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Information structure lecture series 2008 -

Abstract Kohler

On the basis of Karl Bühler’s Organon Model and the Kiel Intonation Model (KIM), this paper develops components of a paradigm of Speech Communication. It integrates the functions of Expression of the Speaker and Appeal to the Listener with the function of Representation of the Factual World into a comprehensive framework of language. What are traditionally regarded as paralinguistic aspects of communication are thus moved from the periphery of the study of language to its centre. In particular, prosodic manifestations are discussed of 'argumentation structure', of categories of 'emphasis', and of 'attitudes' towards the listener in questions. The concept of 'argumentation structure' is distinguished from 'information structure': it refers to the personal weighting of referential information which the speaker wants to convey to a listener. Thus the categories of 'given' vs. 'new' of information structure are supplemented by the categories of 'concluding' vs 'opening an argument'.

Descriptive and experimental data illustrating these aspects of a communicative paradigm will, in the main, be taken from Standard German and Southern British English, but there will also be some references to German dialects, and to Mandarin Chinese with a view to the question of language universals.

Last checked 2010-10-05 by Christine Dimroth

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