Linguistics Information Structure
by
Malte Zimmermann
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 July 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0130

Introduction

The term information structure refers to the interface between the structure and meaning of linguistic utterances, on the one hand, and the interlocutors’ mental representations of information, discourse referents, and the overall universe of discourse, on the other. It is at this interfacing level of mental representation that linguistic rules and constraints on structure-building, interpretation, and processing interact with general cognitive processes involved in belief formation, such as memory, attention, pragmatic reasoning, and general inference processes. Information structure plays a crucial role in embedding linguistic utterances in ever-changing communicative settings and contexts, and it does so by imposing structure on the ways in which the information conveyed by an utterance is linguistically expressed. Information structure is responsible for an efficient information transfer between interlocutors, where information transfer consists in the updating of the interlocutors’ mental models of the world, and in the establishment of mutually shared knowledge bases (common grounds) through the exchange of linguistic utterances. A central observation is that linguistically coded information is structured in a specific way, such that it fits the context of the utterance and the knowledge states of the discourse participants. The information structure of linguistic utterances is typically reflected in their grammatical form. Linguistic marking of information structure facilitates information update and the actualization of belief states. For this reason, information structure, in the general sense, is often characterized in terms of information packaging or content management. In a more narrow sense, information structure refers to the concrete structural realization of information structure categories in linguistic utterances. The information structure categories themselves are taken to be universal, whereas their formal reflexes in the grammatical systems of natural languages are subject to cross-linguistic variation. The categories of information structure are organized along several independent but interacting dimensions, namely focus-background, topic-comment, and given-new. Some scholars assume an additional category of contrast, whereas others treat contrast as a pragmatic epiphenomenon, which is dependent on focus. Under certain conditions, information structure can directly affect the semantic interpretation of clauses. This is observed with focus-sensitive elements, which change the truth-conditions of sentences or trigger additional presuppositions. A further interpretive effect is often found with noncanonical sentence structures, which typically express a marked state of affairs from the perspective of information structure, and which frequently give rise to conversational implicatures. Finally, the interfacing nature of information structure between language and cognition makes it an important research topic in psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, language acquisition, and historical linguistics.

Foundational Works and Comprehensive Overviews

There are a number of foundational works that provide valuable background information on information structure from different theoretical perspectives. The most widely cited source on information structure, and the best known, in research from different theoretical perspectives is Lambrecht 1994, which introduces the important distinction between the mental representational aspects of information units, on the one hand, and the relational nature of information structure categories in information transfer, on the other. The seminal articles Chafe 1976 and Krifka 2008 and the handbook articles Büring 2007 and Gundel and Fretheim 2006 are also good starting points for beginners. All of them give concise overviews of information structure, the cognitive function and basic categories of information structure, and the effects of information structure on the structure of linguistic utterances. Of historical interest is Halliday 1967, which introduced the term information structure to linguistics. Another important monograph discussing the linguistic structure of sentences in relation to information structure, context, and the knowledge states of interlocutors is Erteschik-Shir 2007, whereas Dik 1997 is a classical overview from a communication-based, functionalist perspective. The online Oxford Handbook of Information Structure (Féry and Ishihara 2014) provides the most comprehensive overview of information structure to date.

  • Büring, Daniel. 2007. Intonation, semantics and information structure. In The Oxford handbook of linguistic interfaces. Edited by Gillian Ramchand and Charles Reiss, 445–474. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    Handbook article. Excellent point of departure for scholars interested in the prosody and discourse-semantic effects of information structure. Discusses the two central information structural categories of focus-background and topic-comment. Particular emphasis is laid on how these categories are interpreted at the prosodic and semantic interfaces, respectively.

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    • Chafe, Wallace L. 1976. Givenness, contrastiveness, definiteness, subjects, topics, and point of view. In Subject and topic. Edited by Charles N. Li, 25–55. New York: Academic Press.

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      Seminal article introducing the notion of information packaging. Elaborates on the information structural status of nominal expressions by looking at cognitive function and linguistic marking.

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      • Dik, Simon C. 1997. The theory of functional grammar. Vol. 1, The structure of the clause. Edited by Kees Hengeveld. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

        DOI: 10.1515/9783110218374Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Chapter 13 of this general introduction to functional grammar, first published in 1989, provides a detailed description of the different pragmatic functions of topic and focus and introduces a popular descriptive classification of pragmatic subtypes of topic and focus. Updated in Hengeveld and Mackenzie 2008, cited under Linguistic Realization.

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        • Erteschik-Shir, Nomi. 2007. Information structure. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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          This monograph puts forward an analysis of topic and focus as basic cognitive categories underlying information update in a file-card system. Of particular interest are the comparison of different theoretical approaches (§2.4), and the discussion of how information structural and grammatical constraints interact in the linguistic coding of topic and focus.

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          • Féry, Caroline, and Shinichiro Ishihara, eds. 2014. The Oxford handbook of information structure. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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            Comprehensive collection of state-of-the-art articles by leading scholars on all aspects of information structure, including theoretical analysis, semantics, diachronic development, language acquisition, processing, and computational linguistics. Contains in-depth descriptions of information structure in the major language families of the world. Excellent starting point for beginners. Available online by subscription.

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            • Gundel, Jeanette K., and Thorstein Fretheim. 2006. Information structure. In Handbook of pragmatics. Edited by Jan-Ola Östman and Jef Verscheuren, 1–17. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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              Short handbook article. Gives a concise overview of the phenomenon of information structure, its structural coding in linguistic utterances, and its position at the interface of grammar and information processing. Well suited for students and scholars new to the topic.

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              • Halliday, Michael A. K. 1967. Notes on transitivity and theme in English: Part 2. Journal of Linguistics 3.2: 199–244.

                DOI: 10.1017/S0022226700016613Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                Foundational article. Introduces the notion of information structure in a systematic treatment of contextual factors and prosody. The different accent patterns of English sentences are derived from the complex interaction of two information structural levels: given-new (= information focus) and theme-rheme.

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                • Krifka, Manfred. 2008. Basic notions of information structure. Acta Linguistica Hungarica 55:243–276.

                  DOI: 10.1556/ALing.55.2008.3-4.2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  Highly influential article. Gives an excellent overview of information structure and relevant literature on the topic. Puts forward a compelling characterization of information structure in terms of several independent dimensions that interact in guiding and facilitating the content management of discourse participants.

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                  • Lambrecht, Knud. 1994. Information structure and sentence form: Topic, focus and the mental representations of discourse referents. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511620607Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    Knowledgeable and very influential monograph. Combines formal and functional approaches to grammatical analysis. Detailed discussion of topic and focus, the mental representation of discourse referents, and their effect on the structure of linguistic utterances. Distinguishes between the referential and mental properties and the inherent relational nature of topic and focus.

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                    Article Collections

                    In addition to foundational monographs and articles, a number of article collections on information structure have been published in recent years. The collections approach the phenomenon of information structure from different perspectives, and readers may find many relevant hints, especially for the study of information structure in individual languages. The article collections Krifka and Musan 2012 and Zimmermann and Féry 2010 give a broad picture of information structure, including experimental, psycholinguistic, and computational approaches. Collections focusing more on description and analysis of individual phenomena, such as the syntactic and prosodic realization and the interpretive effects of information structure in individual languages, are Schwabe and Winkler 2007 and Lee, et al. 2007. Rebuschi and Tuller 1999, Molnár and Winkler 2006, and Onéa and Zimmermann 2011 concentrate on the structural realization and interpretation of focus. The relatively large proportion of German-based works in part reflects the intensive research on information structure within the Potsdam-Berlin-based Collaborative Research Centre (Sonderforschungsbereich / SFB 632).

                    • Collaborative Research Centre (Sonderforschungsbereich / SFB 632).

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                      This SFB constitutes the biggest interdisciplinary and cross-linguistic research unit on information structure so far. Active from 2003 to 2015, it resulted in a great many publications on empirical, theoretical, experimental, typological/cross-linguistic, and methodological aspects of information structure.

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                      • Krifka, Manfred, and Renate Musan, eds. 2012. The expression of information structure. Berlin: de Gruyter.

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                        The articles in this collection make an excellent starting point for the study of information structure for scholars and students. Leading scholars in the field discuss information structure from different theoretical angles, give in-depth descriptions of individual languages, and discuss information structure in processing, language acquisition, and computational modelling.

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                        • Lee, Chungmin, Matthew Gordon, and Daniel Büring, eds. 2007. Topic and focus: Cross-linguistic perspectives on meaning and intonation. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

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                          Article collection. Combines contributions on various aspects of information structure by leading scholars in the field. The focus lies on the prosodic realization of topic and focus. Individual languages discussed include, apart from English, Bengali, Taiwanese, Riau Indonesian, and Chickasaw.

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                          • Molnár, Valéria, and Susanne Winkler, eds. 2006. The architecture of focus. Berlin: de Gruyter.

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                            Collection of articles on various aspects of focus by authors from different theoretical backgrounds. The articles deal with the theoretical foundations of information structure, its representation at the syntax-pragmatic interface, its prosodic realization and semantic interpretation, and specific information structure-related constructions in individual languages.

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                            • Onéa, Edgar, and Malte Zimmermann, eds. 2011. Special issue: Focus marking strategies and focus interpretation. Lingua 121:1651–1766.

                              DOI: 10.1016/j.lingua.2011.06.002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                              Special journal issue containing a general introduction to the notion of focus and a series of expert articles on semantic and pragmatic interpretive effects of focus, such as exhaustiveness, exclusion, and mirativity, in different languages.

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                              • Rebuschi, George, and Laurice Tuller, eds. 1999. The grammar of focus. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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                                Article collection. Contains case studies of the morphosyntactic realization of focus and focus constructions in individual languages, including Arabic, Bantu, Basque, Somali, and Wolof. Most analyses are formulated in the generative minimalist framework of the 1990s.

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                                • Schwabe, Kerstin, and Susanne Winkler, eds. 2007. On information structure, meaning and form. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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                                  Most articles in this comprehensive collection deal with the structural realization of focus and topic constituents across a variety of languages, including Austronesian languages, Korean, Czech, Northern Sotho, and Hausa. Some articles are also devoted to pragmatic effects triggered by information structure.

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                                  • Zimmermann, Malte, and Caroline Féry, eds. 2010. Information structure: Theoretical, typological, and experimental perspectives. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                    Article collection with very broad scope. Offers state-of-the-art discussions by leading scholars of different methodological approaches to information structure and its interaction with cognition and communication. Combines theoretical analysis with psycholinguistic and cross-linguistic experiments, with typological approaches, and with diachronic investigations of information structure.

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                                    Historical Precursors

                                    Interpretive and contextual effects of information structure and its impact on the shape of linguistic utterances were already observed by traditional grammarians, philosophers, and psychologists before the emergence of modern-day linguistics. Brentano 1973 approaches the issue of information structural differences between sentences from the perspective of logic and psychology. Von der Gabelentz 1869, Weil 1978, Paul 1995, and Mathesius 1964 are classic studies discussing effects of information structure on word order and the structural realization of sentences. Mathesius 1964 is also a foundational text of the Prague school of functionalists, which historically played a crucial role in introducing information structure into linguistics. Firbas 1962 and Daneš 1964 are two other classic Prague school texts, developing central ideas of the Prague school’s functional sentence perspective (FSP). Newmeyer 2001 is an excellent overview of the basic ideas of Prague school functionalism and its relation to North American functionalism.

                                    • Brentano, Franz. Psychology from an empirical point of view. Translated by Antos C. Rancurello, D. B. Terrell, and Linda L. McAlister. New York: Humanities Press. 1973.

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                                      Translation of the original Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkt, first published in German in 1874. This psychological approach to logical reasoning distinguishes between two kinds of judgments, thetic and categorical. Categorical judgments consist of two parts, the topic and the comment of modern linguistic theory; see Kuroda 1972, cited under Topic-Comment.

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                                      • Daneš, František. 1964. A three-level approach to syntax. Travaux linguistiques de Prague 1:225–240.

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                                        Classical Prague school article. Identifies the three levels of grammatical structure, semantic interpretation, and discourse-functional organization of linguistic utterances as independent, but interacting representational levels of sentences. The study of discourse-functional factors on the linguistic structure of utterances introduces information structure to linguistics.

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                                        • Firbas, Jan. 1962. Notes on the function of the sentence in the act of communication. Journal of Studies of the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Brno Series A 10:133–148.

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                                          Another classical Prague school article. Redefines the notion of functional sentence perspective, which accounts for discourse-based effects on sentence structure, in terms of communicative dynamism. Communicative dynamism refers to the degree to which a sentence part contributes to the development of the communication by pushing it forward.

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                                          • Mathesius, Vilém. 1964. On linguistic characterology with illustrations from Modern English. In A Prague school reader in linguistics. Edited by Josef Vachek, 59–67. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press.

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                                            Influential early study in the functionalist Prague school tradition, first published in 1928. Short conference contribution, which discusses in a programmatic manner the conflation of grammatical subject and theme in English, foreshadowing the theme-rheme distinction in Halliday 1967, cited under Foundational Works and Comprehensive Overviews.

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                                            • Newmeyer, Frederick J. 2001. The Prague school and North American functionalist approaches to syntax. Journal of Linguistics 37:101–126.

                                              DOI: 10.1017/S0022226701008593Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                              Lucid and knowledgeable overview of the historical development of core ideas of Prague school functionalism and their impact on North American functionalism. The Prague school assumption of grammatical structure as an independent factor effecting sentence structure is shared by certain more formal functionalist approaches, contrasting them with radical pragmatic approaches.

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                                              • Paul, Hermann. 1995. Prinzipien der Sprachgeschichte. 10th ed. Tübingen, Germany: Niemeyer.

                                                DOI: 10.1515/9783110929461Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                Highly influential study on the structure and historical development of German, originally published in 1880 in German. Introduces the notion of psychological predicate, which is marked by prosodic accent, and which, unlike in von der Gabelentz 1869 and Brentano 1973, corresponds to the notion of answer focus in modern linguistics.

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                                                • von der Gabelentz, Georg. 1869. Ideen zu einer vergleichenden Syntax. Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaft 6:376–384.

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                                                  This short sketch in German is the earliest source for the distinction between the formally defined notions of grammatical subject and predicate versus the contextually determined notions of psychological subject and predicate. As in Brentano 1973, psychological subject and predicate correspond to topic and comment of modern linguistics.

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                                                  • Weil, Henri. 1978. The order of words in the ancient languages compared with that of the modern languages. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

                                                    DOI: 10.1075/acil.14Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                    New edition of a pioneering work on word order in ancient and modern languages, originally published in French in 1844 as L’ordre des mots. Captures information structure effects under the label March of Ideas. Points out cross-linguistic differences in how the same march of ideas is expressed across languages.

