Objects and Information Structure

Objects and Information Structure

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In many languages, the objects of transitive verbs are either marked by grammatical case or agreement on the verb, or they remain unmarked: this is differential object marking. This book is a cross-linguistic study of how differential object marking is affected by information structure, the structuring of the utterance in accordance with the informational value of its elements and contextual factors. Marked objects tend to be associated with old information or information that the sentence is about, while unmarked objects tend to express new information. The book also sheds light on grammatical patterning in languages with differential object marking: in some languages marked and unmarked objects have identical grammatical properties, whereas in other languages marked objects are more active in syntax. Finally, it provides a theory of the historical changes that lead to the emergence of various patterns of differential object marking.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text | 272 pages
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1139065076
  • 9781139065078

Table of contents

1. Introduction; 2. Syntactic assumptions; 3. Information structure in grammar; 4. Syntax and information structure; 5. Topicality and grammatical marking; 6. Topical marking of nonsubjects; 7. Topicality and DOM; 8. Primary and secondary objecthood and DOM; 9. Multiple objects and grammatical alignment; 10. Semantic features, topicality and grammaticalisation; 11. Conclusion.show more

About Mary Dalrymple

Mary Dalrymple is Professor of Syntax in the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics at the University of Oxford. Irina Nikolaeva is a Lecturer in Endangered Languages in the Department of Linguistics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.show more

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