Edited by Nicholas Catasso, Marco Coniglio and Chiara De Bastiani
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 275] 2022
► pp. 215–234
The prefield in German declarative main clauses (i.e. the area left of the tensed verb) usually contains exactly one phrase. As I showed in earlier work, the phrase-selection is guided by information-structural factors, scene-setting elements being preferred over contrastive elements, which in turn are preferred over aboutness topics. This paper investigates the role of discourse relations on the ranking of possible prefield phrases. It turns out that discourse relations have a direct impact on the ranking (e.g. with Explanation, topics are preferred over contrastive elements) and that phrasal discourse relation markers enter the ranking, being the most preferred prefield fillers. In Early New High German texts, this tendency is even stronger.