Work Papers of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, University of North Dakota Session




From the introduction: "My aims in this paper are twofold: first, to spell out the normal or UNMARKED function of topicalization (as defined below) in narrative discourse; and second, to consider what Sperber & Wilson call the "additional contextual effects" (1986:196) that MARKED or apparently redundant instances of topicalization are intended to achieve in Hebrew.

"In sect. 2, I argue in favour of Beneš 1962 characterization of topicalization as bidirectional. It not only serves "as point of departure for the communication", but also provides the basis for linking the communication to its context. I then review my 1987 work on the relation between topicalization and what Givón (1983:8) calls "discontinuities" (cf. also Lambdin 1971:62): discontinuities in the flow of the story, in the spatio-temporal setting or in the cast of participants (sect. 3). in sect. 4, I consider why topicalization is often associated with backgrounding, but argue that Longacre (1989) is wrong in treating ALL topicalized sentences in Hebrew as backgrounded. Finally, in sect. 5 I examine examples of marked topicalization, i.e. passages in which there is no evidence of a discontinuity in the story yet topicalization occurs, and claim that the intended effect of marked topicalization is to highlight a key event which is to follow."

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