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                                                    Categories of Information Structure

                                                    The literature offers a wide range of positions on the nature of information structure. Coming mostly in the form of specialized handbook and research articles, the contributions differ in their assumptions regarding the number of distinct information structural levels, the number of categories, their respective characteristics, and the relation of levels and categories to one another. Mono-dimensional approaches of the Prague school tradition, as reflected in the article collection Sgall, et al. 1986, were later refined in other theoretical frameworks, which posit two or more independent but interacting levels of information structure. An important source is Lambrecht 1994, which identifies two basic aspects of information structure: the mental representation of informational units, on the one hand, and their relation to other informational units, on the other. The monograph defines the two independent categories of topic and focus in relational terms. The handbook article Gundel and Fretheim 2004 sets a mono-dimensional information structural layer of topic-focus in relation to a more basic level of referential newness and givenness. Halliday 1967 posits two levels of given-new/focus and theme-rheme, whereas the research article Katz and Selkirk 2011 argues for a distinction between focus and newness. The journal articles Jacobs 1984 and Vallduví and Engdahl 1996 distinguish the information structure dimensions of focus-background versus topic-comment and focus versus link-tail, respectively. Krifka 2008 is a state-of-the-art overview of the categories of information structure, which are argued to consist of three independent but interacting dimensions that are characterized in terms of their discourse-organizing properties and their mental correlates.

                                                    • Gundel, Jeanette K., and Thorstein Fretheim. 2004. Topic and focus. In Handbook of pragmatics. Edited by Gregory Ward and Lawrence Horn, 175–196. Oxford: Blackwell.

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                                                      Well-balanced handbook article. Treats topic and focus as complementary notions, relating them to the more basic categories of referential and relational givenness/newness. Also contains a helpful discussion of the linguistic realization of topic and focus, including rarely discussed data from Norwegian.

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                                                      • Halliday, Michael A. K. 1967. Notes on transitivity and theme in English: Part 2. Journal of Linguistics 3.2: 199–244.

                                                        DOI: 10.1017/S0022226700016613Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                        Prague-school-based analysis of accenting patterns in English. Distinguishes between the level of mental representation of given-new/focus and the relational level of theme-rheme, respectively, and shows how the two dimensions interact in shaping the prosodic realization of English sentences.

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                                                        • Jacobs, Joachim. 1984. Funktionale Satzperspektive und Illokutionssemantik. Linguistische Berichte 91:25–58.

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                                                          Foundational article, published in German, which anticipates much of subsequent work on the topic. Argues for two independent information structure dimensions of focus-background and topic-comment, which are modeled in the framework of illocutionary semantics.

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                                                          • Katz, Jonah, and Elizabeth Selkirk. 2011. Contrastive focus vs. discourse-new: Evidence from prosodic prominence in English. Language 87.4: 771–816.

                                                            DOI: 10.1353/lan.2011.0076Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                            Advanced experimental study in acoustic phonetics. Argues for a categorical distinction between the cognition-based concepts of focus (activation of alternatives) and new information on the basis of differences in their phonetic realization.

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                                                            • Krifka, Manfred. 2008. Basic notions of information structure. Acta Linguistica Hungarica 55:243–276.

                                                              DOI: 10.1556/ALing.55.2008.3-4.2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                              Widely cited overview article. Comprehensive introduction to information structure in terms of content and common ground management. Postulates three independent but interacting levels of information structure: focus-background versus topic-comment versus given-new. Contains comprehensive list of references. Indispensable for beginners and experts alike.

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                                                              • Lambrecht, Knud. 1994. Information structure and sentence form: Topic, focus and the mental representations of discourse referents. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511620607Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                Widely cited monograph. Lucid discussion of the relation between information structure and grammatical structure. Identifies two basic aspects of information structure: the mental representation of discourse referents and the establishment of pragmatic relations between informational units. Defines the categories of topic and focus in relational terms.

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                                                                • Sgall, Petr, Eva Hajičová, and Jarmila Panevová. 1986. The meaning of the sentence in its semantics and pragmatic aspects. Edited by Jacob L. Mey. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Reidel.

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                                                                  Knowledgeable monograph. Provides a good introduction to functionalist, communication-based approaches to information structure in the Prague school tradition. Topic and focus are treated as complementary relational notions, with topic constituting the backward-looking center of an utterance, linking it to the previous discourse, and focus constituting its forward-looking center.

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                                                                  • Vallduví, Enric, and Elisabeth Engdahl. 1996. The linguistic realization of information packaging. Linguistics 34:459–519.

                                                                    DOI: 10.1515/ling.1996.34.3.459Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                    Article-length introduction to information packaging and information structure categories, which gives a valuable overview of the topic. Argues for an information structure partitioning into focus and (back)ground, which in turn splits up into link (=topic) and tail (=given). The appendix gives a comprehensive overview of information structure categories, sorted by authors.

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                                                                    Focus-Background

                                                                    The focus-background distinction is almost exclusively discussed in generative and other formal linguistic approaches. The standard works Jackendoff 1972, Lambrecht 1994, and Erteschik-Shir 2007 analyze focus and background in relational terms as relating the contribution of focus to the presupposed or known content of an utterance, which forms the background. Alternatively, the informative content of focus is modeled in terms of contextual alternatives and Questions under Discussion, which form part of the discourse context. Representative of the latter approach are the research articles Rooth 1992 and Roberts 2012. While Rooth 1992 puts emphasis on the anaphoric nature of focus as pointing to a set of activated alternatives in the discourse context, Roberts 2012 adds a discourse-relational perspective by relating the focus to the Question under Discussion. É. Kiss 1998 posits two kinds of foci with different structural and semantic properties. A textbook-style introduction to focus is provided by Kadmon 2001. Zimmermann and Onéa 2011 is a useful general overview of focus, its grammatical realization, and its interpretation in natural language.

                                                                    • É. Kiss, Katalin. 1998. Identificational focus versus information focus. Language 74:245–273.

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                                                                      Widely cited research article on focus types and focus interpretation in Hungarian. Makes a distinction between two types of focus, identificational focus and information focus. Both focus types are structurally realized in different ways and receive different interpretations. Introduced the notion of exhaustive focus to a wider audience.

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                                                                      • Erteschik-Shir, Nomi. 2007. Information structure. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                        The monograph adopts a dynamic usage-based perspective on focus as contributing to information update in a file-card system. Focus is assigned the forward-looking function of (re)introducing a discourse referent as the salient center of attention, and as a pivot for predication in subsequent discourse. A potential problem is the restriction of focus to individual-denoting NP- and PP-expressions.

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                                                                        • Jackendoff, Ray. 1972. Semantic interpretation in generative grammar. Cambridge, MA: MIT.

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                                                                          Chapter 6 of this monograph offers a groundbreaking introduction to focus and focus-related phenomena in English, which is still valuable for beginners. Background and focus are characterized in relational terms as those parts of the information that the speaker assumes to be mutually shared or not mutually shared, respectively, by her interlocutors versus not mutually shared (focus) by the interlocutors.

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                                                                          • Kadmon, Nirit. 2001. Formal pragmatics: Semantics, pragmatics, presupposition and focus. Oxford: Blackwell.

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                                                                            Part 3 (chs. 12 to 21) of this textbook offers the only available textbook-style treatment to date of focus, its interpretation, and its prosodic realization in English. Very suitable for graduate students and other beginners on the topic.

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                                                                            • Lambrecht, Knud. 1994. Information structure and sentence form: Topic, focus and the mental representations of discourse referents. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                              DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511620607Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                              Widely cited monograph. Defines the category of focus in relational terms as that part of the information by which presupposed and asserted content of an utterance differ. Also distinguishes between argument focus, predicate focus, and sentence focus, which pertain to different focus-background partitions of the clause.

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                                                                              • Roberts, Craige. 2012. Information structure: Towards an integrated formal theory of pragmatics. Semantics and Pragmatics 5.6: 1–69.

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                                                                                Foundational article, first distributed as an OSU working paper in 1996. Instigated the establishment of the Question-under-Discussion research paradigm, which adds a relational discourse-semantic perspective to the anaphoric notion of focus in basic alternative-semantics, explicated in Rooth 1992. Focus is analyzed as pointing to and constraining the current question under discussion.

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                                                                                • Rooth, Mats. 1992. A theory of focus interpretation. Natural Language Semantics 1.1: 75–116.

                                                                                  DOI: 10.1007/BF02342617Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                  Seminal research article introducing the theoretical framework of alternative semantics. Proposes a unified formal-semantic analysis of focus, on which all kinds of focus are anaphorically related to a set of salient, or activated, contextual alternatives to the focused part of the utterance.

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                                                                                  • Zimmermann, Malte, and Edgar Onéa. 2011. Focus marking and focus interpretation. Lingua 121:1651–1670.

                                                                                    DOI: 10.1016/j.lingua.2011.06.002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    Introduction to a special journal issue on focus and focus interpretation. Concise overview of the cognition-based role of focus in facilitating Common Ground update, of its structural realization in natural language, and of semantic and pragmatic aspects of focus interpretation. Of general interest to students and experts on the topic.

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                                                                                    Topic-Comment

                                                                                    The dimension of topic-comment roughly corresponds to the theme-rheme distinction of the Prague school, as laid out in Halliday 1967, cited under Foundational Works and Comprehensive Overviews. On the predominant relational definition of topic-comment, the information of an utterance can be divided into a salient or activated entity, the topic, and additional information that is predicated about this entity, the comment. Detailed analyses of the nature of topics, their interpretive effects, and their formal marking in grammar are found in the philosophical treatment Strawson 1964, and in the formal grammatical treatments Kuroda 1972, Reinhart 1981, and Jacobs 2001, all of which adhere to the relational view of topic. The monograph Erteschik-Shir 1997 also builds on the relational nature of topics as constituting the basis of the sentential predication and introduces the notion of stage topics. The semantic treatment Kratzer 2014 discusses the closely related notion of topic situation from the formal-semantic perspective of situation semantics. The handbook article Roberts 2011 is a good overview of discourse and aboutness topics, including relevant empirical diagnostics. Finally, the advanced research article Wagner 2012 rejects the notion of contrastive topic as an independent information structural category.

                                                                                    • Erteschik-Shir, Nomi. 1997. The Dynamics of Focus Structure. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                      Precursor of Erteschik-Shir 2007, cited under Focus-background. Defines the function of topic as activating an existing discourse referent as the center of the upcoming predication. Introduces covert spatio-temporal stage topics as the predicational center of thetic sentences, as discussed in Kuroda 1972 and Sasse 1987, cited under Topic-marking strategies.

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                                                                                      • Jacobs, Joachim. 2001. The dimensions of topic-comment. Linguistics 39.4: 641–681.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.1515/ling.2001.027Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        Overview article critically assessing the feasibility of subsuming the wide range of topic-comment constructions under a unitary notion of “topic.” Argues that different topic-comment constructions are sensitive to different combinations of topic-related attributes, such as informational separation, predication, addressation/aboutness, and frame-setting.

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                                                                                        • Kratzer, Angelika. 2014. Situations in natural language semantics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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                                                                                          Substantially revised online article, first published in 2007. Section 3 discusses Austinian topic situations, which play a crucial role in the evaluation of utterances and attitude reports. Next to relevant references, the article provides illustrative examples and relates the concepts of topic situation and situation time.

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                                                                                          • Kuroda, Sige-Yuki. 1972. The categorical and the thetic judgment. Foundations of Language 9:153–185.

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                                                                                            Foundational article. Introduces the categories of topic and comment into formal linguistics. Proposes an analysis of the Japanese marker wa as topic marker in categorical judgments, drawing on the pioneering work Brentano 1973, cited under Historical Precursors.

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                                                                                            • Reinhart, Tanya. 1981. Pragmatics and linguistics: An analysis of sentence topics. Philosophica 27:53–94.

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                                                                                              Foundational article. Excellent first introduction to the nature of topicality. Cast in the framework of file-card semantics, sentence topics are analyzed as aboutness topics, which provide an address for information storage during context update. Also introduces a number of standard diagnostics for topicality.

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                                                                                              • Roberts, Craige. 2011. Topic. In Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft. Vol. 2, Semantics. Edited by Klaus von Heusinger, Claudia Maienborn, and Paul Portner, 1908–1934. Berlin: de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                Handbook article. Offers a critical discussion of many issues relating to topicality: the two distinct notions of discourse topic and aboutness topic, tests for topicality and problems with them, a discussion of linguistic topic-marking across languages, and a discussion of the universality of topicality in natural language.

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                                                                                                • Strawson, Peter F. 1964. Identifying reference and truth-values. Theoria 30.2: 96–118.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-2567.1964.tb00404.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  Influential philosophical paper. Introduces the concept of topicality into the philosophical debate of natural language meaning. Relates the referential potential of definite descriptions, and their impact on truth conditions, to the information structural status of topicality.

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                                                                                                  • Wagner, Michael. 2012. Contrastive topics decomposed. Semantics and Pragmatics 5.8: 1–54.

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                                                                                                    Research article for experts and advanced graduate students. Deconstructs the notion of “contrastive topic” in Büring 2003 (cited under Contrast) as a derived notion. Provides a somewhat controversial reanalysis of contrastive topic configurations as involving sequences of nested foci, based on semantic and prosodic considerations.

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                                                                                                    Given versus New

                                                                                                    The dimension of given-new relates to the mental information status of the referents of natural language expressions as either activated, prementioned, familiar, or presupposed by the interlocutors (given), or else not (new). It corresponds to the second information structure distinction in Halliday 1967 (cited under Foundational Works and Comprehensive Overviews). Clark and Haviland 1977 and Prince 1981 are foundational articles on the topic, whereas in Stalnaker 1978 and Kamp and Reyle 1993 the discussion of given and new is embedded in more general treatments of information update and discourse structure. Gundel 1985 is a non-relational analysis of topicality in terms of familiarity givenness. The monograph Ariel 1990 and the article collection Walker, et al. 1998 develop the discourse-semantic framework of centering theory with insightful discussions of the impact of different degrees of givenness (contextual salience) and interlocutors’ mental attention states on the anaphoric potential of linguistic expressions. Schwarzschild 1999 is an in-depth formal investigation of the impact of givenness on accenting patterns in English.

                                                                                                    • Ariel, Mira. 1990. Accessing noun-phrase antecedents. London: Routledge.

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                                                                                                      This monograph introduces the basic ideas and notions of centering theory. Offers careful discussion of correlations between the overt form of nominal expressions (indefinite, definite, pronoun, zero) and the activation status of their referents in the preceding discourse.

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                                                                                                      • Clark, Herbert H., and Susan E. Haviland. 1977. Comprehension and the given-new contract. In Discourse production and comprehension. Edited by Roy O. Freedle, 1–40. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

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                                                                                                        Foundational article. Puts forward a communication- and memory-based perspective on discourse. Develops the concept of a given-new contract between speaker and hearer under a Gricean view of communication as a cooperative enterprise. Also provides linguistic and psycholinguistic evidence in the form of processing times.

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                                                                                                        • Gundel, Jeanette. 1985. Shared knowledge and topicality. Journal of Pragmatics 9:83–107.

                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1016/0378-2166(85)90049-9Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          Expert article by one of the leading researchers on the topic. Investigates both structural and functional aspects of topicality. Differs from Reinhart 1981 (cited under Topic-Comment) in defining topicality not in relational terms, but in terms of the interlocutors’ shared familiarity with a given discourse referent.

