Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Focusing on German as its object language, this chapter explores the interactions between discourse particles (e.g. ja, doch) and information structure. The first half of the chapter explores the traditional idea that discourse particles form a watershed between thematic (old) and rhematic (new) information. Concerning the ‘theme’, it is argued that unstressed elements to the left of discourse particles (in the ‘middle field’ between C0 and the verbal complex) must be aboutness topics. Concerning the ‘rheme’, it is shown that the focus exponent generally has to follow discourse particles. The second half of the chapter discusses current issues relating to the interactions of discourse particles and focus. Specifically, it investigates ‘relational’ discourse particles (e.g. doch and schon), which operate on a contextually salient alternative proposition q, giving rise to a discussion of the potential role that focus may play in the interpretation of such particles.

Keywords: aboutness topic, discourse particle, focus, German, rheme, theme, watershed

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.