Adli, Aria ORCID: 0000-0002-2177-7375 (2019). Topic chains in dialogues. Journal of Pragmatics, 154. pp. 39-62. New York: Elsevier. ISSN 0378-2166

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This paper analyzes topic chains (TChs) in spontaneous speech dialogues. The chain-building property of topical elements is an essential means for managing prominence on the discourse level, creating thematic coherence across sentences. TChs relate the sentential and the discourse aspect of information structure by extending the sentence-internal division between prominent and non-prominent information to the cross-sentential level, where we can distinguish between categorical sentences that continue a TCh and those that begin a new TCh. The paper examines the role of the speaker and addressee feature (Harley and Ritter, 2002) on chain building. My assumption is that prominence management differs between 3rd and 1st/2nd person topics, i.e. according to [-local] or [+local] (Ritter and Wiltschko, 2009). I assume that common assumptions on TChs (Chafe, 1976; Reinhart, 1981; Brunetti, 2009) are plausible with 3rd person referents, but much less so with local persons: 1st and 2nd persons are never new referents in a dialogue situation. I therefore propose an analysis with two parallel TChs: one in the local domain and one in the nonlocal domain. The paper concentrates on topical overt and null subject pronouns in Spanish. I will demonstrate that a detailed analysis of topicality differentiating between two parallel chains allows us to understand hitherto unexplained variance with regard to the variation between sentences with realized subject pronouns (e.g. yo canto esta canción ‘I sing this song’) and their counterparts with zero subjects (e.g. ∅ canto esta canción ‘I sing this song’).

Item Type: Journal Article
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URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-469042
DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2019.07.022
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Pragmatics
Volume: 154
Page Range: pp. 39-62
Date: 2019
Publisher: Elsevier
Place of Publication: New York
ISSN: 0378-2166
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Fächergruppe 5: Moderne Sprachen und Kulturen > Romanisches Seminar
Subjects: Language, Linguistics
Refereed: Yes


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