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                                                                                                          • Kamp, Hans, and Uwe Reyle. 1993. From discourse to logic: Introduction to modeltheoretic semantics of natural language, formal logic and discourse representation theory. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

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                                                                                                            Lucid textbook introduction to the semantic framework of DRT. Provides a formal modeling of given and new discourse referents and propositional information in a dynamic discourse setting. Also develops a formal account of anaphoric dependencies with given material in discourse.

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                                                                                                            • Prince, Ellen F. 1981. Towards a taxonomy of given-new information. In Radical pragmatics. Edited by Peter Cole, 223–256. New York: Academic Press.

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                                                                                                              Seminal article on the given-new distinction from an information-based perspective. Discusses three different concepts of given as predictable, salient, and shared knowledge. The latter is critically discussed and reformulated as “assumed familiarity.”

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                                                                                                              • Schwarzschild, Roger. 1999. Givenness, AvoidF and other constraints on the placement of accent. Natural Language Semantics 7:141–177.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1023/A:1008370902407Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                Influential formal-semantic research article. Investigates the feasibility of deriving the accenting and deaccenting patterns in English from a generalized notion of givenness, rather than focus. The analysis is modeled in constraint-based optimality-theoretical system.

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                                                                                                                • Stalnaker, Robert L. 1978. Assertion. In Syntax and semantics. Vol. 9. Edited by Peter Cole, 315–332. New York: Academic Press.

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                                                                                                                  Foundational article. Introduces the notion of Common Ground (CG) into mainstream linguistics. The CG is modeled as a set of propositions that the interlocutors mutually and publicly agree on. The CG constitutes the background of given information against which subsequent discourse moves are evaluated.

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                                                                                                                  • Walker, Marilyn A., Aravind K. Joshi, and Ellen F. Prince, eds. 1998. Centering theory in discourse. Oxford: Clarendon.

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                                                                                                                    Standard introduction to centering theory (CT). Develops a system for modeling the dynamic change of the saliency status of discourse referents in communication. Next to a brief introduction to CT by the editors, the collection contains contributions on CT and cross-linguistic universals, processing, information structure, and discourse structure.

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                                                                                                                    Contrast

                                                                                                                    In addition to the three core IS-distinctions above, some authors have proposed an additional category of contrast. Drawing on cross-linguistic investigations, the research articles Vallduví and Vilkuna 1998 and Neeleman, et al. 2009 treat contrast as an independent category, which is compatible with topicality and focus. Conversely, in Bolinger 1961 and Rochemont 1986, contrast is analyzed as a subcategory of focus, which is typically associated with the notion of emphasis. The formal discourse-semantic treatment Büring 2003 analyzes contrastive topics as independent from, though semantically related to, foci. The overview article Repp 2010 is a good introduction to the controversial notion of contrast in natural language, including a comprehensive list of references.

                                                                                                                    • Bolinger, Dwight D. 1961. Contrastive accent and contrastive stress. Language 37:83–96.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/411252Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      Early discussion of the prosodic realization of contrast. Argues that contrastive or emphatic focus accents are stronger on a gradient scale than their information focus counterparts.

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                                                                                                                      • Büring, Daniel. 2003. On D-trees, beans and B-accents. Linguistics and Philosophy 26:511–545.

                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1023/A:1025887707652Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        Formally explicit discourse-semantic analysis of the meaning and function of contrastive topics in terms of Questions under Discussion; see Focus-background. Argues that contrastive topics indicate the existence of a higher super-question in the discourse and the discourse-strategy by which this higher question is resolved.

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                                                                                                                        • Neeleman, Ad, Elena Titov, Hans van de Koot, and Reiko Vermeulen. 2009. A syntactic typology of topic, focus and contrast. In Alternatives to cartography. Edited by Jeroen Van Craenenbroeck, 15–52. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1515/9783110217124.15Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          Research article. Argues, based on cross-linguistic considerations, that some syntactic operations in natural languages are sensitive to the information structural concept of contrast, which is orthogonal to the domains of focus and topicality.

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                                                                                                                          • Repp, Sophie. 2010. Defining “contrast” as an information-structural notion in grammar. Lingua 120:1333–1345.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1016/j.lingua.2009.04.006Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Introduction to special journal issue. Useful overview of the multifaceted phenomenon of contrast, including a comprehensive list of references. Discusses different linguistic instantiations of contrast and concludes that the notion is best conceived of as a cover term for a range of related phenomena.

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                                                                                                                            • Rochemont, Michael. 1986. Focus in generative grammar. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1075/sigla.4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              Influential monograph written in the framework of government and binding theory. Provides detailed descriptions and analyses of focus phenomena in English, and proposes a distinction between contrastive and information focus.

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                                                                                                                              • Vallduví, Enric, and Maria Vilkuna. 1998. On rheme and kontrast. In The limits of syntax. Syntax and Semantics 29. Edited by Peter Culicover and Louise McNally, 79–106. New York: Academic Press.

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                                                                                                                                Influential comparative syntactic study of Catalan and Finnish. Argues that certain grammatical operations are sensitive to the notion of Kontrast, which is orthogonal to topicality and focushood.

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                                                                                                                                Grammatical Modeling

                                                                                                                                Next to the identification of the major categories of information structure, another central aspect of linguistic research on information structure concerns its integration into general models of grammar. There are two basic approaches to incorporating information structure into formal models of grammar. Next to syntax-based, derivational models of grammar, in which information structural notions are represented in the core syntactic component, there are representational, multilevel analyses that typically place information structure at an independent layer of representation, information structure. Influential syntax-based derivational models of information structure in grammar are put forward in Jackendoff 1972, Selkirk 1984, Rizzi 1997, Samek-Lodovici 2005, and Abels 2012. Butt and King 1996, Jackendoff 2002, and Steedman 2014 are representative for representational multilevel models of information structure in different grammatical frameworks.

                                                                                                                                • Abels, Klaus. 2012. The Italian left periphery: A view from locality. Linguistic Inquiry 43.2: 229–254.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1162/LING_a_00084Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  Research article in the minimalist tradition of generative grammar. Offers a noncartographic reanalysis of the ordering restrictions on topic, focus, and other material in the Italian left periphery in terms of general locality conditions, thereby obviating the need for the specific templatic restrictions of cartography.

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                                                                                                                                  • Butt, Miriam, and Tracy H. King. 1996. Structural topic and focus without movement. In Proceedings of the First Annual LFG Conference. Edited by Miriam Butt and Tracy H. King. Stanford, CA: CSLI.

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                                                                                                                                    Short online conference paper. Programmatic sketch of the analysis of information structure in lexical functional grammar (LFG). Sample languages discussed include Turkish and Urdu. Good starting point for scholars interested in analyzing information structure in LFG.

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                                                                                                                                    • Jackendoff, Ray. 1972. Semantic interpretation in generative grammar. Cambridge, MA: MIT.

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                                                                                                                                      Chapter 6 of this monograph is the locus classicus for the introduction of formal F(ocus)-features in the syntactic derivation. F-features mediate syntactically between the prosodic realization of constituents (accent) and their semantic interpretation (focus) in the standard Y-model of derivational generative approaches.

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                                                                                                                                      • Jackendoff, Ray. 2002. Foundations of language: Brain, meaning, grammar, evolution. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198270126.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        Chapter 12 of this general treatment of the human language faculty sketches a multilevel grammatical architecture. Information structural categories, such as topic and focus, are located on an independent representational level of information structure and interact in systematic ways with lexical, syntactic, and semantic levels of representation.

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                                                                                                                                        • Rizzi, Luigi. 1997. The fine structure of the left periphery. In Elements of grammar. Edited by Liliane Haegeman, 281–337. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1007/978-94-011-5420-8_7Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                          The classic reference for cartographic analyses of syntax: Information structure-related changes in word order are triggered by discourse-related formal syntactic features that are located in designated functional heads. Cross-linguistic variation follows from a different status of these discourse features. The article spawned the proliferation of discourse features in syntactic theorizing.

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                                                                                                                                          • Samek-Lodovici, Vieri. 2005. Prosody-syntax interaction in the expression of focus. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 23:687–755.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1007/s11049-004-2874-7Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            Influential research article analyzing the focus-marking patterns of Italian. Excellent introduction to analysis of information structure in correspondence theory. The syntactic and prosodic realization of information structure results from the interaction of potentially conflicting syntactic, prosodic, and information structural constraints. Cross-linguistic variation follows from differences in constraint ranking.

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                                                                                                                                            • Selkirk, Elisabeth O. 1984. Phonology and syntax: The relation between sound and structure. Cambridge, MA: MIT.

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                                                                                                                                              Possibly still the most explicit and best-known treatment of focus prosody in derivational generative systems. Chapter 6 of the monograph proposes a grammatical architecture in which the interpretational component has direct access to focus-annotated syntactic structures, so-called focus structures.

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                                                                                                                                              • Steedman, Mark. 2014. The surface-compositional semantics of English intonation. Language 90:2–57.

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                                                                                                                                                Categorial-grammatical analysis of information structure and intonation in English. Prosodic factors like accenting and boundaries have a direct effect on syntactic constituency and come with instructions to the interpretive system. Supersedes earlier analyses by the same author in developing more refined definitions of major information structure categories.

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                                                                                                                                                Linguistic Realization

                                                                                                                                                The grammatical realization of information structure categories is subject to wide variation within and across languages. The variation is manifest in the extent to which an information structure category is marked in a given language, on the one hand, and in the linguistic means used for marking information structure categories within and across languages, on the other. Presumably owing to the girth of variation, the literature exhibits a striking contrast between the abundance of detailed case studies of focus or topic marking in individual languages, as opposed to the relative scarcity of comprehensive overviews of the realization of information structure categories at different linguistic levels across languages. Notable exceptions are Vallduví and Engdahl 1996 and Erteschik-Shir 2007. Rizzi 1997 and Neeleman and van de Koot 2008 offer widely cited formal analyses of the syntax of topic and focus in natural language. Complementing this, Pierrehumbert and Hirschberg 1990 discusses the different information structure functions of accenting in intonation language, and Li and Thompson 1976 is a standard work on general typological properties of topic-prominent languages. Marandin 2005 is a rare French-language discussion of information structure and its effect on linguistic structure. The sources listed in this section explicitly deal with several languages and/or with several information structure categories.

                                                                                                                                                • Erteschik-Shir, Nomi. 2007. Information structure. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                  Sections 3 and 4 of this monograph provide detailed discussions of the different structural realizations of focus and topic in various unrelated languages, as well as a number of information structure–based constraints on the structural realization of information structure categories.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Hengeveld, Kees, and J. Lachlan Mackenzie. 2008. Functional discourse grammar: A typologically-based theory of language structure. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199278107.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Updated version of Dik 1997, cited under Foundational Works and Comprehensive Overviews. Gives a typologically based account of how semantic meaning and pragmatic use in the form of information structural distinctions effect the morphosyntactic and prosodic shape of utterances. The theory is tested against linguistic facts from over 150 languages.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Li, Charles N., and Sarah Thompson. 1976. Subject and topic: A new typology of language. In Subject and topic. Edited by Charles N. Li, 456–489. New York: Academic Press.

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                                                                                                                                                      Seminal article grounded in the typological tradition. Postulates the existence of two basic language types. Subject-prominent languages correlate structural prominence with the grammatical function of subject. Topic-prominent languages correlate structural prominence with the information structural notion of topic.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Marandin, Jean-Marie. 2005. Formatage de l’information: Focus et contexte. In Interpréter en contexte. Edited by Francis Corblin and Claire Gardent, 31–80. Paris: Hermes.

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                                                                                                                                                        In-depth study of a range of information structural phenomena involving focus and contrastive topics, and their linguistic realization in French, as compared to English and German. Adopts an explicit communication-based perspective in proffering a unified analysis in terms of a Ginzburg-style update -semantics for dialogues.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Neeleman, Ad, and Hans van de Koot. 2008. Dutch scrambling and the nature of discourse templates. Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 11:137–189.

                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1007/s10828-008-9018-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                          Critical assessment of the cartographic approach in Rizzi 1997. Drawing on data from syntactic scrambling in Dutch, the article puts forward a template-based system in which structures generated by overt movement are mapped to specific information structural configurations at the syntax-information structure interface.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Pierrehumbert, Janet B., and Julia Hirschberg. 1990. The meaning of intonational contours in the interpretation of discourse. In Intentions in communication. Edited by Philp R. Cohen, Jerry Morgan, and Martha E. Pollack, 271–311. Cambridge, MA: MIT.

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                                                                                                                                                            Seminal article on the prosodic realization of information structure categories. Systematic treatment of information structural and other communicative meanings attached to different accent patterns in English. Good point of departure for investigating the meaning of prosodic contours in intonation languages, also taken up in Truckenbrodt 2012, cited under Interpretation of Information Structure.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Rizzi, Luigi. 1997. The fine structure of the left periphery. In Elements of grammar. Edited by Liliane Haegeman, 281–337. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1007/978-94-011-5420-8_7Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              Highly influential research article. Proposes an integrated syntactic analysis of focus and topic marking in Italian in terms of designated functional projections. Instigated the subsequent development of the widely adopted research paradigm of syntactic cartography.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Vallduví, Enric, and Elisabeth Engdahl. 1996. The linguistic realization of information packaging. Linguistics 34:459–519.

                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1515/ling.1996.34.3.459Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                Among the few articles looking at the linguistic realization of different information structure categories from a cross-linguistic perspective. Gives an excellent introduction to the topic. The realization of focus, link/topic and tail/given is contrastively compared for English, German, Catalan, Turkish, Swedish, and Hungarian.

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                                                                                                                                                                Focus-Marking Strategies

                                                                                                                                                                As with works on the linguistic realization of information structure in general, there are only a few general treatments of focus marking across languages and across the different linguistic levels of prosody, syntax, and morphology. Exceptions are the general overview articles Büring 2010 and Zimmermann and Onéa 2011. The journal articles Szendrői 2003 and Féry 2013 discuss the interaction of prosodic constraints and syntactic reordering in focus marking, with the latter adopting an explicit cross-linguistic perspective. Fiedler, et al. 2010 raises attention to subject/nonsubject asymmetries in focus marking, including the absence of explicit focus marking in natural languages. Matić and Wedgwood 2013 is a skeptical assessment of the general applicability of focus as a universal linguistic category.

                                                                                                                                                                • Büring, Daniel. 2010. Towards a typology of focus realization. In Information structure: Theoretical, typological and experimental perspectives. Edited by Malte Zimmermann and Caroline Féry, 177–205. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Programmatic research article. Sketches a universal theory of focus marking in terms of structural prominence, which generalizes across prosodic, morphological, and syntactic marking strategies.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Féry, Caroline. 2013. Focus as prosodic alignment. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 31:647–681.

