprisingly uniform way. A given noun phrase can be displaced even though it need not be so , such that it precedes the new material in the clause. This finding thus confirms the well-known cross-linguistic tendency for given constituents to occur before new ones. Third, the concrete type of A-movement involved in the expression of givenness is subject to cross-linguistic variation. If a language has A-movement affecting the grammatical functions of the arguments at its disposal, such as passivization, it is this movement type that is induced by givenness.


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If a language has no operation affecting grammatical functions, or if it does not use it under the relevant circumstances, simple reordering, A-scrambling that is, can serve the expression of givenness. If a language has neither A-scrambling nor grammatical function-changing A- movement, givenness is not reflected in the syntax.

Using a sentence completion experiment, Kaiser investigates which role in anaphora resolution is played by topichood and focus, and also by subjecthood.

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The somewhat surprising result of this experiment is that anaphora resolution depends not only on the availability of an appropriate antecedent, but also on material that follows the pronoun. Kaiser concludes that anaphora resolution is determined by multiple factors. Subjecthood plays an important role in making an entity a good antecedent for a subsequent pronoun, but the effects of subjecthood 10 Malte Zimmermann and Caroline Fery are modulated by weaker effects of pronominalization and focusing. Robin Hornig and Thomas Weskott discuss a number of experiments that investigate the effects of word-order variation on the comprehension of localizing statements, paying special attention to the information-structural status of the spatially related entities as given or new.

For instance, given a premise sentence that introduces two spatially related entities The A is to the left of the B , the authors investigate whether the mental localization of a third entity introduced in a subsequent sentence relative to the two given entities proceeds faster when its denotandum precedes the localizing expression, or when it follows it. There are two central hypotheses.

First, a localizing statement is processed faster when the given entity has the status of relatum, that is the entity relative to which the new entity, the locatum, is localized.