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Do contrastive topics exist?

TITOV, E; (2012) Do contrastive topics exist? Journal of Linguistics , 49 (2) pp. 413-454. 10.1017/s0022226712000370. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper investigates a phenomenon that has been referred to in the linguistic literature as contrastive topic. Traditionally, contrastive topic is analyzed as an independent information-structural notion that is linked to a particular interpretation and intonation. The paper, however, argues that the information-structural notion of contrastive topic is redundant and can be reduced to that of contrastive focus. The apparent dissimilarity between contrastive topics and contrastive foci is attributed to a difference in the structures that contain them rather than any particular difference between the associated information-structural notions themselves. The structures that host contrastive topics and contrastive foci are claimed to be distinct due to the nature of an additional focused element obligatorily present in the sentence. Contrastive topics and contrastive foci themselves, in contrast, are shown to be associated with identical interpretations, which results in their identical syntactic distribution, strongly suggesting that they in fact represent one and the same information-structural phenomenon in two different types of construction.

Type: Article
Title: Do contrastive topics exist?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/s0022226712000370
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/s0022226712000370
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10122964
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