                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1007/s11049-013-9195-7Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    Expert research article drawing on a range of earlier prosodic and syntactic studies. Provides a general, cross-linguistically underpinned analysis of structural focus marking in terms of alignment with prosodic boundaries, rather than acoustic prominence, where the nature of alignment differs across languages and language types.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Fiedler, Ines, Katharina Hartmann, Brigitte Reineke, Anne Schwarz, and Malte Zimmermann. 2010. Subject focus in West African languages. In Information structure: Theoretical, typological and experimental perspectives. Edited by Malte Zimmermann and Caroline Féry, 234–257. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Typological overview of focus realization in West African languages from Chadic, Gur, and Kwa families. Shows that explicit focus marking on nonsubjects is optional in most of them, in contrast to the obligatory marking of subject foci. The empirical findings have far-reaching theoretical consequences for grammatical models of focus marking.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Matić, Dejan, and Daniel Wedgwood. 2013. The meanings of focus: The significance of an interpretation-based category in cross-linguistic analysis. Journal of Linguistics 49:127–163.

                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1017/S0022226712000345Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        Drawing on a body of data from a wide range of languages, the article adopts a skeptical perspective on the general applicability of focus as a universal linguistic category and as a cross-linguistically stable concept.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Szendrői, Kriszta. 2003. A stress-based approach to the syntax of Hungarian focus. The Linguistic Review 20:37–78.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Research article. Prosody-based alternative to the standard, syntax-based analysis of Hungarian focus in Horváth 1986 (cited under Syntactic Focus Marking). Building on Zubizaretta 1998 (cited under Syntactic Focus Marking), it argues that the obligatory reordering of Hungarian focus to preverbal position is triggered by prosodic constraints on accent placement.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Zimmermann, Malte, and Edgar Onéa. 2011. Focus marking and focus interpretation. Lingua 121:1651–1670.

                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1016/j.lingua.2011.06.002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                            Introduction to special journal issue. Of particular use to students and scholars without previous exposure to the topic. Provides a good overview of the concept of focus and its linguistic realization in natural languages.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Prosodic Focus Marking

                                                                                                                                                                            The different strategies employed in prosodic focus marking in individual languages have been subject to intensive research. This section lists sources of general theoretical interest or with wider cross-linguistic applicability. The handbook article Büring 2012 gives a basic introduction to focus accenting. The monograph Gussenhoven 1984 and the handbook article Selkirk 1995 put forward systematic syntax-based accounts of focus accenting that go against the markedly skeptical view found in Bolinger 1972. Kanerva 1990 and Downing and Pompino-Marschall 2013 are crucial contributions to the discussion of prosodic focus marking in terms of prosodic phrasing. Zerbian 2007 points out the absence of prosodic focus marking in terms of prominence or phrasing.

                                                                                                                                                                            • Bolinger, Dwight D. 1972. Accent is predictable (if you’re a mind reader). Language 48:633–644.

                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.2307/412039Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                              Early skeptical assessment of the possibility of developing a systematic formal model of (de)accenting in English. Presents a range of problematic data that appear to pose a challenge to deterministic structure-based accounts of focus accenting.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Büring, Daniel. 2012. Focus and intonation. In The Routledge companion to the philosophy of language. Edited by Gillian Russell and Delia Graff Fara, 103–115. London: Routledge.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Short handbook article for readers with little or no previous exposure to the topic. Excellent first introduction to focus marking in intonation languages.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Downing, Laura J., and Bernd Pompino-Marschall. 2013. The focus prosody of Chichewa and the Stress-Focus constraint: A response to Samek-Lodovici (2005). Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 31:647–681.

                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1007/s11049-013-9192-xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                  Detailed phonetic study of Chichewâ, which could not replicate the findings in Kanerva 1990. Concludes, contrary to the standard view, but in line with Fiedler, et al. 2010 (cited under Focus-Marking Strategies), that focus marking in Chichewâ is not obligatory, and that optional prosodic boundaries indicate emphasis rather than focus.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Gussenhoven, Carlos. 1984. On the grammar and semantics of sentence accents. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Foris.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Early influential treatment of the placement of default accenting and focus accenting in relation to syntactic structure. Point of departure for many subsequent investigations of the syntax-prosody interface in intonation languages.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Kanerva, Jonni M. 1990. Focus and phrasing in Chicheŵa phonology. New York: Garland.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Pioneering study on the prosodic realization of focus in terms of prosodic phrasing. Drawing on data from the Bantu tone language Chichewâ, it is argued that focus in this language ismarked by prosodic phrasing rather than by absolute prosodic prominence.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Selkirk, Elisabeth O. 1995. Sentence prosody: Intonation, stress, phrasing. In The handbook of phonological theory. Edited by John A. Goldsmith, 550–569. Cambridge: Blackwell.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Handbook article. Very good introduction to the analysis of information structure and prosody in optimality theory. Puts forward an integrated account of sentence accenting as resulting from the interaction of prosodic, syntactic, and information structural factors in a constraint-based system. Suitable for advanced undergrad and graduate students.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Zerbian, Sabine. 2007. Investigating the prosodic expression of focus in Northern Sotho. In Focus strategies in African languages: The interaction of focus and grammar in Niger-Congo and Afro-Asiatic. Edited by Enoch O. Aboh, Katharina Hartmann, and Malte Zimmermann, 55–79. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Among the first controlled experimental phonetic studies of focus in a Bantu language. Shows that focus need not be marked by prosodic prominence or any other explicit formal device. The article spawned other phonetic studies of focus prosody in African languages and beyond, many of which come to similar conclusions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Syntactic Focus Marking

                                                                                                                                                                                          As with prosodic focus marking, treatments of syntactic focus marking tend to concentrate on individual languages or language groups and individual focus constructions (see the sections on individual language groups below). This section lists influential formal treatments of focus movement or focus reordering and clefting. Chomsky 1977 and Zubizaretta 1998 are representative for generative treatments of focus movement conditioned by conditions of the interfaces to the conceptual and prosodic system, respectively. Horváth 1986, Brody 1990, and É. Kiss 1998 are classical sources on overt focus movement in Hungarian in the generative tradition. Fanselow and Lenertová 2011 puts forward a noncartographic approach to focus fronting in German and Czech. Lambrecht 2001 is a standard reference on the syntactic analysis of cleft constructions. Finally, van Valin 2005 is a good representative of analyses of syntactic focus marking in the multilevel framework of Role and Reference Grammar.

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Brody, Michael. 1990. Some remarks on the focus field in Hungarian. In UCL working papers in linguistics. Vol. 2. Edited by John Harris, 201–225. London: UCL Department of Linguistics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Short research article. Minimalist implementation of the standard syntactic movement account of Hungarian focus. Focus movement is reanalyzed as driven by the need to check functional (focus) features in the syntactic derivation. Historical precursor to Rizzi 1997, cited under Linguistic Realization.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Chomsky, Noam. 1977. Essays on form and interpretation. New York: North-Holland.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Chapter 4 of this essay collection puts forward the classic generative analysis of prosodic focus in English as involving covert operator movement at the level of logical form. This FOCUS rule is motivated by observable parallels between configurations with overt movement and in situ focus.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • É. Kiss, Katalin. 1998. Identification focus and information focus. Language 74:245–273.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Widely cited research article, which postulates two syntactic ways of realizing focus in Hungarian, namely ex situ or in situ. Correlates the different syntactic realizations of focus with different interpretations as exhaustive identification focus and information focus, respectively.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Fanselow, Gisbert, and Denisa Lenertová. 2011. Left peripheral focus: Mismatches between syntax and information structure. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 29:169–209.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1007/s11049-010-9109-xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Research article. Offers a noncartographic approach to information structure and syntax by arguing against discourse-related features in syntax. Apparent instances of focus fronting in German and Czech are reanalyzed as triggered and constrained exclusively by syntactic and prosodic factors.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Horváth, Julia. 1986. FOCUS in the theory of grammar and the syntax of Hungarian. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Foris.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pioneering formal syntactic study of Hungarian focus in the theoretical framework of government and binding theory. First analysis of Hungarian preverbal focus in terms of syntactic movement, which is still the standard analysis in formal approaches to Hungarian focus.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Lambrecht, Knud. 2001. A framework for the analysis of cleft constructions. Linguistics 39:463–616.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1515/ling.2001.021Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Excellent overview article. Extensive discussion of the syntax and interpretation of cleft sentences. Includes a useful survey of earlier syntactic analyses of clefts. Makes an excellent point of departure for explorations into the syntax and interpretation of clefts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • van Valin, Robert. 2005. Exploring the syntax-semantics interface. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511610578Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chapters 3 and 5.4 of this monograph provide a multilevel analysis of focus within Role and Reference Grammar. The relation between syntax and information structure is mediated by templates, abstract construction types with well-defined formal and interpretive properties. Specialized templates restrict the focus interpretations of a sentence to just one.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Zubizaretta, Maria-Luisa. 1998. Prosody, focus, and word order. Cambridge, MA: MIT.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cross-linguistic comparison of the syntax-prosody interface in Spanish and French, as compared to Germanic, with implications for the syntax-prosody interface. Argues that syntactic reordering of focus in Spanish is triggered by prosodic needs (p-movement): focused constituents must carry main accent, which is only assigned to specific positions in the clause.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Morphological Focus Marking

                                                                                                                                                                                                          While the existence of morphological focus markers in natural languages is widely acknowledged in typological works and descriptions of individual languages, there are only few general treatments or formal analyses of morphological focus markers, their syntactic distribution, and prosodic realization. Givón 1975, Saeed 1984, and Robert 2000 offer classical descriptions of morphological focus marking in various African languages. The journal article van der Wal 2011 adds to the discussion by looking at the discourse-semantic impact of morphological focus marking. Hole 2011 shows in exemplary fashion how an alleged morphological focus marker in Mandarin Chinese can be reanalyzed as a background marker, and Heycock 2008 offers a discussion of ga-marking in Japanese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Givón, Talmy. 1975. Focus and the scope of assertion: Some Bantu evidence. Studies in African Linguistics 6:185–205.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Early discussion of the information structuring effects of conjoint-disjoint morphology in Bantu languages, which is taken up in van der Wal 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Heycock, Caroline. 2008. Japanese -wa, -ga, and information structure. In The Oxford handbook of Japanese linguistics. Edited by Shigeru Miyagawa and Mamoru Saito, 54–83. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Discussion of two morphological markers in Japanese, of which the NOM-marker ga is typically employed to indicate the focus status of structural subjects. Nonfocal subjects are typically marked by wa, the same as other topical constituents.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Hole, Daniel. 2011. The deconstruction of Chinese shì. . .de clefts revisited. Lingua 121.11: 1707–1733.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1016/j.lingua.2011.07.004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Indispensable study of a classical topic of Chinese linguistics. Provides an excellent overview of earlier analyses of shì. . .de clefts in the literature. Reanalyzes the alleged morphological focus markers shì and de as markers of topic-comment and background, respectively.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Robert, Stéphane. 2000. Le verbe wolof ou la grammaticalisation du focus. In Topicalisation et focalisation dans les langues africaines. Edited by Bernard Caron, 229–267. Louvain, Belgium: Peeters.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Research article in French. Good descriptive overview of the complex paradigm of morphological focus marking in the West-Atlantic language Wolof.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Saeed, John I. 1984. The syntax of focus and topic in Somali. Hamburg: Helmut Buske.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In-depth study of the morphosyntactic realization of topic and focus in the Cushitic language Somali, which exhibits three kinds of morphological focus markers: one for term and sentence focus; one for predicate focus; and one for focus in syntactic clefts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Van der Wal, Jenneke. 2011. Focus excluding alternatives: Conjoint/disjoint marking in Makhuwa. Lingua 121.11: 1734–1750.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1016/j.lingua.2010.10.013Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Contribution to a special journal issue on the interpretation of focus from a cross-linguistic perspective. Detailed discussion of the information structural and semantic effects of morphological conjoint/disjoint focus marking in this Southern Bantu language.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Topic-Marking Strategies

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Compared to focus-background marking, there are considerably fewer studies of topic-comment marking in natural language. The seminal articles Gundel 1988 and Li and Thompson 1976 discuss the structural realization of topics from a cross-linguistic and typological perspective. Skopeteas and Féry 2007 is an empirical production study on the realization of contrastive topics from a cross-linguistic perspective. Sasse 1987 contains a discussion of structural differences between sentences with topics and topic-less (thetic) sentences. The articles Cinque 1977 and Vermeulen 2013 discuss the (morpho-)syntactic marking of topics in Italian and Japanese, respectively. Frascarelli and Hinterhölzl 2007 and Wagner 2012 investigate the underlying factors determining the prosodic realization of topicalization and (contrastive) topics in intonation languages.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Cinque, Guillermo. 1977. The movement nature of left dislocation. Linguistic Inquiry 8:397–412.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Standard reference on the different kinds of topic left dislocation (LD) in Italian and beyond. Introduces the important distinction between two kinds of topic left dislocation in natural language, clitic left dislocation versus hanging topic left dislocation, which is based on structural and interpretive differences.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Frascarelli, Mara, and Roland Hinterhölzl. 2007. Types of topics in Italian and German. In On information structure, meaning and form. Edited by Kerstin Schwabe and Susanne Winkler, 87–117. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Overview article. Detailed discussion and analysis of the prosodic and syntactic realization of different kinds of topics in German and Italian. The analysis is cast in the cartographic framework, as explicated in Rizzi 1997, cited under Grammatical Modeling.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Gundel, Jeanette K. 1988. Universals of topic-comment structure. In Studies in syntactic typology. Edited by Michael Hammond, Edith A. Moravcsik, and Jessica R. Wirth, 209–239. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Classical paper on the topic. Cross-linguistic overview of potential universals and the observable variation in the interpretation and linguistic realization of topics. Contains a discussion of morphological, syntactic, and prosodic marking strategies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Li, Charles, and Sarah Thompson. 1976. Subject and topic: A new typology of language. In Subject and topic. Edited by Charles Li, 456–489. New York: Academic Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pioneering study investigating the structural properties of two basic language types. Discusses the concepts of subject-prominence and topic-prominence in relation to other typological properties of the two language types.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Sasse, Hans-Jürgen. 1987. The thetic/categorical distinction revisited. Linguistics 25:511–580.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1515/ling.1987.25.3.511Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Another classic reference on the notions of theticity and categoricity. Expands on the pioneering work Kuroda 1972, cited under Topic-Comment. Adduces cross-linguistic evidence in favor of the existence of thetic sentences without a topic-comment partition.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Skopeteas, Stavros, and Caroline Féry. 2007. Contrastive topics in pairing answers: A cross-linguistic production study. In Roots: Linguistics in search of its evidential base. Edited by Sam Featherston and Wolfgang Sternefeld, 319–340. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Showcase production study for the controlled elicitation of quantifiable and cross-linguistically comparable data on contrastive topics. The study is empirically based on the questionnaire on information structure (QUIS); see Skopeteas, et al. 2006, cited under Methodological Issues.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Vermeulen, Reiko. 2013. On the position of topics in Japanese. The Linguistic Review 30:117–159.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1515/tlr-2013-0005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Reassessment of the canonical view that Japanese exhibits only morphological topic marking (see Kuroda 1972, cited under Topic-Comment). Argues that wa-topics require syntactic licensing by being placed in sentence-initial position. Non-initial occurrences of wa are analyzed as homophonous markers of contrast.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Wagner, Michael. 2012. Contrastive topics decomposed. Semantics and Pragmatics 5.8: 1–54.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Innovative study on the prosodic realization of contrastive topics in intonation languages. Refutes the canonical view developed in Büring 2003 (cited under Contrast) that contrastive topic (A) and focus (B) accent express different information structure categories. Challenges the general availability of fall-rise (BA) accent contours in English.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Givenness-Marking Strategies

