Presentation on theme: "Informational articulations in Functional Discourse Grammar Kees Hengeveld ACLC -University of Amsterdam."— Presentation transcript:
Informational articulations in Functional Discourse Grammar Kees Hengeveld ACLC -University of Amsterdam
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
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
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 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 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 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 2. Discourse grammar Non-sentential utterances: Holophrases: (What are you eating?) A donut. Exclamations: Congratulations! Vocatives Oh John!
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 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 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 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 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.
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 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.
Three dimensions: Topic vs Comment Focus vs Background Contrast vs Overlap 21
Pragmatic functions Marked members: Topic vs Comment Focus vs Background Contrast vs Overlap 22
Pragmatic functions: Topic Gol-a-romæhinabdad. flower- PL - TOP Mahinwatergave 'Mahin watered the flowers.' Persian, Mahootian 1997:
Pragmatic functions: Focus Ndu-ndetakhim-gende? sago- FOC buy-3 PL. PRS. FINAL 'They buy sago.' Wambon, de Vries 1985:
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:
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
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
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
Pragmatic functions: Focus/Topic Hiza=hayzailakoSaenkaSaiSiyat. there= EXPFVPAUSNOM Saisiyat Once there were Saisiyats. Saisiyat (Hsieh & Huang 2006: 100): 35
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
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
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
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
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
Topic-central Thetic (C 1 : [(Foc Top 1 )]) Introduction of new topic There is beer without alcohol 46
Comment-central Thetic (C 1 : [(Foc Cm 1 )]) All new discourse act (What happened?) A train arrived. 47
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
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
Topic-central categorical Often avoided and realized in two discourse acts As for the fire, it burned 50
The typology of informational articulations
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
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
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