Article published in:Non-prototypical clefts
Edited by Lena Karssenberg, Karen Lahousse, Béatrice Lamiroy, Stefania Marzo and Ana Drobnjakovic
[Belgian Journal of Linguistics 32] 2018
► pp. 21–52
The role of referential givenness in Dutch alternating presentational constructions
Presentational constructions are linguistic structures that can convey all-focus utterances with no topic constituent that serve to introduce a referentially new entity or event into the discourse. Like many other languages, Dutch has several presentational constructions, including a Prosodic Inversion Construction (PIC), a Syntactic Inversion with Filler Insertion Construction (SIFIC) and a Non-Prototypical Cleft Construction (NPC). This article investigates these structures as alternating presentational constructions and focuses on referential givenness as a possible factor influencing the alternation. Based on a data elicitation task, referential givenness is shown to play a role in the choice of alternant. The PIC is predominantly used with unused/inactive and accessible Mental Representations of Referents (MRRs), but it can also contain brand-new MRRs. The NPC is exclusively used with brand-new MRRs. The SIFIC is used mostly with brand-new MRRs, but it can also contain accessible MRRs, in particular in positions other than the syntactic subject. The data elicitation task yielded a number of additional Dutch linguistic structures that could also be considered presentational constructions, including a construction with a perception verb used in a weak verb-like fashion and a construction with an existential sentence combined with a coordinated canonical topic-comment clause.
Keywords: alternation, referential givenness, theticity, sentence-focus, presentational constructions, information structure, Dutch
- 2.Theoretical background and state of the art
- 2.1What are presentational constructions?
- 2.2Dutch presentational constructions
- 2.3Sentential structures and presentativity: A case of encoding?
- 2.4Alternating Dutch presentational constructions
- 2.5Referential givenness
- 4.Results and discussion
- 4.1Number of PCs produced
- 4.2New PCs on the horizon
- 4.3How are the PCs related to the referential givenness states?
- 4.4Further observations about the SIFIC, the NPC and the existential + TC
Published online: 21 January 2019
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