The functional notion of AtopicA or AtopicalityA has suffered, traditionally, from two distinct drawbacks. First, it has remained largely ill defined or intuitively defined. And second, quite often its definition boiled down to structure-dependent circularity. This volume represents a major departure from past practices, without rejecting both their intuitive appeal and the many good results yielded by them. First, AtopicA and AtopicalityA are re-analyzed as a scalar property, rather than as an either/or discrete prime. Second, the graded property of AtopicalityA is firmly connected with sensible cognitive notions culled from gestalt psychology, such as ApredictabilityA or AcontinuityA. Third, we develop and utilize precise measures and quantified methods by which the property of AtopicalityA of clausal arguments can be studied in connected discourse, and thus be properly hinged in its rightful context, that of topic identification, maintenance and recoverability in discourse. Fourth, we show that many grammatical phenomena which used to be studied by linguists in isolation, all partake in one functional domain of grammar, that of topic identification. Finally, we demonstrate the validity of this new approach to the study of AtopicA and AtopicalityA by applying the same text-based quantifying method to a number of typologically-diverse languages, in studying actual texts. Languages studied here are: Written and spoken English, spoken Spanish, Biblical Hebrew, Amharic, Hausa, Japanese, Chamorro and Ute.And second, quite often its definition boiled down to structure-dependent circularity. This volume represents a major departure from past practices, without rejecting both their intuitive appeal and the many good results yielded by them.
|Title||:||Topic Continuity in Discourse|
|Publisher||:||John Benjamins Publishing - 1983-01-01|