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Beyond preferred argument structure

The discourse pragmatics of noun phrases in Tsou

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This paper investigates the preferred argument structure in Tsou, and the extent to which such a preference pattern is shaped by the interaction among mention type, valency role and activation status. Two significant findings emerge from the data. Strikingly, Ss and Os in discourse are not the most preferred loci for introducing new information. In addition, lexical NPs in Tsou are not a dispreferred form for encoding given information, and pronominals are restricted to occurring only with specific valency roles. Since lexical As are shown to occur with a higher proportion than those in other languages, they cannot strictly be said to be avoided in Tsou discourse. The morphosyntactic properties in Tsou are argued to add a critical fourth dimension to the three-way interaction of mention type, valency role and activation status to shape the final form of preferred argument structure in discourse.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-07-01

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  • International Journal sponsored by the Foundation "Foundations of Language"
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