We publish high-quality monographs and edited collections focusing on issues in linguistics that are located at the interface between discourse structure, information structure and text structure.
In particular, the series addresses the following areas of linguistics: discourse structure, rhetorical relations, information structure (within and beyond the clause), anaphora resolution, textual cohesion, ellipsis, salience, etc. We have a focus on using naturally-occuring data (whether from linguistic corpora or from literary texts) wherever possible.
The kind of topics we would like so see addressed include (but are not limited to):
This study explores information structure (IS) within the framework of corpus linguistics and functional linguistics. As a case study, it investigates IS phenomena in spoken Japanese: particles including so-called topic particles, case particles, and zero particles; word order; and intonation. The study discusses how these phenomena are related to cognitive and communicative mechanisms of humans.
This volume contains thematic papers on semantic change which emerged from the second edition of Formal Diachronic Semantics held at Saarland University. Its authorship ranges from established scholars in the field of language change to advanced PhD students whose contributions have equally qualified and have been selected after a two-step peer-review process. The key foci are variablity and diachronic trajectories in scale structures and quantification, but readers will also find a variety of further (and clearly non-disjoint) issues covered including reference, modality, givenness, presuppositions, alternatives in language change, temporality, epistemic indefiniteness, as well as - in more general terms - the interfaces of semantics with syntax, pragmatics and morphology. Given the nature of the field, the contributions are primarily based on original corpus studies (in one case also on synchronic experimental data) and present a series of new findings and theoretical analyses of several languages, first and foremost from the Germanic and Romance subbranches of Indo-European (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish) and from Semitic (with an analysis of universal quantification in Biblical Hebrew).View less
This volume explores the use of demonstratives in the structuring and management of discourse, and their role as engagement expressions, from a crosslinguistic perspective. It seeks to establish which types of discourse-related functions are commonly encoded by demonstratives, beyond the well-established reference-tracking and deictic uses, and also investigates which members of demonstrative paradigms typically take on certain functions. Moreover, it looks at the roles of non-deictic demonstratives, that is, members of the paradigm which are dedicated e.g. to contrastive, recognitional, or anaphoric functions and do not express deictic distinctions. Several of the studies also focus on manner demonstratives, which have been little studied from a crosslinguistic perspective. The volume thus broadens the scope of investigation of demonstratives to look at how their core functions interact with a wider range of discourse functions in a number of different languages. The volume covers languages from a range of geographical locations and language families, including Cushitic and Mande languages in Africa, Oceanic and Papuan languages in the Pacific region, Algonquian and Guaykuruan in the Americas, and Germanic, Slavic and Finno-Ugric languages in the Eurasian region. It also includes two papers taking a broader typological approach to specific discourse functions of demonstratives.View less
The papers in this volume address to different degrees issues on the relationship of articles systems and the pragmatic notions of definiteness and specificity in typologically diverse languages: Vietnamese, Siwi (Berber), Russian, Mopan (Mayan), Persian, Danish and Swedish. The main questions that motivate this volume are:
1.) How do languages with and without an article system go about helping the hearer to recognize whether a given noun phrase should be interpreted as definite, specific or non-specific? 2.) Is there clear-cut semantic definiteness without articles or do we find systematic ambiguity regarding the interpretation of bare noun phrases? 3.) If there is ambiguity, can we still posit one reading as the default? 4.) What exactly do articles in languages encode that are not analyzed as straightforwardly coding (in)definiteness? 5.) Do we find linguistic tools in these languages that are similar to those found in languages without articles?
Most contributions report on research on different corpora and elicited data or present the outcome of various experimental studies. One paper presents a diachronic study of the emergence of article systems. On the issue of how languages with and without articles guide the hearer to the conclusion that a given noun phrase should be interpreted as definite, specific or non-specific, the studies in this paper argue for similar strategies. The languages investigated in this volume use constructions and linguistic tools that receive a final interpretation based on discourse prominence considerations and various aspects of the syntax-semantics interface. In case of ambiguity between these readings, the default interpretation is given by factors (e. g., familiarity, uniqueness) that are known to contribute to the salience of phrases, but may be overridden by discourse prominence. Articles that do not straightforwardly mark (in)definiteness encode different kinds of specificity. In the languages studied in this volume, whether they have articles or do not have an article system, we find similar factors and linguistic tools in the calculation process of interpretations. The volume contains revised selected papers from the workshop entitled Specificity, definiteness and article systems across languages held at the 40th Annual Conference of the German Linguistic Society (DGfS), 7-9 March, 2018 at the University of Stuttgart.View less
Communication and content presents a comprehensive and foundational account of meaning based on new versions of situation theory and game theory. The literal and implied meanings of an utterance are derived from first principles assuming little more than the partial rationality of interacting agents. New analyses of a number of diverse phenomena – a wide notion of ambiguity and content encompassing phonetics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and beyond, vagueness, convention and conventional meaning, indeterminacy, universality, the role of truth in communication, semantic change, translation, Frege’s puzzle of informative identities – are developed. Communication, speaker meaning, and reference are defined. Frege’s context and compositional principles are generalized and reconciled in a fixed-point principle, and a detailed critique of Grice, several aspects of Lewis, and some aspects of the Romantic conception of meaning are offered. Connections with other branches of linguistics, especially psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, and natural language processing, are explored.View less
This book presents an in-depth description of information structure in Isthmus Zapotec, an Otomanguean language spoken by around 50,000 people in southeastern Oaxaca, Mexico, and represents the first book-length treatment of information structure in a Mesoamerican language. Three main observations motivate the study: 1. Strong documentation and a relatively large and active speaker community create a unique opportunity to document information structure in Isthmus Zapotec and to study the language as it is used by speakers in everyday life; 2. As a tonal and verb-initial language, the examination of Isthmus Zapotec represents a chance to explore the possible combinations of tone, intonation, morphology and verb-initial syntax that may occur in the coding of information structure; and 3. The close analysis of spontaneous speech in an endangered language contributes to our theoretical understanding of information structure and informs our knowledge of language documentation practices and revitalization efforts. Overall, the analysis presented here demonstrates the value and need for information structure studies to document and analyze naturally-occurring data.View less
Gegenstand der Arbeit sind Modalpartikelkombinationen aus ja und doch, halt und eben sowie doch und auch. Basierend auf empirischen Untersuchungen (Akzeptabilitätsstudien, Korpusrecherchen) und einer formalen Modellierung der Bedeutung der Einzelpartikeln sowie ihrer Sequenzen im Rahmen des Diskursmodells nach Farkas & Bruce (2010) schlägt die Arbeit eine ikonische Erklärung der beobachteten Abfolgepräferenzen vor. Die Arbeit argumentiert, dass es sich hierbei um die unmarkierte Abfolge handelt, dass aber ebenfalls von einer markierten Sequenzierung auszugehen ist, die weniger akzeptabel bewertet wird, seltener und auf bestimmte Kontexte beschränkt ist. Diese Kontexte werden identifiziert und in die Ableitung der Präferenz integriert.View less
This study makes substantial contributions to both the theoretical and computational treatment of information structure, with a specific focus on creating natural language processing applications such as multilingual machine translation systems. The present study first provides cross-linguistic findings in regards to information structure meanings and markings. Building upon such findings, the current model represents information structure within the HPSG/MRS framework using Individual Constraints. The primary goal of the present study is to create a multilingual grammar model of information structure for the LinGO Grammar Matrix system. The present study explores the construction of a grammar library for creating customized grammar incorporating information structure and illustrates how the information structure-based model improves performance of transfer-based machine translation.View less