The Semantics and Pragmatics of Preposing: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Semantics and Pragmatics of Preposing

1st Edition

By Gregory L. Ward


268 pages

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Paperback: 9781138690370
pub: 2018-02-27
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pub: 2016-10-04
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First published in 1988, this book examines the aspects of pragmatic competence involving the class of preposing constructions in English. By limiting the scope of investigation to particular grammatical categories, the author argues previous studies have failed to capture significant pragmatic generalisations. The author asserts what distinguishes one preposing type from another are the semantic and pragmatic properties of the referent of that constituent. After a review of the past literature on preposing, the book goes on to present a pragmatic theory in which two discourse functions of preposing are proposed. It then provides a functional taxonomy of the various preposing types which the theory is designed to account for. One type of preposing, Topicalization, and two of its subtypes, Proposition Affirmation and Ironic Preposing, are discussed in detail in the subsequent chapters before the book concludes with a summary along with directions for future research.

Table of Contents

Introduction; 2. Previous Studies; 2.1 Introduction 2.2. Topic-Based Studies of NP Preposing 2.2.1. Halliday 2.2.2. Gundel 2.2.3. Langacker 2.2.4. Rodman 2.2.5. Creider 2.2.6. Bland 2.2.7. Reinhart 2.2.8. Davison 2.3. Non-Topic-Based Studies of NP Preposing 2.3.1. Chafe 2.3.2. Clark and Clark 2.3.3. Prince 2.4. Studies of VP Preposing 2.5. Summary; 3. A Theory of Preposing; 3.1. Introduction 3.2. Definition 3.2.1. Scales 3.2.2. Backward Looking Centers 3.2.3. Open Proposition and Focus 3.3. The Functions of Preposing 3.4. Identifying the Open Proposition and Focus 3.4.1. Stress and Focus 3.4.2. Identifying Possible Foci 3.5. Summary; 4. Applying the Theory; 4.1. Introduction 3.2. The Data 4.3. The Analysis 4.3.1. Preposing and Informality 4.3.2. Preposing and Indefiniteness 4.3.3. Preposing and Specificity 4.3.4. Preposing and Root Transformations 4.4. A Taxonomy of Preposing 4.5. Focus Preposing 4.5.1. General Focus Preposing 4.5.2. Echoing 4.5.3. Yiddish-Movement 4.6 Summary; 5. General Topicalization; 5.1. Introduction 5.2. Categorical Restrictions on TOP? 5.2.1. Types of Scalar Relations 5.2.2 Scalar Values 5.2.3. Salience of the Scale 5.3. [+Identity] TOP 5.3.1. Adverbial Preposing 5.3.2. NPs and [+Identity] TOP 5.3.3. Bridging via NPs 5.4. Syntactically Distinguishable Types of TOP 5.4.1. Indirect Question Preposing 5.4.2. ‘If’ Preposing; 6. Proposition Affirmation; 6.1. Introduction 6.2. General Proposition Affirmation 6.3. Proposition Affirmation with Modals 6.4. Exclamative Proposition Affirmation 6.5. ‘That’ –Tense Preposing 6.6. A Comparison of PA-Performing Constructions ‘It Is’ Preposing 6.8. Syntactic Arguments Based on PA; 7. Ironic Preposing; 7.1. Introduction 7.2. Accommodating Ironic Preposing in the Theory 7.2.1. Backward Looking Center 7.2.2. Open Proposition 7.3. Previous Pragmatic Accounts of Irony; 8. Conclusion; Index

About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: Semantics and Semiology

Semantics and semiology are two of the most important branches of linguistics and have proven to be fecund areas for research. They examine language structures and how they are dictated by both the meanings and forms of communication employed — semantics by focusing on the denotation of words and fixed word combinations, and semiology by studying sign and sign processes. As numerous interrelated fields connect to and sub-disciplines branch off from these major spheres, they are essential to a thorough grounding in linguistics and crucial for further study.

‘Routledge Library Editions: Semantics and Semiology’ collects together wide-ranging works of scholarship that together provide a comprehensive overview of the preceding theoretical landscape, and expand and extend it in numerous directions. A number of interrelated disciplines are also discussed in conjunction with semantics and semiology such as anaphora, pragmatics, syntax, discourse analysis and the philosophy of language. This set reissues 14 books originally published between 1960 to 2000 and will be of interest to students of linguistics and the philosophy of language.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Grammar & Punctuation
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Pragmatics
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Syntax
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Semantics