- Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics
- The Oxford Handbook of Pragmatics
- Preface and Acknowledgements
- List of Symbols and Abbreviations
- List of Contributors
- Introduction: What is Pragmatics?
- Contextualism and Semantic Minimalism
- Neo-Gricean Pragmatics
- Relevance Theory
- Formal Pragmatics
- Continental European Perspective View
- The Sociological Foundations of Pragmatics
- Presupposition and Givenness
- Speech Acts
- Deixis and the Interactional Foundations of Reference
- Cognitive Pragmatics
- Developmental Pragmatics
- Experimental Pragmatics
- Computational Pragmatics
- Clinical Pragmatics
- Politeness and Impoliteness
- Cross-Cultural and Intercultural Pragmatics
- Interlanguage Pragmatics
- Conversation Analysis
- Pragmatics and Semantics
- Pragmatics and Grammar: More Pragmatics or More Grammar
- Pragmatics and Morphology: Morphopragmatics
- Pragmatics and the Lexicon
- Pragmatics and Prosody
- Pragmatics and Language Change: Historical Pragmatics
- Pragmatics and Information Structure
- Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics
Abstract and Keywords
Information structure deals with the question of how—and specifically, in what order—we choose to present the informational content of a proposition. In English and many other languages, this content is structured in such a way that given, or familiar, information precedes new, or unfamiliar, information. Because givenness and newness are largely matters of what has come previously in the discourse, information structuring is inextricably tied to matters of context—in particular, the prior linguistic context—and this is what makes information structure quintessentially pragmatic in nature. While it has long been recognized that various non-canonical word orders function to preserve a given-before-new ordering in an utterance, a great deal of research has focused on how to determine the specific categories of givenness and newness that matter for information structuring. A growing body of psycholinguistic work explores the role that these categories play in language comprehension.
Gregory Ward (1978, UC-Berkeley, BA in Comparative Literature and Linguistics (with honors), 1985, Penn, PhD) is currently Professor of Linguistics, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and Philosophy at Northwestern University, where he has taught since 1986 (and was Chair from 1999-2004). Professor Ward’s primary research area is discourse/pragmatics, with specific interests in pragmatic theory, information structure, and reference/anaphora. His scholarship includes over 175 talks, 75 papers and 4 books: The Semantics and pragmatics of preposing (1996), Information status and noncanonical word order in English (1998, co-authored with Betty Birner), The handbook of pragmatics (2004, co-edited with Laurence R. Horn) and Drawing the boundaries of meaning: neo-Gricean studies in pragmatics ands in honor of Laurence R. Horn (2006, co-edited with Betty J. Birner). Outside Northwestern, he has taught at 8 Linguistic Society of America (LSA) Summer Linguistic Institutes. From 1986-1998, he was a consultant at AT&T Labs, working on intonational meaning. In 2004-05, he was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and from 2004-2007 he served as Secretary-Treasurer of the LSA. He was also elected Fellow of the LSA in 2009 and was the 2012 recipient of the E. LeRoy Hall Award for Excellence in Teaching in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.
Betty Birner received her PhD in linguistics from Northwestern University in 1992. She held a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Research in Cognitive Science from 1993-1995, and is a Professor in the Department of English at Northern Illinois University. Her books include The discourse function of inversion in English (1996), Information status and noncanonical word order in English (1998, co-authored with Gregory Ward), and Drawing the boundaries of meaning: neo-Gricean studies in pragmatics and semantics in honour of Laurence R. Horn (2006, co-edited with Gregory Ward).
Elsi Kaiser is an Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Southern California. Her primary research focus is in psycholinguistics, especially adult sentence processing and issues related to reference resolution, information structure and the syntax/pragmatics/semantics interface(s). She is especially interested in how different kinds of information interact and are integrated during language processing and what this can tell us about the nature of the mental representations activated during processing.
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