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Informational articulations in Functional Discourse Grammar Kees Hengeveld ACLC -University of Amsterdam.

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Presentation on theme: "Informational articulations in Functional Discourse Grammar Kees Hengeveld ACLC -University of Amsterdam."— Presentation transcript:

1 Informational articulations in Functional Discourse Grammar Kees Hengeveld ACLC -University of Amsterdam

2 Introduction Functional Discourse Grammar accounts for categories of information structure through the assignment of pragmatic functions to referential and predicational units These pragmatic functions are organized along three parameters: Topic-Comment, Focus- Background, and Contrast-Overlap 2

3 Introduction Functions chosen along each of these parameters may be combined These combinations allow for a systematic definition of informational articulations, which characterize the overall information structure of a Discourse Act The variation in the ways language express these informational articulations can be described systematically on the basis of the parameters that define them 3

4 4 Contents 1. Functional Discourse Grammar 2. Pragmatic functions 3. Informational articulations 4. The typology of informational articulations 5. Conclusion

5 Functional Discourse Grammar

6 6 Features 1.Top-down rather than bottom up grammar 2.Discourse rather than sentence grammar 3.Grammatical component connected to conceptual, contextual and output components 4.Four levels of representation: pragmatic, semantic, morphosyntactic, and phonological

7 7 1. Top-down Assumption: a model of grammar is more effective the more its organization resembles language processing in the individual Language production is a top down process, starting with intentions, working down to the articulation of the actual linguistic expression The grammatical production model reflects this process and is organized in a top-down fashion

8 8 2. Discourse grammar Many grammatical phenomena can only be interpreted in terms of units larger than individual sentences: narrative constructions, discourse particles, anaphorical chains, tail-head linkage, etc. Many utterances are non-sentential: holophrases, exclamations, vocatives, etc.

9 9 2. Discourse grammar... turusjafacahisaloiena=ge... thenJafacarry.on.the.backbasket3.NH=there turus ena=ge pakaine. then3.NH=there ascendgo.upwards Ineunaokakoi... go.upwards3.SG.Mpickbanana '...then Jafa carried the saloi and went upwards. Went upwards he picked the bananas... Tidore (van Staden 2000: 275)

10 10 2. Discourse grammar Non-sentential utterances: Holophrases: (What are you eating?) A donut. Exclamations: Congratulations! Vocatives Oh John!

11 11 2. Discourse grammar The basic unit of discourse is not the sentence but the discourse act Discourse acts combine into moves, which in turn may enter into larger discourse structures Discourse acts may be manifested in language as sentences, but also as sentence fragments, phrases or words

12 12 3. Conceptual, contextual and output components Conceptual component is the driving force behind the grammatical component Contextual component is the discourse domain on the basis of which new utterances are produced in the grammatical component Output component generates acoustic, signed, or orthographic expressions on the basis of information provided by the grammatical component

13 13 4. Levels of representation Interpersonal level 1.A. Get out of here! B. Dont talk to me like that ! Representational level 2.A. There are lots of traffic lights in this town. B. I didnt notice that.

14 14 4. Levels of representation Morphosyntactic level 3.A. I had chuletas de cordero last night. B. Is that how you say lamb chops in Spanish? Phonological level 4.A. I had /tʃulet ɑ s#de#kordero/ last night. B. Shouldnt that be /tʃulet ɑ s#de#θordero/ ?

15 15 4. Levels of representation Interpersonal level: pragmatics. Representational level: semantics. Morphosyntactic level: morphosyntax. Phonological level: phonology. All levels are purely linguistic in nature: they describe language in terms of its functions, but only in so far as these functions are encoded in the grammar of a language.

16 Conceptual Component ContextualComponentContextualComponent Articulation Expression Level Prosodic Contours, Sounds Frames, Lexemes, Operators Templates, Grammatical elements Pragmatics, Semantics Formulation Encoding Morphosyntax, Phonology GrammarGrammar OutputOutput

17 Conceptual Component ContextualComponentContextualComponent Articulation Expression Level Prosodic Contours, Sounds Frames, Lexemes, Operators Templates, Grammatical elements Pragmatics, Semantics Formulation Encoding Morphosyntax, Phonology GrammarGrammar OutputOutput

18 18 Levels and Layers Interpersonal (A 1 : [(F I : ILL (F I )) (P 1 ) S (P 2 ) A (C 1 : [(T 1 ) (R 1 )] (C 1 ))] (A 1 )) Representational (p 1: (ep 1 : [(e 1 : [(f 1 ) (x 1 )] (e 1 ))] (ep 1 )) (p 1 )) Morphosyntactic (Le 1 : [(Cl 1 : [(Xw 1 ) (Xp 1 : [Xw 2 (Xp 2 )] (Xp 1 ))] (Cl 1 ))] (Le 1 )) Phonological ( U 1 : [( IP 1 : [( PP 1 : [( PW 1 )] ( PP 1 ))] ( IP 1 )) n ] ( U 1 ))

