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Information Structure in a Cross-Linguistic Perspective

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The present volume draws together contributions from a number of scholars with an interest in empirical, cross-linguistic description. Most of the papers were first presented at the symposium <I>Information Structure in a Cross-linguistic Perspective</I> held in Oslo in November/December 2000. The descriptions are functionally oriented, and their common focus is how information structure – in a broad sense – can be compared across languages. 'Information structure' has been approached in a variety of ways by the authors, so as to give a broad picture of this fundamental principle of text production, involving the way in which a speaker/writer chooses to present a message in terms of given/new information, focus, cohesion, and point of view. Central to much of the research is the problem of establishing criteria for isolating linguistic constraints on language use from cultural-linguistic conventions in text production. The linguistic comparison includes English, German and/or one of the Scandinavian languages, with sidelights to other languages. Most of the papers are text- or corpus-based, and the ongoing work on parallel corpora in Scandinavia is reflected in several contributions.

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