Pragmatics of New Topics

Bryan Rocine brocine at earthlink.net
Thu Aug 26 20:42:42 EDT 1999


Hi Paul,
you wrote:

> G'day Matthew,
>
> Actually, this example is counter-expectation for the
normal Hebrew
> verbless clause.  With the lack of the article in the
first element and
> the proper noun in the second, the order here is
Predicate-Subject,
> which is generally used for description, is it not?  The
"normal" word
> order for identification is "Subject-Predicate."  And it
is this
> "counter-expectation" that I see as a stronger indication
of a new
> topic.  (I don't have access to Dik.)  It explains the use
of fronting
> to bring an element of a clause in focus, which is how I
generally see
> the "X-" clauses.  [For example, if a contrast is being
drawn, the first
> clause seems to be normally verb initial (normally a
"waw-" form) and
> the second clause has the contrasted item, the new topic,
if you will,
> fronted.]
>
> Again, since I don't have access to Dik, I'm not 100% sure
I am talking
> about the same thing he is.  So please correct my
understanding, if you
> will.
>

It's wild isn't it?  We can disagree about such seemingly
simple things!  You'd think such simple things would be
givens.  I guess it shows that the field lacks some
standard, an authoritative voice with which all are pleased.
See my response to Matthew.  In it I tell why I think the
clause is not marked and S-P.  What do you think?

Shalom,
Bryan


B. M. Rocine
Associate Pastor
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13206

(office) 315.437.6744
(home) 315.479.8267




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