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Information StructureTheoretical, Typological, and Experimental Perspectives$
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Malte Zimmermann and Caroline Féry

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570959

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570959.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Information Structure

Malte Zimmermann

Caroline Féry (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In their introductory chapter, Malte Zimmermann and Caroline Féry provide a brief sketch of the theoretical assumptions behind the individual chapters of the volume. Information‐structure is defined as that cognitive domain mediating between the various modules of linguistic competence (syntax, phonology, and morphology) and other cognitive faculties that serve the central purpose of the fixation of belief by way of information update. The authors assume three different layers of information‐structure: focus‐background, topic‐comment, and given‐new. While these layers of information structure is taken to be universal, languages differ as to which of these distinctions are grammatically encoded, and how. It is argued that the study of information structure is necessarily multi‐modular and can only be successful when numerous aspects of grammar and the interacting cognitive domains are considered together.

Keywords:   cognition, grammatical encoding, information‐structure, linguistic competence, multi‐modularity

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