19 19 Levels and primitives (id R I ) (prox m x i : [(f i : /bənɑ:nə/ N (f i )) (x i ) Φ ]) (Np i : [(Gw i : this-pl (Gw i )) (Nw i : /bənɑ:nə/-pl (Nw i ­))] (Np i )) (pp i : [(pw i : /ði:z/ (pw i )) (pw j : /bənɑ:nəz/ (pw j ))] (pp i )) I like these bananas.

20 Pragmatic functions

21 Three dimensions: Topic vs Comment Focus vs Background Contrast vs Overlap 21

22 Pragmatic functions Marked members: Topic vs Comment Focus vs Background Contrast vs Overlap 22

23 Pragmatic functions: Topic Gol-a-romæhinabdad. flower- PL - TOP Mahinwatergave 'Mahin watered the flowers.' Persian, Mahootian 1997:

24 Pragmatic functions: Focus Ndu-ndetakhim-gende? sago- FOC buy-3 PL. PRS. FINAL 'They buy sago.' Wambon, de Vries 1985:

25 Pragmatic functions: Contrast Aopo:-lәtetamja:h-si-uli-zya. thisplace-in CONTR wheatput- DETR - NML be- CNT 'In this place (as opposed to others) wheat has been sown.' Kham, Watters 2002:

26 Pragmatic functions Domain: Communicated Content at the Interpersonal Level (A 1 : [(F I : ILL (F I )) (P 1 ) S (P 2 ) A (C 1 : [(T 1 ) FOC (R 1 ) TOP ] (C 1 ))] (A 1 )) 26

27 Pragmatic functions May attach to referential and ascriptive subacts: (C 1 : [(T 1 ) (R 1 ) TOP ] (C 1 )) (C 1 : [(T 1 ) TOP (R 1 )] (C 1 )) 27

28 Pragmatic functions: Topic Llov-er no lluev-e. rain- INFNEG rain- PRS.3. SG. IND It doesnt rain here. Rain it doesnt rain. Spanish 28

29 Pragmatic functions May attach to referential and ascriptive subacts: (C 1 : [(T 1 ) (R 1 ) FOC ] (C 1 )) (C 1 : [(T 1 ) FOC (R 1 )] (C 1 )) 29

30 Pragmatic functions: Focus SeviniJanmètvini. FOC comeJanmay come Jan may come. Haitian Creole, Glaude fc. 30

31 Pragmatic functions May attach to referential and ascriptive subacts: (C 1 : [(T 1 ) (R 1 ) CONTR ] (C 1 )) (C 1 : [(T 1 ) CONTR (R 1 )] (C 1 )) 31

32 Pragmatic functions: Contrast Ma-nɪ-́υkabiyɛ kɪ ́ nɪ-́υ, 1. SG -understand- IMPF Kabiye KI understand- INF ma-a yɔɔd-υ kυ 1 SG - NEG speak- IMPF it I only understand Kabiye. I dont speak it. Kabiye, Collins & Essizewa 2007: 191 Functional Discourse Grammar 32

33 Pragmatic functions Combining pragmatic functions Focus/Contrast Topic/Contrast Focus/Topic Focus/Topic/Contrast etc 33

34 Pragmatic functions Combining pragmatic functions Presentatives: (C 1 : [(R 1 ) FOC/TOP ] (C 1 )) 34

35 Pragmatic functions: Focus/Topic Hiza=hayzailakoSaenkaSaiSiyat. there= EXPFVPAUSNOM Saisiyat Once there were Saisiyats. Saisiyat (Hsieh & Huang 2006: 100): 35

36 Informational articulations

37 Presentatives show that a Discourse Act may consist of just a Topic and not have a Comment The opposite is also true, in that a Discourse Act may consist of just a Comment and not have a Topic, as in the case of Thetics This means that there is transitivity involved in informational articulations 37

38 Informational articulations Smit (2010) therefore proposes to introduce Topic and Comment layers within Communicated Contents: (C 1 : [(Top 1 ) (Cm 1 )])Transitive frame (C 1 : [(Top 1 )])Intransitive frame (C 1 : [ (Cm 1 )])Intransitive frame 38

39 Informational articulations The Topic and Comment layers themselves contain Referential and or Ascriptive Subacts, e.g.: (C 1 : [(Top 1 : [(R 1 )]) (Cm 1 : [(T 1 ) (R 2 )])]) The butcher sells veal chops. 39

