1st Edition

The Semantics and Pragmatics of Preposing

ISBN 9781138690370
Published February 26, 2018 by Routledge
268 Pages

USD $44.95

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Book Description

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

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