Topic and Focus: Cross-Linguistic Perspectives on Meaning and Intonation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

Selkirk (1984), Hirschberg and Pierrehumbert (1986), Pierrehumbert and Hirschberg (1990), and the present author, have offered different but related accounts of intonation structure in English and some other languages. These accounts share the assumption that the system of tones identified by Pierrehumbert (1980), as modified by Pierrehumbert and Beckman (1988) and Silverman et al. (1992), has as transparent and type-driven a semantics in these languages as do their words and phrases. While the semantics of intonation in English concerns information structure and propositional attitude, rather than the predicate-argument relations and operator-scope relations that are familiar from standard semantics in the spirit of the papers collected as Montague 1974, this information-structural semantics is fully compositional, and can be regarded as a component of the same semantic system.
The present paper builds on Steedman (1991) and Steedman (2000a) to develop a new semantics for intonation structure, which shares with the earlier versions the property of being fully integrated into Combinatory Categorial Grammar (CCG, see Steedman 2000b, hereafter SP). This grammar integrates intonation structure into surface derivational structure and the associated Montague-style compositional semantics, even when the intonation structure departs from the restrictions of traditional surface structure. Many of the diverse discourse meanings that have been attributed to intonational tunes are shown to arise via conversational implicature from more primitive literal meanings distinguished along the three dimensions of information structure, speaker/hearer commitment, and contentiousness.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTopic and Focus
Subtitle of host publicationCross-Linguistic Perspectives on Meaning and Intonation
EditorsChungmin Lee, Matthew Gordon, Daniel Büring
Place of PublicationDordrecht
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4020-4796-1
ISBN (Print)978-1-4020-4797-8
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Publication series

NameStudies in Linguistics and Philosophy
PublisherSpringer Netherlands


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