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The linguistic marking of given information has been subject to intensive study in the areas of morphosyntax and prosody. Morphosyntactic approaches to givenness tend to concentrate on definite marking in the nominal domain, as explicated in Lambrecht 1994 and Schwarz 2009. Merchant 2005 is a standard reference on syntactic ellipsis under givenness. Schwarzschild 1999 is a standard reference for givenness accounts of prosodic de-accenting in English. See also Kučerová 2012 (cited under Slavic Languages) for a formal analysis of syntactic givenness in Czech.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Lambrecht, Knud. 1994. Information structure and sentence form: Topic, focus and the mental representations of discourse referents. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511620607Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chapter 3 of this comprehensive monograph on information structure looks at the information state of linguistic expressions in terms of the mental representations of discourse referents. The chapter discusses the two notions of identifiability and activation and their linguistic marking by means of syntax, definite marking, and pronominal forms.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Merchant, Jason. 2005. Fragments and ellipsis. Linguistics and Philosophy 27:661–738.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1007/s10988-005-7378-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Influential contribution to the study of the syntax-semantics and syntax-prosody interfaces. Provides a syntactic analysis of various ellipsis processes, involving fragments, in terms of a functional E(llipsis)-head that is licensed under a newly developed notion of e-giveness.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Schwarz, Florian. 2009. Two types of definites in natural language. PhD diss., Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In-depth discussion of definiteness marking in German and beyond. Argues that next to uniqueness, an important cross-linguistic licensing factor of definite marking is familiarity in context, or givenness; see also the Oxford Bibliographies entry on Definiteness. Very good introduction to the topic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Schwarzschild, Roger. 1999. Givenness, AvoidF and other constraints on the placement of accent. Natural Language Semantics 7:141–177.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1023/A:1008370902407Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thorough study of the effects of givenness and de-accenting in English. Shows that a formal notion of generalized givenness goes quite far in accounting for the accenting patterns in English, but also that pitch accent placement is in part conditioned by general phonological requirements, for instance in all-given sentences.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Methodological Issues

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This section lists important sources on the methodology of identifying information structure categories with their corresponding structural realization. Erteschik-Shir and Lappin 1979 and Reinhart 1981 are traditional accounts describing introspective tests for identifying focal information and aboutness topics, respectively, while van der Wal 2016 offers an exhaustive list of the empirical diagnostics available for identifying focus in cross-linguistic research. Next to these traditional methods, recent years have seen an increase in controlled empirical methods for eliciting information structure-related data, many of which were developed in the Potsdam-Berlin Collaborative Research Center on Information Structure (2003–2015; see Collaborative Research Centre (Sonderforschungsbereich / SFB 632), cited under Article Collections). The reference manual Skopeteas, et al. 2006 and the overview article Skopeteas 2012 discuss important tools for the empirical study of information structure. The handbook article Lüdeling, et al. 2014 presents the state-of-the-art in corpus-based approaches to information structure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Erteschik-Shir, Nomi, and Shalom Lappin. 1979. Dominance and the functional explanation of island phenomena. Theoretical Linguistics 6:41–86.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1515/thli.1979.6.1-3.41Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The article puts forward the lie-test for the identification of semantically dominant, or—in modern terminology—at-issue or focal material of the clause. Only the dominant focal information of an utterance can be targeted and explicitly rejected by interlocutors with “That’s a lie!”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Lüdeling, Anke, Julia Ritz, Amir Zeldes, and Manfred Stede. 2014. Corpus linguistics. In The Oxford handbook of information structure. Edited by Caroline Féry and Shinichiro Ishihara. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Handbook article. Excellent overview of the contribution of corpus linguistics to the study of information structure. Topics discussed include quantitative corpus-based methods for studying information structure, the question of corpus design, and issues in annotation, including multilayer annotation and automatic annotation of information structure categories. Available online by subscription.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Reinhart, Tanya. 1981. Pragmatics and linguistics: An analysis of sentence topics. Philosophica 27:53–94.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In-depth discussion of aboutness topics with a catalogue of empirical diagnostics for aboutness topics, including the widely used “Tell me something about X!” test.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Skopeteas, Stavros, Ines Fiedler, Sam Hellmuth, Anne Schwarz, Ruben Stoel, Gisbert Fanselow, Caroline Féry, and Manfred Krifka. 2006. Questionnaire on Information Structure (QUIS). In Working Papers of the SFB632. Interdisciplinary Studies on Information Structure (ISIS) 4. Potsdam: Universitätsverlag Potsdam.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Reference manual on the different tasks of the Questionnaire on Information Structure (QUIS). The questionnaire is an important empirical tool for the elicitation of cross-linguistically comparable and quantifiable production data on the realization of focus-background, topic-comment, and given-new. Well-suited for the investigation of information structure in hitherto un(der-)documented languages.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Skopeteas, Stavros. 2012. The empirical investigation of information structure. In The expression of information structure. Edited by Manfred Krifka and Renate Musan, 217–247. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Insightful discussion of empirical methods available for investigating information structure. Next to methods of corpus-based analysis and the elicitation of production data, the article focuses on the elicitation of felicity judgments on particular utterances in context. Valuable background reading for students and scholars interested in empirical research on information structure.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • van der Wal, Jenneke. 2016. Diagnosing focus. Studies in Language 40:2.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Overview article on the identification of focus in empirical work, particularly suited for cross-linguistic investigations of non-Indo-European languages. Detailed description and discussion of the empirical diagnostics available for the identification of focus in linguistic utterances, and of their individual merits and shortcomings.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Information Structure in Specific Language Groups

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The amount of attention paid to information structure-phenomena differs considerably across language families, and consequently descriptions and analyses of information structure-phenomena in different language groups vary greatly in number and depth of analysis. Indo-European intonation languages of the Germanic, Romance, and Slavic family are well described, as are African languages and the East Asian languages Chinese and Japanese. Underresearched languages of the Americas, Austronesia, South and Central Asia, by contrast, have only recently received more attention, and much descriptive and analytical work remains to be done. The following sections provide information on works on information structure in Romance, Slavic, African, Amerindian, and Asian languages.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Romance Languages

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Information structure has by now become a major topic in Romance linguistics, and the linguistic realization of information structure in Romance is well documented for the major languages, with the bulk of work carried out on French. In addition, Romance data have played an important role in the development of linguistic theories in generative grammar. Complementing such works of a more general theoretical interest, such as Samek-Lodovici 2005 on Italian (cited under Grammatical Modeling), and Cinque 1977 on Italian (cited under Topic-marking strategies), which deal with various syntactic and prosodic aspects of information structure, there are numerous works with a specific empirical interest in particular languages or aspects of information structure. The article collection Dufter and Jacob 2009 amply demonstrates the state of the art and the width of the field in the study of information structure of Romance. Vallduví 1995 investigates the structural marking of information structure in Catalan. Leonetti and Escandell-Vidal 2014 deals with the interpretive effects of fronting in Spanish, and Zubizaretta 1998 with the interaction of prosody and syntax in focus marking in Spanish and French, in comparison to Germanic languages. Klein 2012 and several handbook chapters on information structure in Corblin and deSwart 2005 are excellent general overviews of information structure phenomena in French. De Cat 2007 and Déstruel-Johnson 2012 offer in-depth investigations of dislocation phenomena and of the interpretation and uses of French clefts, respectively.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Corblin, Francis, and Henriette deSwart, eds. 2005. Handbook of French semantics. Stanford, CA: CSLI.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Section 5, “Information,” gives a comprehensive overview of information structure in French. Next to a general introduction to the linguistic realization of topic and focus and the mental activation state of discourse referents, individual chapters by eminent scholars discuss prosodic marking, left dislocation, clefts, and subject inversion. Indispensable.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • De Cat, Cécile. 2007. French dislocation: Interpretation, syntax, acquisition. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Comprehensive monograph on the syntax, interpretation, information structure, and acquisition of French right and left dislocations. Unlike much other work on the topic, the study is based on corpora of informal spoken French.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Déstruel-Johnson, Emilie. 2012. The French C’est-cleft: Empirical studies of its meaning and use. PhD diss., Univ. of Texas at Austin.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This dissertation is exemplary for modern experimental approaches to information structure. Presents experiments on the interpretation, distribution, and prosodic realization of focus and clefting in French. Challenges some of the canonicalized views in Lambrecht 1994, cited under Foundational Works and Comprehensive Overviews.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Dufter, Andreas, and Daniel Jacob, eds. 2009. Focus and background in Romance languages. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Article collection on focus marking in the major Romance languages. Individual contributions include studies on left dislocation and clefting, the position of subjects and focus particles, clitic doubling of objects, information packaging in complex sentences, as well as diachronic, acquisitional, and comparative approaches to focus-background marking.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Klein, Wolfgang. 2012. The information structure of French. In The expression of information structure. Edited by Manfred Krifka and Renate Musan, 95–126. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Overview article on the realization of information structure in French. Builds in part on the analyses in de Cat 2007 and in Lambrecht 1994 (cited under Foundational Works and Comprehensive Overviews), but deviates from them in important ways.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Leonetti, Manuel, and Victoria Escandell-Vidal. 2014. Fronting and irony in Spanish. In Left sentence peripheries in Spanish: Diachronic, variationist and typological perspectives. Edited by Andreas Dufter and Álvaro S. Octavio de Toledo, 309–342. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Noncartographic approach to the discourse-semantic and pragmatic effects of noncanonical word order and fronting in Spanish. Written by one of the leading experts on information structure in Spanish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Vallduví, Enric. 1995. Structural properties of information packaging in Catalan. In Discourse configurational languages. Edited by Katalin É. Kiss, 122–152. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Overview article of the syntactic realization of the information structure categories focus, link/topic, and tail/given in Catalan.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Zubizaretta, Maria-Luisa. 1998. Prosody, focus, and word order. Cambridge, MA: MIT.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Among the first formal syntactic studies of information structure in Romance (Spanish, French), in comparison to Germanic. The central claim that prosodic requirements (focus accenting) trigger syntactic reordering in Spanish has far-reaching implications for the architecture of grammar.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Slavic Languages

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Czech has figured prominently in the early functionalist studies of information structure in the Prague-school tradition, as explicated in Mathesius 1964, Daneš 1964, and Firbas 1962 (all cited under Historical Precursors). Nowadays, there are more and more formal studies of information structure in Slavic. King 1995 and Bailyn 2014 are representative examples of formal syntactic analyses of word order and information structure in Russian. The articles Kučerová 2012 and Šimík and Wierzba 2014 offer competing accounts of the interaction of information structure and word order in Czech (and other Slavic languages). Godjevac 2006 is one of the rare studies of focus in South Slavic. Finally, the handbook articles Junghanns and Zybatow 2009 and Jasinskaja 2014 are easily accessible general overviews of the linguistic coding of information structure in Slavic languages in general.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Bailyn, John F. 2014. The syntax of Russian. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chapters 6 and 7 of this general treatment of Russian syntax provide an empirical overview of the syntactic effects of information structure in Russian, as well as a formal analysis in the framework of derivational generative grammar.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Godjevac, Svetlana. 2006. Focus projection in Serbo-Croatian. Stanford, CA: CSLI.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A rare study of information structure in South Slavic. Discusses focus marking and focus projection. Argues that focus in Serbo-Croation is not marked by pitch accent, but by an L-phrase tone.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Jasinskaja, Katja. 2014. Information structure in Slavic. In The Oxford handbook of information structure. Edited by Caroline Féry and Shinichiro Ishihara. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Excellent state-of-the-art handbook article. Comprehensive treatment of information structure in Slavic. Drawing on data from all Slavic languages, the article discusses the prosodic realization of information structural categories, information structure and syntax, information structure and pronominal realization, and information structure-sensitive particles. Contains a comprehensive list of references on the topic. Well-suited for beginners. Handbook available online by subscription.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Junghanns, Uwe, and Gerhild Zybatow. 2009. Grammatik und Informationsstruktur. In Die slavischen Sprachen: Ein internationales Handbuch zu ihrer Struktur, ihrer Geschichte und ihrer Erforschung. Edited by Sebastian Kempgen, Peter Kosta, Tilman Berger, and Karl Gutschmidt, 684–707. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Handbook article by two leading scholars on the topic, written in German. Provides a good overview of the grammatical realization of information structure in Slavic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • King, Tracy H. 1995. Configuring topic and focus in Russian. Stanford, CA: CSLI.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Standard reference of information structure in the framework of lexical-functional grammar (see also Butt and King 1996, cited under Grammatical Modeling). Provides descriptions and analyses of the central word order effects of topic and focus in Russian.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Kučerová, Ivona. 2012. Grammatical marking of givenness. Natural Language Semantics 20:1–30.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1007/s11050-011-9073-ySave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Research article. Offers a formal syntactic and semantic analysis of givenness. Argues for grammatical marking of givenness in Czech, Russian, and Serbo-Croatian in the form of a covert givenness operator, the meaning of which directly affects word order in triggering the often observed order given > new.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Šimík, Radek, and Marta Wierzba. 2014. The role of givenness, presupposition, and prosody in Czech word order: An experimental study. Semantics and Pragmatics 8.3: 1–103.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Open access journal article. Challenges the analysis of information structure in Czech in Kučerová 2012. Based on experimental work, givenness is shown to be prosodically marked, with only indirect effects on syntax: De-stressed given material cannot occur in sentence-final accent position.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        African Languages