40 Informational articulations A focus operator can be added to the Topic layer, the Comment layer, a Referential Subact or an Ascriptive Subact. (C 1 : [(Top 1 : [(R 1 )]) (Cm 1 : [(T 1 ) (R 2 )])]) The butcher sells veal chops. 40

41 Informational articulations Focus assignment to a Referential Subact or an Ascriptive Subact leads to identificational focus, e.g. (C 1 : [(Top 1 : [(R 1 )]) (Cm 1 : [(T 1 ) (Foc R 2 )])]) (What does the butcher sell?) The butcher sells veal chops. 41

42 Informational articulations Focus assignment to the Topic or the Comment layer, combined with the transitive ofrintransitive nature of the frame, leads to four possible combinations: 42

43 Informational articulations 43 Focal TopicFocal Comment One-placeTopic-central Thetic Comment-central Thetic Two-placeTopic-central Categorical Comment-central Categorical

44 Informational articulations 44 Focal TopicFocal Comment One-placeFocal Topic No Comment No Topic Focal Comment Two-placeFocal Topic Comment Topic Focal Comment

45 Informational articulations Topic-central Thetic (presentative) (C 1 : [(Foc Top 1 )]) Comment-central Thetic (thetic) (C 1 : [(Foc Cm 1 )]) Topic-central Categorical (C 1 : [(Foc Top 1 ) (Cm 1 )]) Comment-central Categorical (Categorical) (C 1 : [(Top 1 ) (Foc Cm 1 )]) 45

46 Topic-central Thetic (C 1 : [(Foc Top 1 )]) Introduction of new topic There is beer without alcohol 46

47 Comment-central Thetic (C 1 : [(Foc Cm 1 )]) All new discourse act (What happened?) A train arrived. 47

48 Comment-central categorical (C 1 : [(Top 1 ) (Foc Cm 1 )]) Focal comment about a given topic (What did he do?) He put his house on fire. 48

49 Topic-central categorical (C 1 : [(Foc Top 1 ) (Cm 1 )]) Introduction of new topic and ensuing comment within the same discourse act (no previous mention of fire)... and the fire it burned 49

50 Topic-central categorical Often avoided and realized in two discourse acts As for the fire, it burned 50

51 The typology of informational articulations

52 Typology Based on the various parameters involved, informational articulation can be (dis)similar in various respects The expectation is that when they are similar, they may share the same expression strategy, but when they are dissimilar, they may not 52

53 Typology This leads to interesting results, presented in Smit (2010) He classifies 82 coding strategies from 15 languages. 34 of these coding strategies express more then 1 informational articulation These cases distribute as follows: 53

54 One-place strategy 54 3Focal TopicFocal Comment One-placeFocal Topic No Comment No Topic Focal Comment Two-placeFocal Topic Comment Topic Focal Comment

55 Two-place strategy 55 7Focal TopicFocal Comment One-placeFocal Topic No Comment No Topic Focal Comment Two-placeFocal Topic Comment Topic Focal Comment

56 Topic strategy 56 4Focal TopicFocal Comment One-placeFocal Topic No Comment No Topic Focal Comment Two-placeFocal Topic Comment Topic Focal Comment

57 Comment strategy 57 4Focal TopicFocal Comment One-placeFocal Topic No Comment No Topic Focal Comment Two-placeFocal Topic Comment Topic Focal Comment

58 Focal Topic strategy 58 6Focal TopicFocal Comment One-placeFocal Topic No Comment No Topic Focal Comment Two-placeFocal Topic Comment Topic Focal Comment

59 Focal Comment strategy 59 6Focal TopicFocal Comment One-placeFocal Topic No Comment No Topic Focal Comment Two-placeFocal Topic Comment Topic Focal Comment

60 ??? strategy 60 0Focal TopicFocal Comment One-placeFocal Topic No Comment No Topic Focal Comment Two-placeFocal Topic Comment Topic Focal Comment

61 ??? strategy 61 0Focal TopicFocal Comment One-placeFocal Topic No Comment No Topic Focal Comment Two-placeFocal Topic Comment Topic Focal Comment

62 ??? strategy 62 0Focal TopicFocal Comment One-placeFocal Topic No Comment No Topic Focal Comment Two-placeFocal Topic Comment Topic Focal Comment

63 ??? strategy 63 4 ?Focal TopicFocal Comment One-placeFocal Topic No Comment No Topic Focal Comment Two-placeFocal Topic Comment Topic Focal Comment

64 Conclusions

65 FDG offers the tools to systematically define a number of informational articulations by combining three parameters of information structuring These informational articulations allows for typological generalizations concerning the extent to which the same coding strategy may be used for the expression of combinations of articulations 65

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