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date: 22 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The languages of Asia are highly diverse. Rather than attempting a review about information structure (IS) in this huge linguistic area, this chapter provides observations about two languages that differ sharply in terms of how they convey IS. Yongning Na (Sino-Tibetan) is an example of a language with abundant morphemes expressing IS, which stand at different points along the grammaticalization path: some are exclusively used for the marking of IS, others (such as demonstratives) are equally common as IS markers and in another function, and others still are used secondarily to indicate IS, in particular particles indicating the relationship that a noun phrase bears to a verb. Vietnamese (Austroasiatic) makes little use of such morphemes, and relies greatly on word order and on a range of passive-like structures. Along with key morphosyntactic facts, this chapter addresses the issue of how intonation contributes to foregrounding and backgrounding strategies in these two tonal languages.

Keywords: information structure, Yongning Na, Vietnamese, referential density, discourse particles, intonation

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