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        African languages are among the best-studied non-European languages when it comes to information structure, possibly owing to the prevalence of morphological information structural marking and special syntactic information structure configurations in these languages. Almost all grammars of individual languages contain sections on information structure. Güldemann, et al. 2015 is an up-to-date bibliographic overview of information structure in African languages. Comprehensive treatments of focus and information structure marking in African languages are provideb by Bearth 1999, typological overview, and Fiedler and Schwarz 2010, an article collection. Aboh 2004 and Ameka 2010 concentrate on the expression of information structure in Kwa languages, while Rialland and Robert 2001 investigates the insensitivity of Wolof prosody to information structure. The dissertation van der Wal 2009 is an excellent example of the state of the art in documenting and analyzing information structure in an individual Bantu language. Hyman and Watters 1984 is an influential early study of focus on predicates and predicational operators in Aghem (Grassfield Bantu). See, furthermore, the articles Kanerva 1990 and Downing and Pompino-Marschall 2013 (cited under Prosodic Focus Marking) on prosodic phrasing in Chichewâ, and Fiedler, et al. 2010 (cited under Focus-Marking Strategies) on subject/nonsubject asymmetries in the focus marking of Gur, Kwa, and Chadic languages; the entry on information structure in Bantu in Féry and Ishihara 2014 (cited under Foundational Works and Comprehensive Overviews); and Heine and Reh 1983 (cited under Historical Linguistics), on the diachronic emergence of focus constructions from clefts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Aboh, Enoch O. 2004. The morphosyntax of complement-head sequences: Clause structure and word order patterns in Kwa. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195159905.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Influential monograph. Presents an explicit formal syntactic study of focus and topic marking in Gungbe and other Kwa languages. The analysis is couched in the framework of syntactic cartography, as explicated in Rizzi 1997, cited under Grammatical Modeling.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Ameka, Felix K. 2010. Information packaging constructions in Kwa: Micro-variation and typology. In Topics in Kwa syntax. Edited by James Essegbey and Enoch O. Aboh, 141–176. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Comprehensive state-of-the-art overview of the linguistic realization of various information structure categories in Kwa. Discusses phonological, morphological, and syntactic strategies of IS-marking.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Bearth, Thomas. 1999. The contribution of African linguistics towards a general theory of focus: Update and critical review. Journal of African Languages and Linguistics 20:121–156.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1515/jall.1999.20.2.121Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Seminal typological overview article on focus marking in African languages, written by a leading scholar. Discusses strategies of focus marking in African languages and their significance for a general theory of focus.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Fiedler, Ines, and Anne Schwarz. 2010. The expression of information structure: A documentation of its diversity across Africa. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1075/tsl.91Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Article collection with original contributions by leading scholars in the field. Comprehensive overview of information structure phenomena from all major language families of Africa, including the lesser studied Nilo-Saharan and Khoe. Contains a comprehensive list of references.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Güldemann, Tom, Sabine Zerbian, and Malte Zimmermann. 2015. Variation in information structure with special reference to Africa. Annual Review of Linguistics 1:155–178.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1146/annurev-linguist-030514-125134Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Comprehensive bibliographical overview of empirical, theoretical, and formal studies of information structure, with a focus on African languages. Discusses typological, phonological, syntactic, and semantic aspects of information structure. Valuable source of information for students and other beginners in the topic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Hyman, Larry M., and John R. Watters. 1984. Auxiliary focus. Studies in African Linguistics 15:233–273.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Seminal paper. Shows that focus on verbs and verb-related operators (polarity, aspect, tense) in many African languages is often indicated by a special grammatical device, unlike in intonation languages, in which focus is indiscriminately marked by accent.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Rialland, Annie, and Stéphane Robert. 2001. The intonational system of Wolof. Linguistics 39:893–939.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1515/ling.2001.038Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In-depth study of Wolof prosody. Shows that Wolof does not use prosody for signaling focus, in addition to the morphological devices for focus marking described in Robert 2000, cited under Morphological Focus Marking.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • van der Wal, Jenneke. 2009. Word order and information structure in Makhuwa-Enahara. LOT Dissertation Series 215. Utrecht, The Netherlands: LOT.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Comprehensive account of the ways in which information structure is structurally realized in this Bantu language, including morphological conjoint-disjoint marking, the semantic effects of which are further discussed in van der Wal 2011, cited under Exhaustiveness Effects.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Amerindian Languages

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There is a growing body of work on Meso-American languages, such as Mayan, the information structural properties of which are quite well studied. The articles Aissen 1992, Stiebels 2006, and AnderBois 2012 investigate various information-structure-related aspects of Mayan. There is considerably less published work on information structure in North and South American languages. Notable exceptions are Davis, et al. 2004 and Koch 2011, which are important contributions to the study of focus in Salish languages, Gordon 2007 on Chickasaw, and the studies Tonhauser 2012 and Clopper and Tonhauser 2013 on the realization of topic and focus in South American Guaraní.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Aissen, Judith L. 1992. Topic and focus in Mayan. Language 68:43–80.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Formal syntactic analysis of left-peripheral topics and foci in otherwise predicate-initial Mayan languages. Focus and two types of topics (external, internal) are argued to occupy distinct structural positions. Relates syntactic structure to intonational phrasing, anticipating later work on the syntax-prosody interface in Féry 2013, cited under Focus-Marking Strategies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • AnderBois, Scott. 2012. Focus and uninformativity in Yucatec Maya questions. Natural Language Semantics 20:349–390.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1007/s11050-012-9084-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            First formal semantic analysis of information structure in Mayan. Gives a highly sophisticated account of the context-dependent interpretation of sentences with indefinite foci as expressing indefinite statements or term questions, respectively. Presupposes acquaintance with inquisitive semantics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Clopper, Cynthia G., and Judith Tonhauser. 2013. The prosody of focus in Paraguayan Guaraní. International Journal of American Linguistics 79:219–251.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1086/669629Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pioneering experimental study on the prosody of Guaraní focus. Detailed discussion of the prosodic factors involved in the production and perception of focus in this language.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Davis, Henri, L. Lisa Matthewson, and Scott Shank. 2004. Clefts vs. nominal predicates in two Salish languages. In Studies in Salish linguistics in honor of Dale Kinkade. Edited by Donna B. Gerdts and Lisa Matthewson, 110–117. Occasional Papers in Linguistics. Missoula: Univ. of Montana.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Short treatment of the structure and interpretation of syntactic focusing strategies in Salish languages. Shows that clefts in the languages under discussion are not anaphoric devices and can be used discourse-initially, unlike cleft constructions in major European languages.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Gordon, Matthew. 2007. The intonational realization of contrastive focus in Chickasaw. In Topic and focus: A cross-linguistic perspective. Edited by Chungmin Lee, Matthew Gordon, and Daniel Büring, 69–83. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Short experimental study on morphological and prosodic marking of focus in this Muskogean North American language, with somewhat inconclusive results regarding the prosodic marking of focus.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Koch, Karsten A. 2011. A phonetic study of intonation and focus in Nłeʔkepmxcin (Thompson River Salish). In Prosodic categories: Production, perception and comprehension. Edited by Sónia Frota, Gorka Elordiéta, and Pilar Prieto, 111–143. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-0137-3_6Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Important study of the structural realization of focus in a Salish language. Has implications for the analysis of focus in general. Shows that focus constituents in Nłeʔkepmxcin are not marked by prosodic prominence, but must be realized as predicates in sentence-initial position.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Stiebels, Barbara. 2006. Agent focus in Mayan languages. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 24:501–570.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1007/s11049-005-0539-9Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Specialized journal article with a focus on morphosyntax. Discusses the phenomenon of agent focus, or the special morphosyntactic marking on focused subjects of transitive clauses, in Mayan. Develops a formal syntactic account of agent focus marking in several Mayan languages.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Tonhauser, Judith. 2012. Contrastive topics in Paraguayan Guaraní discourse. In Proceedings of the 22nd Conference on Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT 22). Edited by Anca Chereches, 268–285. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Short conference paper. Contributing to the cross-linguistic study of contrastive topics. Shows that CTs in Guaraní are marked by a particle, but that the discourse-semantic meaning of such CTs is slightly different from that of prosodically or syntactically marked CTs in other languages.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Asian Languages

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Historically, East Asian languages have played a major role in the development of the concept of topic-prominent languages, as seen in Li and Thompson 1976, cited under Linguistic Realization. Nowadays, there are numerous comprehensive treatments of the expression of information structure in Japanese and Chinese. Representative examples listed here are Vermeulen 2012, Heycock 2008, and Hole 2012; see also the articles on Chinese, Japanese, Yongning Na, and Vietnamese in the Oxford Handbook of Information Structure (Féry and Ishihara 2014, cited under Foundational Works and Comprehensive Overviews). Xu 1999 is a phonetic study of focus realization in Mandarin Chinese. The information structure of South Asian languages has often been discussed in connection with syntactic reordering in Butt and King 1996. Kılıçaslan 2004 is a standard reference on information structure in Turkish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Butt, Miriam, and Tracy H. King. 1996. Structural topic and focus without movement. In Proceedings of the First Annual LFG Conference. Edited by Miriam Butt and Tracy H. King. Stanford, CA: CSLI.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Online conference paper. Gives a short description of the syntactic realization of topic, focus, and background in the two SOV languages Urdu and Turkish. Offers a nonderivational analysis in terms of variation in base orders with topics generated in left-initial and foci generated in preverbal position.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Heycock, Caroline. 2008. Japanese -wa, -ga, and information structure. In The Oxford handbook of Japanese linguistics. Edited by Shigeru Miyagawa and Mamoru Saito, 54–83. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Handbook article on the distribution and information structure effects of the Japanese markers wa and ga. Lucid overview of empirical facts and generalizations, major references in the literature, and possible theoretical accounts. Indispensable background for anybody working on topic or focus in Japanese.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Hole, Daniel. 2012. The information structure of Chinese. In The expression of information structure. Edited by Manfred Krifka and Renate Musan, 45–50. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              First comprehensive overview of how the information structure categories of focus-background, topic-comment, and given-new are expressed in Mandarin Chinese. Excellent starting point for the study on information structure in Chinese.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Kılıçaslan, Yilmaz. 2004. Syntax of information structure in Turkish. Linguistics 42:717–765.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Standard reference on the syntactic realization of foci, topics, and old/given information in SOV Turkish. Good starting point for further explorations on information structure in Turkish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Vermeulen, Reiko. 2012. The information structure of Japanese. In The expression of information structure. Edited by Manfred Krifka and Renate Musan, 187–216. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Insightful overview article discussing the various means of expressing the major information structure categories in Japanese.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Xu, Yi. 1999. Effects of tone and focus on the formation and alignment of f0 contours. Journal of Phonetics 27:55–105.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1006/jpho.1999.0086Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Influential research article. Pioneering phonetic study of the prosodic effects of focus in a tone language. Shows that focus in Mandarin is expressed indirectly by tonal compression in the postfocal domain. Raises important issues for theories of the prosody-information structure interface.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Interpretation of Information Structure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Interpretive effects of information structure are mostly discussed in connection with focus-sensitivity; see below. In addition, there are several more general treatments of discourse-semantic effects of information structure marking, on the one hand, and the truth-conditional effects of such marking, on the other. Jacobs 1984, Büring 2007, and Truckenbrodt 2012 focus on the discourse-semantic dimension of information structure. The handbook article Hinterwimmer 2011 concentrates on the truth-conditional effects of explicit marking of information structure, while Krifka 2008 contains a discussion of both interpretive dimensions under the labels “Common Ground Management” and “Common Ground Content,” respectively. Written from a different perspective, the monograph Hajicová, et al. 1998 contains a direct comparison of functionalist and generative formal semantic approaches to information structure, and their possible points of convergence.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Büring, Daniel. 2007. Intonation, semantics and information structure. In The Oxford handbook of linguistic interfaces. Edited by Gillian Ramchand and Charles Reiss, 445–468. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Short handbook article. Well-suited for scholars and students with little previous exposure to the topic. Good exposition of the discourse-semantic effects of focus and contrastive topic, and of the interfaces that map abstract syntactic IS-markings to prosody and discourse-semantic interpretation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Hajicová, Eva, Barbara Partee, and Petr Sgall. 1998. Topic-focus articulation, tripartite structures, and semantic content. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1007/978-94-015-9012-9Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Highly informative monograph. Rare instance of a direct dialogue between proponents of functionalist and formal semantic approaches to information structure. Introduces core information structure-related concepts from both traditions, followed up by a comparison of the two, and an attempt at a synthesis in the form of jointly developed hypotheses.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Hinterwimmer, Stefan. 2011. Information structure and truth-conditional semantics. In Semantics: An international handbook of natural language meaning. Vol. 2. Edited by Klaus von Heusinger, Claudia Maienborn, and Paul Portner, 1875–1908. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          State-of-the-art handbook article. First systematic treatment of truth-conditional semantic effects, or the absence thereof, of information structural markings in the three dimensions of focus-background, topic-comment marking, and given-new.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Jacobs, Joachim. 1984. Funktionale Satzperspektive und Illokutionssemantik. Linguistische Berichte 91:25–58.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Early unified semantic analysis of focus-background and topic-comment in illocutionary semantics. Written in German, the article puts forward a relational view of all kinds of focus as associating with semantic operators. Apparently free instances of focus are bound by illocutionary operators.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Krifka, Manfred. 2008. Basic notions of information structure. Acta Linguistica Hungarica 55:243–276.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1556/ALing.55.2008.3-4.2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              State-of-the-art overview article, identifying two major discourse-semantic functions of IS-marking at different levels: common ground management versus a contribution to common ground content.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Truckenbrodt, Hubert. 2012. Semantics of intonation. In Semantics: An international handbook of natural language meaning. Vol. 3. Edited by Claudia Maienborn, Klaus von Heusinger, and Paul Portner, 2039–2969. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                State-of-the-art handbook article elaborating on the seminal work Pierrehumbert and Hirschberg 1990, cited under Linguistic Realization. Exceptionally clear discussion of the discourse-semantic effects of intonational tones and tunes in English, among which are focus and topic accents.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Focus Interpretation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The formal semantic literature offers several approaches to the discourse-semantic effects of focus. The textbook-style monograph Beaver and Clark 2008 and the handbook articles von Stechow 1991 and Rooth 1996 are good introductions to the topic. The specialized articles Kratzer 1991, Geurts and van der Sandt 2004, and Büring 2004 are technically and conceptually more demanding articles on focus interpretation. Wold 1996 contains a direct comparison of the main approaches to the interpretation of focus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Beaver, David, and Brady Clark. 2008. Sense and Sensitivity. Oxford: Blackwell.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1002/9781444304176Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Important monograph. Contains a textbook-style introduction to the major formal semantic approaches to focus, Alternative Semantics and Structured Meanings, and to focus-sensitivity. Contains the most lucid discussion of Structured Meanings in the literature to date.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Büring, Daniel. 2004. Focus suppositions. Theoretical Linguistics 30:65–76.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1515/thli.2004.007Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Reply to Geurts and van der Sandt 2004, which challenges their central claim that all instances of focus trigger presuppositions. Introduces the weaker discourse-semantic concept of focus suppositions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Geurts, Bart, and Rob van der Sandt. 2004. Interpreting focus. Theoretical Linguistics 30:1–44.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Often-cited research article. Puts forward the controversial claim that all instances of focus introduce existential presuppositions into the discourse.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Kratzer, Angelika. 1991. The representation of focus. In Semantik/Semantics: Ein internationales Handbuch der zeitgenössischen Forschung. Edited by Arnim von Stechow and Dieter Wunderlich, 825–834. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Another influential handbook article. Identifies several shortcomings with the initial implementation of Alternative Semantics. Develops an alternative account of focus interpretation as involving designated variables, which are interpreted by assignment functions. Presupposes acquaintance with the formal semantic concepts involved.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Rooth, Mats. 1996. Focus. In Handbook of contemporary semantic research. Edited by Shalom Lappin, 271–297. Oxford: Blackwell.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          High-level introduction to the interpretation of focus in Alternative Semantics, developed in Rooth 1992, cited under Focus-background. Contains comprehensive discussions of focus-related phenomena and theoretical issues. Extremely rewarding for readers already familiar with the topic. Not too suitable for students and readers with little previous exposure to the topic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • von Stechow, Arnim. 1991. Current issues in the theory of focus. In Semantik/Semantics: Ein internationales Handbuch der zeitgenössischen Forschung. Edited by Arnim von Stechow and Dieter Wunderlich, 804–825. Berlin: de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Handbook article. Valuable overview of focus and focus interpretation from the perspective of 1980s generative grammar. Contains a still valuable discussion of focus particles and the characterization of focus as the psychological predicate of the clause.Shows how focus interpretation is modelled in Alternative Semantics and Structured Meaning approaches.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Wold, Dag E. 1996. Long distance selective binding: The case of focus. In Proceedings of the 6th Conference on Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT 6). Edited by Teresa Galloway and Justin Spence, 311–327. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Department of Linguistics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Relatively unknown conference paper of high theoretical relevance. The explicit comparison of three accounts of focus interpretation in terms of their expressive power concludes with a plea for the Designated Variable account proposed in Kratzer 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Topic Interpretation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Since the interpretive contribution of topics mostly affects the discourse-semantic dimension of common ground management, there has been much less semantic work on topics than on focus. Existing accounts concentrate either on the interpretive effects of aboutness topic or on contrastive topics (CTs), and discussions mostly draw on data from European languages or Japanese. Reinhart 1981, Portner and Yabushita 1998, and Endriss 2009 put forward semantic analyses of aboutness topics in English, Japanese, and German, respectively. Ebert and Hinterwimmer 2010 investigates the semantic nature of indefinite aboutness topics. The articles Büring 2003, Wagner 2012, and Tomioka 2010 propose competing analyses for the interpretation of contrastive topics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Büring, Daniel. 2003. On D-trees, beans and B-accents. Linguistics and Philosophy 26:511–545.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1023/A:1025887707652Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Groundbreaking journal article on the interpretation of contrastive topics. Presupposes some background in focus semantics. Contrastive topics are analyzed as marking partial answers to a superquestion present in the discourse. Formally, they introduce CT-operators, which interact with focus operators in mapping focus alternatives to CT-alternatives.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ebert, Cornelia, and Stefan Hinterwimmer. 2010. The interpretation of topical indefinites as direct and indirect aboutness topics. In Information structure: Theoretical, typological, and experimental perspectives. Edited by Malte Zimmermann and Caroline Féry, 89–114. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Contribution to article collection. Gives a unified semantic analysis of indefinite topic expressions in terms of direct and indirect aboutness topicality. Indirect aboutness topics restrict topic situations that serve as discourse addresses for information storage.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Endriss, Cornelia. 2009. Quantificational topics: A scopal treatment of exceptional wide scope phenomena. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-2303-2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This monograph puts forward a speech act analysis of aboutness topics that captures the exceptional scope behavior of (topical) indefinites. Aboutness topics introduce an independent speech act, an existence assertion, which is conjoined with a second assertion expressed by the comment.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Portner, Paul, and Katsuhiko Yabushita. 1998. The semantics and pragmatics of topic phrases. Linguistics and Philosophy 21:117–157.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1023/A:1005311504497Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Extremly lucid journal article. Mostly drawing on data from Japanese, it gives a unified formal analysis of the interpretive effects of sentence-initial aboutness topics as giving instructions for context update. The analysis is cast in a modified version of standard Heimian file-card semantics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Reinhart, Tanya. 1981. Pragmatics and linguistics: An analysis of sentence topics. Philosophica 27:53–94.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The classical source on the topic. Gives a first semantic characterization of the meaning of topics using the file-card metaphor. Sentence topics are analyzed as aboutness topics, which provide an address for information storage during context update.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Tomioka, Satoshi. 2010. Contrastive topics operate on speech acts. In Information structure: Theoretical, typological, and experimental perspectives. Edited by Malte Zimmermann and Caroline Féry, 115–138. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Contribution to article collection. Puts forward an analysis of wa-marked contrastive topics in Japanese as operating at the speech act level by comparing the actual utterance with alternative speech acts. Additional interpretive effects are derived pragmatically from this basic semantic operation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Wagner, Michael. 2012. Contrastive topics decomposed. Semantics and Pragmatics 5.8: 1–54.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Specialized journal article. Proposes a controversial semantic account of contrastive topics that deviates from the one in Büring 2003 in doing without a special semantic CT-operator. Prosodic CT-marking indicates stacking of two independent focus operators, which are compositionally computed, arguably yielding a CT-interpretation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Direct Semantic Effects of Focus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The literature offers discussions of three kinds of direct semantic effects of focus on the truth-conditional or presupposed content of clauses: (1) focus sensitivity is discussed in Jacobs 1983, Rooth 1992, von Fintel 2004, and Beaver and Clark 2008; (2) scope effects are discussed in Ioup 1975, Büring 1997, and Krifka 1998; (3) intervention effects of focus particles blocking the compositional derivation of question meanings are discussed in Beck 2006.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Beaver, David, and Brady Clark. 2008. Sense and sensitivity. Oxford: Blackwell.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1002/9781444304176Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Important monograph. Advocates a hybrid analysis of focus-sensitivity. Argues for the existence of different kinds of focus-sensitivity in natural language: conventional (semantic) association with focus, free (pragmatic) association with focus, and quasi (pragmatic) association with focus.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Beck, Sigrid. 2006. Intervention effects follow from focus interpretation. Natural Language Semantics 14:1–56.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1007/s11050-005-4532-ySave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Seminal journal paper. Lays out the standard view on intervention effects with focus as following directly from the interpretation of focus in the alternative semantics framework developed in Rooth 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Büring, Daniel. 1997. The great scope inversion conspiracy. Linguistics and Philosophy 20:175–194.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1023/A:1005397026866Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Journal article. Pragmatic account of the occurrence of inverse scope readings under contrastive topic prosody in German in the Question under Discussion framework developed in Roberts 2012 (cited under Focus-background) and Büring 2003 (cited under Contrast).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • von Fintel, Kai. 2004. A minimal theory of adverbial quantification. In Context-dependence in the analysis of linguistic meaning. Edited by Hans Kamp and Barbara Partee, 137–175. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Groundbreaking article, widely circulated as a manuscript since 1995. Lays out the standard view on the focus-sensitive nature of adverbial quantifiers, which is analyzed as a pragmatic phenomenon. Quantifier restrictions are contextually resolved, with focus-background partitioning helping in the resolution process.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Ioup, Georgette. 1975. Some universals for quantifier scope. In Syntax and semantics. Vol. 4. Edited by John P. Kimball, 37–58. New York: Academic Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Seminal article. Among the first to identify information structural marking in the form of topic and focus accenting as a linguistic factor effecting the computation of quantifier scope.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Jacobs, Joachim. 1983. Fokus Und Skalen: Zur Syntax Und Semantik Der Gradpartikeln Im Deutschen. Tübingen, Germany: Niemeyer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1515/9783111351889Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Insightful, though often overlooked monograph on the meaning of focus and focus-sensitive elements. Written in German, the book provides a unified semantic analysis of focus-sensitive particles as functional elements that are lexically specified to map focus constituents on contextual scales.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Krifka, Manfred. 1998. Scope inversion under the rise-fall contour in German. Linguistic Inquiry 29:75–112.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Syntax-based account of scope inversion under contrastive topic prosody in German, which contrasts the one in Büring 1997. Rise-fall prosody is treated as indicative of complex underlying syntactic configurations that map onto the observable inverse readings.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Rooth, Mats. 1992. A theory of focus interpretation. Natural Language Semantics 1.1: 75–116.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1007/BF02342617Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Very important journal article. Gives a pragmatic analysis of focus-sensitivity, which contrasts with the lexical semantic analysis in Jacobs 1983. Argues that focus-sensitive elements operate on contextually given sets, with focus helping in the identification of such sets.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Focus Particles

