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date: 23 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article introduces new work on the fundamental attentional system of language, while in part providing a framework in which prior linguistic work on attention can be placed. In a speech situation, a hearer may attend to the linguistic expression produced by a speaker, to the conceptual content represented by that expression, and to the context at hand. But not all of this material appears uniformly in the foreground of the hearer's attention. Rather, various portions or aspects of the expression, content, and context have differing degrees of salience. When the basic attentional factors combine and interact, the further attentional effects that result include incremental gradation, convergence, and conflict. This article discusses factors involving properties of the morpheme, factors involving morphology and syntax, factors involving forms that set attention outside themselves, phonological properties within an utterance including those of individual morphemes, factors involving properties of the referent, factors involving the relation between reference and its representation, factors involving the occurrence of representation, and factors involving properties of temporal progression.

Keywords: attention, language, salience, gradation, convergence, conflict, morphology, syntax, morphemes, referent

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