New Topics

Paul Zellmer zellmer at digitelone.com
Thu Aug 26 18:24:49 EDT 1999


Matthew Anstey wrote (in part):

> Secondly, if your analysis is correct, then we have a marked sentence
order
> indicating new-topic, but, and I could be wrong, this is not a typical
usage
> for marked sentences. Dik does not count markedness as a feature of
> new-topic introduction. It is more usual for it to be used for focus,
as you
> mentioned. But is this sentence focus or new-topic or both? Focus is
usually
> achieved by left-dislocation, which is why I am interested in this
verse as,
> if Dik is right, then New Topic is usually achieved by
right-dislocation.
> Clearly differentiating these two pragmatic functions and then
discerning
> their influence on word order in BH is something that interests me,
but
> seems quite difficult to do.

Matthew, as I look at it further, for this to be a "new topic,"
shouldn't there be an old topic?  I don't see one.  Or does Dik not
differentiate between introduction of topics and change of topics?

I won't argue your definiteness position, but it does seem strange to me
to call the first part of this definite without any article being
indicated.  I do recognize, however, that the normal P-S clause would
have omitted the $EM, and that we are dealing with a construct chain.

I'll put the right dislocation on my list of things to keep an eye out
for, although I'm not sure how to identify it.  Perhaps a clause final
subject??  But I have a gut feel that, if it exists, it is in the
introduction of the topic, not in the change of topic.

Yours,

Paul




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