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Exclusive (only), additive (also/too) and scalar (even) particles are among the best-studied functional expressions in formal semantics. Apart from the detailed study in Jacobs 1983 (cited under Direct Semantic Effects of Focus), important comprehensive treatments are found in the monographs König 1991 and Beaver and Clark 2008. There are also numerous studies on individual particles. Apart from Beaver and Clark 2008, important studies of exclusive particles are the articles Horn 1969 and Coppock and Beaver 2014. Influential analyses of scalar (-additive) particles are Karttunen and Peters 1979, Kay 1990, and Gast and van der Auwera 2011. Additives are discussed in Krifka 1999. Krifka 1991 contains a discussion of sentences with multiple particles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Beaver, David, and Brady Clark. 2008. Sense and sensitivity. Oxford: Blackwell.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1002/9781444304176Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The second half of this important monograph presents a discourse-semantic perspective on scalar and exclusive particles as operating on Questions under Discussion provided by context. Contains an in-depth discussion of exclusives, including association behavior and diachronic development.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Coppock, Elizabeth, and David Beaver. 2014. Principles of the exclusive muddle. Journal of Semantics 31:371–432.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1093/jos/fft007Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Most comprehensive semantic overview of English exclusive expressions to date. Reflects advances in research on exclusives since Horn 1969. Proposes a unified analysis and formal typology of exclusives as discourse-sensitive expressions that specify an upper bound on potential answers to the Question under Discussion.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Gast, Volker, and Johan van der Auwera. 2011. Scalar additive operators in the languages of Europe. Language 87:2–54.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Large-scale cross-linguistic study of scalar operators. Examines the distributional behavior of scalar expressions in a sample of forty European languages. Proposes a semantic framework for the cross-linguistic study of scalars. Develops a useful typology of scalar additive operators.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Horn, Laurence R. 1969. A presuppositional analysis of only and even. In Papers from the Fifth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistics Society, April 18–19, 1969. Edited by Robert I. Binnick, 98–107. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Dept of Linguistics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pioneering study. Earliest formal semantic treatment of focus particles in the literature. Exclusive only and scalar even are analyzed as antonyms with reversed truth-conditional and presupposed meaning components. Both identify the focus denotations as endpoints on contextually given scales.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Karttunen, Lauri, and Stanley Peters. 1979. Conventional implicatures in Montague Grammar. In Syntax and semantics 11: Presupposition. Edited by Choon-Kyu Oh and David A. Dineen, 1–56. New York: Academic Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Seminal article. Indispensable for students and scholars interested in the meaning of scalar particles. Articulates the canonical view on the meaning of scalar even as triggering an additive presupposition next to a presupposition of unlikelihood.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Kay, Paul. 1990. Even. Linguistics and Philosophy 13:59–111.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1007/BF00630517Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Another important article on scalar particles. Offers a more refined treatment of scalars as marking entailment relations in multidimensional logical space. Overcomes some of the empirical problems with the analysis in Karttunen and Peters 1979.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • König, Ekkehard. 1991. The meaning of focus particles. London: Routledge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.4324/9780203212288Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Comprehensive monograph on the interpretation of focus particles in European languages. The semantic discussion is largely informal and easily accessible for beginners without a background in formal semantics. Ideally suited for undergraduate and graduate students.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Krifka, Manfred. 1991. A compositional semantics for multiple focus constructions. In Proceedings of the First Conference on Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT 1). Cornell Working Papers in Linguistics 10. Edited by Steven K. Moore and Adam Z. Wyner, 127–158. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Department of Linguistics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Conference paper. Among the rare attempts at compositionally analyzing the meaning of sentences with multiple focus particles. The first part provides a good empirical overview over existing structural configurations. The second part is technically involved and gives an analysis in the Structured Meanings framework.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Krifka, Manfred. 1999. Additive particles under stress. In Proceedings of the 8th Conference Conference on Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT 8). Edited by Tanya Matthews and Devon Strolovitch, 111–128. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Department of Linguistics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Short conference paper on accented postposed additive particles (too), which argues that such particles associate with contrastive topics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Exhaustiveness Effects

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Another area of intensive semantic and pragmatic research on focus is the emergence of exhaustiveness inferences with focus and focus-related constructions. The articles Szabolcsi 1981, Szabolcsi 1994 and Onéa and Beaver 2009 provide analyses of the exhaustiveness of Hungarian preverbal focus. The articles Horn 1981, Percus 1997, Velleman, et al. 2012, and Büring and Kriz 2012 discuss the exhaustiveness of cleft sentences in English. Van der Wal 2011 offers a rare discussion of exclusion effects with morphological focus marking in a Bantu language.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Büring, Daniel, and Manuel Kriz. 2012. It’s that, and that’s it! Exhaustivity and homogeneity presuppositions in clefts (and definites). Semantics & Pragmatics 6.6: 1–29.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Advanced journal paper that presupposes a background in formal semantics. Variation on the analysis in Percus 1997. It-clefts are treated on a par with definite descriptions semantically in triggering a homogeneity presupposition. Ends on controversial claim that it-clefts do not obligatorily trigger existence presuppositions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Horn, Lawrence R. 1981. Exhaustiveness and the semantics of clefts. In Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual Meeting of the North Eastern Linguistic Society (NELS 11). Edited by Victoria Burke and James Pustejovsky, 124–142. Amherst, MA: GLSA.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Programmatic conference paper. Makes a forceful claim for the pragmatic nature of exhaustiveness effects with it-clefts. Exhaustiveness results from a manner-driven scalar implicature triggered by the use of a noncanonical cleft structure over a canonical sentence.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Onéa, Edgar, and David Beaver. 2009. Hungarian focus is not exhausted. In Proceedings of the 19th Conference on Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT 19). Edited by Ed Cormany, Satoshi Ito, and David Lutz, 342–359. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Department of Linguistics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pioneering experimental study of exhaustive focus in Hungarian. A picture description task supports the theoretical conclusion in Szabolcsi 1994 that exhaustiveness with foci differs from exhaustiveness asserted with exclusive particles. A follow-up shows that focus exhaustiveness in Hungarian is conditioned by the discourse-semantic factor of answerhood.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Percus, Orin. 1997. Prying open the cleft. In Proceedings of the 27th Annual Meeting of the North Eastern Linguistic Society (NELS 27). Edited by Kiyomi Kusumoto, 337–351. Amherst: GLSA.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Another programmatic conference paper. Reanalyzes the exhaustiveness effect as deriving from a maximality presupposition that is triggered by a covert definite determiner forming part of an underlying pseudocleft.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Szabolcsi, Anna. 1981. Compositionality in focus. Folia Linguistica 15:141–161.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pioneering formal semantic study of preverbal focus in Hungarian. Introduces widely used empirical diagnostics for exhaustiveness. Proposes a truth-conditional treatment of exhaustive focus, which is later refuted in Szabolcsi 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Szabolcsi, Anna. 1994. All quantifiers are not equal: The case of focus. Acta Linguistica Hungarica 42:171–187.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Important, though often overlooked, reanalysis of the seminal analysis in Szabolcsi 1981. Focus exhaustiveness in Hungarian is reanalyzed in more conventional terms as resulting from the interaction of an identity statement (asserted) and a maximality presupposition on the focus constituent; also see Percus 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Velleman, Dan B., David Beaver, Emilie Destruel, Dylan Bumford, Edgar Onéa, and Elisabeth Coppock. 2012. It-clefts are IT (inquiry terminating) constructions. In Proceedings of the 22nd Conference on Semantics and Linguistic Theory Conference (SALT 22). Edited by Anca Chereches, 441–460. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Programmatic treatment of the meaning of English it-clefts in terms of at-issue and not-at-issue content. The meaning of clefts consists of at-issue prejacent (core proposition) and not-at-issue exhaustive entailment. Exclusive particles express the same meaning with at-issue and not-at-issue components exchanged.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • van der Wal, Jenneke. 2011. Focus excluding alternatives: Conjoint/disjoint marking in Makhuwa. Lingua 121.11: 1734–1750.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1016/j.lingua.2010.10.013Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Contribution to a special journal issue on the interpretation of focus constructions. A rare focus-semantic discussion of a Bantu language. Shows that morphological conjoint marking is semantically interpreted in terms of alternative exclusion, a weaker notion than strong exhaustivity.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pragmatic Effects of Focus Marking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Next to direct semantic effects, the literature also discusses pragmatic effects arising from special information structural markings. Ward 1990 is a discussion of the pragmatic factors behind VP-preposing in English. Prince 1978 and Delin 1992 contain discussions of the discourse-semantic functions of cleft sentences. The articles van Kuppevelt 1996, Skopeteas and Fanselow 2011 and Horn 2014 discuss scalar implicatures in connection with different kinds of linguistic focus marking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Delin, Judy. 1992. Properties of it-cleft presupposition. Journal of Semantics 9:289–306.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1093/jos/9.4.289Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Another discourse-semantic study of it-clefts. Argues that there is a stable discourse-semantic function across the different kinds of it-clefts identified in Prince 1978: In all cases, the content of the cleft relative clause is presented as known or accommodatable information.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Horn, Lawrence R. 2014. Information structure and the landscape of (non) at issue meaning. In The Oxford handbook of information structure. Edited by Caroline Féry and Shinichiro Ishihara. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Online handbook article. Up-to-date discussion of at-issue and not-at-issue meaning components of linguistic expressions. Maintains the position first found in Horn 1981 (cited under Exhaustiveness Effects) that exhaustiveness inferences in clefts are conversational implicatures, by comparing them to other not-at-issue inferences in English. Available online by subscription.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Prince, Ellen. 1978. A Comparison of WH-clefts and it-clefts in discourse. Language 54:883–906.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Seminal article on the discourse-semantic factors licensing different types of cleft sentences in English. The corpus-based study provides the empirical basis for much subsequent work; such as Horn 1981 (cited under Exhaustiveness Effects) and Delin 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Skopeteas, Stavros, and Gisbert Fanselow. 2011. Focus and the exclusion of alternatives: On the interaction of syntactic structure with pragmatic inference. Lingua 11:1693–1706.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1016/j.lingua.2011.05.005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pioneering cross-linguistic experimental study of exhaustiveness effects with focus fronting. Develops a new methodological approach to the study of exhaustiveness effects with focus, which yields that movement of focus constituents to the German prefield and focus fronting in Hungarian give rise to different kinds of exhaustiveness inferences.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • van Kuppevelt, Jan. 1996. Inferring from topics: Scalar implicatures as topic-dependent inferences. Linguistics and Philosophy 19:393–443.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Important study on the contextual factors licensing certain conversational implicatures. Shows that the emergence of scalar implicatures depends on focus, here mislabeled as topic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Ward, Gregory. 1990. The discourse functions of VP preposing. Language 66:742–763.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.2307/414728Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Influential study of the discourse-semantic factors underlying VP-preposing in English.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Information Structure in Processing and Production

