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Dutch thetic and sentence-focus constructions on the semantics-pragmatics interface: a case study

Thomas Belligh (UGent)
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Organization
Abstract
This article studies the various uses of a Dutch thetic and sentence-focus construction, viz. the Syntactic Inversion with Filler Insertion Construction (henceforth: SIFIC), e.g. Er loopt een man over straat (‘There is a man walking across the street’). The article investigates whether theticity and sentence-focus are semantically encoded meanings of the SIFIC or pragmatically inferred senses. SIFIC tokens (n = 750) were extracted from the Dutch SoNaR Corpus and annotated for five factors. The analysis shows that the SIFIC can have information-structural uses that are diametrically opposed to theticity and sentence-focus, i.e. topic-comment structure, predicate-focus articulation and categorical judgment. It is argued that theticity and sentence-focus can therefore not be regarded as the encoded semantics of the SIFIC, but should rather be analyzed as default senses of the construction. Based on similar cross-linguistic findings the article takes issue with the assumption that most languages have dedicated thetic and sentence-focus constructions.
Keywords
theticity, sentence-focus, semantics-pragmatics interface, Dutch, Construction Grammar

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Belligh, Thomas. “Dutch Thetic and Sentence-Focus Constructions on the Semantics-Pragmatics Interface: A Case Study.” Studies in Language, 2021.
APA
Belligh, T. (2021). Dutch thetic and sentence-focus constructions on the semantics-pragmatics interface: a case study. Studies in Language.
Chicago author-date
Belligh, Thomas. 2021. “Dutch Thetic and Sentence-Focus Constructions on the Semantics-Pragmatics Interface: A Case Study.” Studies in Language.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Belligh, Thomas. 2021. “Dutch Thetic and Sentence-Focus Constructions on the Semantics-Pragmatics Interface: A Case Study.” Studies in Language.
Vancouver
1.
Belligh T. Dutch thetic and sentence-focus constructions on the semantics-pragmatics interface: a case study. Studies in Language. 2021;
IEEE
[1]
T. Belligh, “Dutch thetic and sentence-focus constructions on the semantics-pragmatics interface: a case study,” Studies in Language, 2021.
@article{8667954,
  abstract     = {This article studies the various uses of a Dutch thetic and sentence-focus construction, viz. the Syntactic Inversion with Filler Insertion Construction (henceforth: SIFIC), e.g. Er loopt een man over straat (‘There is a man walking across the street’). The article investigates whether theticity and sentence-focus are semantically encoded meanings of the SIFIC or pragmatically inferred senses. SIFIC tokens (n = 750) were extracted from the Dutch SoNaR Corpus and annotated for five factors. The analysis shows that the SIFIC can have information-structural uses that are diametrically opposed to theticity and sentence-focus, i.e. topic-comment structure, predicate-focus articulation and categorical judgment. It is argued that theticity and sentence-focus can therefore not be regarded as the encoded semantics of the SIFIC, but should rather be analyzed as default senses of the construction. Based on similar cross-linguistic findings the article takes issue with the assumption that most languages have dedicated thetic and sentence-focus constructions.},
  author       = {Belligh, Thomas},
  journal      = {Studies in Language},
  keywords     = {theticity,sentence-focus,semantics-pragmatics interface,Dutch,Construction Grammar},
  language     = {und},
  title        = {Dutch thetic and sentence-focus constructions on the semantics-pragmatics interface: a case study},
  year         = {2021},
}