Communicative Organization in Natural Language

The semantic-communicative structure of sentences

ORCID logoIgor Mel’čuk | University of Montreal
ISBN 9789027230607 (Eur) | EUR 125.00
ISBN 9781588111012 (USA) | USD 188.00
ISBN 9789027294838 | EUR 125.00 | USD 188.00
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The book defines the concept of Semantic-Communicative Structure [= Sem-CommS]-a formal object that is imposed on the starting Semantic Structure [= SemS] of a sentence (under text synthesis) in order to turn the selected meaning into a linguistic message. The Sem-CommS is a system of eight logically independent oppositions: 1. Thematicity (Rheme vs. Theme), 2. Givenness (Given vs. Old), 3. Focalization (Focalized vs. Non-Focalized), 4. Perspective (Foregrounded vs. Backgrounded), 5. Emphasis (Emphasized vs. Non-Emphasized), 6. Presupposedness (Presupposed vs. Non-Presupposed), 7. Unitariness (Unitary vs. Articulated), 8. Locutionality (Communicated vs. Signaled). The values of these oppositions mark particular subnetworks of the starting SemS and thus allow for the distinction between sentences such as (a) A man killed a dog vs. The dog was killed by a man, (b) John washed the window vs. It was John who washed the window or (c) It hurts! vs. Ouch! The proposed Sem-Comm-oppositions are conceived as an attempt at sharpening the well-known notions of Topic ~ Comment, Focus, etc. Possible linguistic strategies for expressing the values of the Sem-Comm-oppositions in different languages are discussed at some length, with linguistic illustrations.
[Studies in Language Companion Series, 57] 2001.  xii, 393 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“Mel'cuk's approach to communicative organization is another important contribution to our thinking about the need for crystal-clear definitions when working with linguistic phenomena and their dimensions of variation. It is rather difficult for a reviewer to find points for negative criticism. To sum up, the book is to be recommended to anyone working in the domain of Information Packaging from any perspective. It will not fail to stimulate both functionalists/typologists and formal linguists to get rid of terminological and notional vagueness when addressing the problem of what is communicated through natural language utterances.”
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Main BIC Subject

CF: Linguistics

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
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U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2001037857 | Marc record