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As information structure interfaces the linguistic faculty with other cognitive faculties, it has gained increased attention in psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics in recent years. The handbook articles Cowles 2012 and Filik, et al. 2011 provide an excellent overview of the field from the perspective of psycholinguistics, and Bornkessel-Schlesewsky and Schumacher 2014 from the perspective of neurolinguistics. Birch and Clifton 1995 and Kaiser 2011 offer important psycholinguistic case studies of the effects of information structure on comprehension by leading scholars in the field. The studies Zondervan 2009; Drenhaus, et al. 2011; and Spalek, et al. 2014 are representative state-of-the-art experimental investigations of the interpretive and processing effects of focus marking and focus particles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Birch, Stacey, and Charles Clifton Jr. 1995. Focus, accent and argument structure: Effects on language comprehension. Language and Speech 38:365–391.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Foundational psycholinguistic study. Investigates the effects of accenting on focus projection in comprehension. Reports on the results of a series of felicity judgment tasks on the prosodic realization and semantic interpretation of sentences with varying accent patterns.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, Ina, and Petra Schumacher. 2014. Towards a neurobiology of information structure. In The Oxford handbook of information structure. Edited by Caroline Féry and Shinichiro Ishihara. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Groundbreaking handbook article. Investigates information structure from a neurobiological, cognition-based perspective. Provides a detailed discussion on the interaction of the information structural categories of givenness, focus, and topicality, and their linguistic coding, on higher cognitive processing in terms of prediction and mental modeling, attention orientation, memory, and inferencing. Available online by subscription.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Cowles, Heidi Wind. 2012. The psychology of information structure. In The expression of information structure. Edited by Manfred Krifka and Renate Musan, 287–318. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Handbook article. General overview of neurolinguistic and psycholinguistic studies on the effects of information structure on language comprehension and production. The experimental methods discussed include ERP, eye-tracking, and speeded probe recognition tasks. Well-suited for graduate students and new scholars on the topic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Drenhaus, Heiner, Malte Zimmermann, and Shravan Vasishth. 2011. Exhaustiveness effects in clefts are not truth-functional. Journal of Neurolinguistics 24:320–337.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1016/j.jneuroling.2010.10.004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Online study (ERP) on the processing of it-clefts in comparison to only-sentences. Shows that exhaustiveness violations generate different response patterns with it-clefts than with only. Concludes that exhaustive meaning of it-clefts is not part of the truth conditions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Filik, Ruth, Kevin B. Paterson, and Antje Sauermann. 2011. The influence of focus on eye movements during reading. In The Oxford handbook on eye movements. Edited by Simon P. Liversedge, Iain D. Gilchrist, and Stefan Everling, 925–941. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Handbook article discussing the effects of focus on eye movement during reading. Shows that focus deeply impacts reading at various levels (processing of individual words and sentence structure, reference resolution, etc.). Highlights the importance of eye-tracking studies for the investigation of information structure and processing.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Kaiser, Elsie. 2011. Focusing on pronouns: Consequences of subjecthood, pronominalisation, and contrastive focus. Language and Cognitive Processes 26:162–1666.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1080/01690965.2010.523082Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Psycholinguistic study reporting the results of eye-tracking studies on the effects of different IS-factors (topicality, givenness, focus) and structural factors (subjecthood) on pronoun resolution. Shows how the language comprehension system integrates different kinds of information during reference resolution in real time.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Spalek, Katharina, Nicole Gotzner, and Isabell Wartenburger. 2014. Not only the apples: The impact of focus-sensitive operators on memory for information-structural alternatives. Journal of Memory and Language 70:68–84.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1016/j.jml.2013.09.001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Among the first neurolinguistic studies on the role of focus particles on memory. A delayed recall experiment shows that the presence of focus particles (“only,” “even”) increases the activation level of focus alternatives in memory, in addition to activation of the focused element itself.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Zondervan, Arjen. 2009. Experiments on QUD and focus as a contextual constraint on scalar implicature calculation. In Semantics and pragmatics, from experiment to theory. Edited by Uli Sauerland and Kazuko Yatsushiro, 94–110. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Experimental investigation of the impact of focus on the generation of scalar implicatures; see van Kuppevelt 1996, cited under Pragmatic Effects of Focus Marking. Offline experiments show that focus matters for the exclusive interpretation of disjunctions with “or.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Language Acquisition and Language Impairment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The systematic experimental study of information structure in language acquisition and language impairment is only a recent phenomenon. Many of the available studies put an empirical focus on the production and comprehension of prosodic and syntactic markings of information structure, mainly pitch accent and word order. A second focus lies on the production and comprehension of focus particles. There are almost no studies on the acquisition of IS-marking devices in non-European languages, with the notable exception of Notley, et al. 2009 and Zhou and Crain 2010 on Mandarin. The handbook article Höhle, et al. 2014 gives a general introduction to IS-related phenomena in first-language acquisition, whereas the general overview in Dimroth and Narasimhan 2012 also looks at adult L2-acquisition. Chen 2011 and Narasimhan and Dimroth 2008 are representative research articles on the experimental investigation of prosody and word order, respectively. Notley, et al. 2009 and Berger and Höhle 2012 contain in-depth discussions of the empirical, theoretical, and methodological issues involved in the acquisition of focus particles, including valuable summaries of earlier work on the topic. Zhou and Crain 2010 focuses on the acquisition of contrastive focus constructions in Mandarin. DePape, et al. 2012 is one of the rare treatments of information structure in the emerging field of language impairment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Berger, Frauke, and Barbara Höhle. 2012. Restrictions on addition: Children’s interpretation of the focus particles auch (“also”) and nur (“only”) in German. Journal of Child Language 39:383–410.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/S0305000911000122Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Critical reply to earlier studies that report an asymmetry in the production and comprehension of additive particles (“also”) in acquisition. In acting out-experiments, even young children interpret the presupposed meaning of additives in an adult-like manner. Extremely valuable discussion of methodological challenges in the study of comprehension in acquisition.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Chen, Ajou. 2011. Tuning information packaging: Intonational realization of topic and focus in child Dutch. Journal of Child Language 38:1055–1083.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1017/S0305000910000541Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Research article. Presents the results of phonetic experiments on the prosodic realization of topic and focus in children learning an intonation language. Sets a standard for the controlled experimental study of information structure-related prosodic effects in children.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • DePape, Anne-Marie R., Aoju Chen, Geoffrey B. C. Hall, and Laurel J. Trainor. 2012. Use of prosody and information structure in high functioning adults with Autism in relation to language ability. Frontiers in Psychology (26 March 2012).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00072Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pioneering study on the prosodic realization of focused and given constituents in adults with different kinds of autism. Shows that autists with different language-related abilities exhibit different kinds of prosodic deficiencies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Dimroth, Christine, and Bhuvana Narasimhan. 2012. The acquisition of information structure. In The expression of information structure. Edited by Manfred Krifka and Renate Musan, 319–362. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Overview article. Provides a general discussion of the importance of information structure distinctions on the production of linguistic structures in children first-language and adult second-language acquisition. Focuses on asymmetries between learner and target language and on general differences between L1 and L2 acquisition.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Höhle, Barbara, Frauke Berger, and Antje Sauermann. 2014. Information structure in first language acquisition. In The Oxford handbook of information structure. Edited by Caroline Féry and Shinichiro Ishihara. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Valuable overview article. Provides an up-to-date introduction to the production and comprehension of prosodic, syntactic, and lexical markings of information structure in children, with a focus on focus particles. The article contains a comprehensive list of relevant references and makes an excellent starting point for the study of information structure in language acquisition. Available online by subscription.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Narasimhan, Bhuvana, and Christine Dimroth. 2008. Word order and information status in child language. Cognition 107:317–329.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2007.07.010Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Important study on information structure-related word order preferences in the sentence production of 3–5-year-old children and adults. Shows that children exhibit non-adult behavior in choosing new-before-old over old-before-new, which is universally attested in adult language, and that this preference does not originate in the properties of child-directed speech.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Notley, Anna, Peng Zhou, Stephen Crain, and Rosalind Thornton. 2009. Children’s interpretation of focus expressions in English and Mandarin. Language Acquisition 16:240–282.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1080/10489220903266669Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Important study on the comprehension of exclusive focus particles (“only”). Shows that both Mandarin- and English-learning children exhibit non-adult behavior in interpreting such particles, while still being sensitive to their exclusive meaning. Argues that the non-adult interpretation follows from a non-adult association of pre-subject “only” with VP-internal material.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Zhou, Peng, and Stephen Crain. 2010. Focus identification in child Mandarin. Journal of Child Language 37:965–1005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Excellent study on the comprehension of sentences with exclusive focus particles (“only”) and cleft-sentences in Mandarin-speaking children and adults. Shows that children exhibit non-adult behavior in affirmative sentences, but not in their negated counterparts, which appear to play an important role in the development toward adult-like behavior.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Historical Linguistics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Information structure has also become an important topic in the study of diachronic language change. The core area of investigation in corpus-based diachronic studies of information structure is the effect of information structure on word order changes. The study of information structure in historical linguistics is constrained by the availability of relevant (corpus) data, for which reason it centers largely on languages or language families with sufficiently large corpus resources, with a strong focus on Germanic. Next to the handbook articles Eckardt and Speyer 2014 and Nevalainen and Traugott 2012, contributions on the topic come in the form of the article collections such as Hinterhölzl and Petrova 2009, Ferraresi and Lühr 2010, and Meurman-Solin, et al. 2012. Petrova and Speyer 2011 is a specialized journal article on the topic. Heine and Reh 1983 adds a rare discussion of the diachronic development of focus constructions in African languages.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Eckardt, Regine, and Augustin Speyer. 2014. Information structure and language change. In The Oxford handbook of information structure. Edited by Caroline Féry and Shinichiro Ishihara. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Handbook article. Unique treatment of focus particles from a diachronic perspective. Introduces a Jespersonian focus cycle involving the emergence of focus-sensitive particles from lexical content words and the subsequent development of conventionalized alternative-based constructions and the gradual loss of focus-sensitivity via focus bleaching. Easily accessible. Available online by subscription.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Ferraresi, Gisella, and Rosemarie Lühr. 2010. Diachronic studies on information structure: Language acquisition and change. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1515/9783110227475Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Article collection. Includes contributions from leading scholars in the field. Contains case studies on the interaction of information structure and word order not only in various Germanic and Romance languages, but also in Serbo-Croatian, Vedic, and Warihío (Uto-Aztecan).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Heine, Bernd, and Mechthild Reh. 1983. Diachronic observations on completive focus marking in some African languages. Sprache und Geschichte in Afrika 5:7–44.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Seminal article on the diachronic origin of syntactic focus marking in African languages. Cast in the framework of grammaticalization theory, mono-sentential focus constructions are diachronically derived from bi-clausal cleft constructions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Hinterhölzl, Roland, and Svetlana Petrova. 2009. Information structure and language change: New approaches to word order variation in Germanic. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1515/9783110216110Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Collection of articles from leading scholars in the field. Contains general discussions of the role of information structure in grammar and of methodological issues in the information structural analysis of historical corpora, as well as a series of case studies of information structure categories in Old High German and Old Saxon texts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Meurman-Solin, Anneli, Maria Jose Lopez-Couso, and Bettelou Los. 2012. Information structure and syntactic change in the history of English. Oxford Studies in the History of English. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860210.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    First comprehensive collection of articles on English syntax from the perspective of information structure as it relates to language change. Contains contributions by leading scholars on a wide range of topics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Nevalainen, Terttu, and Elizabeth Closs Traugott, eds. 2012. The Oxford handbook of the history of English. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chapters 62 to 68 of this comprehensive handbook on the history of English contain important contributions by leading scholars on the interaction of information structure, syntax, and prosody in word order change in the development from Old English to Modern English.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Petrova, Svetlana, and Augustin Speyer. 2011. Focus movement and focus interpretation in Old English. Lingua 121.11: 1751–1765.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1016/j.lingua.2011.06.004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Methodologically sophisticated corpus study that is empirically based on an information structure-annotated corpus of Old English. Largely aimed at experts. Presents evidence that the information structural categories of focus and new information correlate with different positions for DP-objects. The findings are compatible with the double base analysis of OV/VO-ordering in Old English.

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