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Formulating a category of informativity

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A general criticism that can be raised against contemporary theories of information structure is that they do not provide a detailed cross-linguistic account of information structure that predicts how, and when, a language is likely to avail itself of particular formal means to indicate informativity. My goal here is to develop the first steps towards a typological account of information structure. I conceive of informativity as a typological category (i.e. as an inherent aspect of linguistically realized meaning), and I formulate various typological implications that predict when languages avail themselves of word order variability, tune, or an interaction of these as strategies to realize information structure. At the end of the paper, I reflect on how these implications can be employed in a grammar framework to give a formal account of cross-linguistic realization of information structure. This paper is based on Kruijff (2001).

Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: May 1, 2002

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