131095Re: Articles and the Givenness Hierarchy
- May 1, 2005David Peterson wrote:
> To that end, we recently read a paper in my pragmatics classApparently not available to the Great Unwashed without Univ. affiliation.
> which presented a theory about what the authors call givenness.
> The reference is:
> Gundel, J., N. Hedberg, R. Zacharski (1993). Cognitive Status and
> the Form of Referring Expressions in Discourse. Language,
> Vol. 69, 2:274-307.
> (It's available from jstor.org.)
> Okay, the givenness hierarchy. Essentially, the givennessVery interesting, particularly so for those who've had experience with
> hierarchy is a hierarchy of how "in focus" a given NP is. .... This
> hierarchy has six members, arranged
> in a particular order. For any given member n, it is assumed
> that a hierarchical position that is < n will be entailed by n.
> Additionally, for any hierarchical position that is > n, it will be
> assumed that n will conversationally implicate *not* n+1, n+2,
> etc. >
> The givenness hierarchy is as follows (going from least to
> 1. Type Identifiable
> 2. Referential
> 3. Uniquely Identifiable
> 4. Familiar
> 5. Activated
> 6. In Focus
languages without real def/indef. articles (Indonesian in my case-- I wonder
how Russian works in this respect.) I don't have time right now to go thru
this case by case (nor are the thoughts organized after only 2 cups of
coffee...). But it strikes me that this is tied in with presuppositions
~narrative structure ~discourse analysis ~pragmatics??
Way back when, one of my profs. pointed out a 3-way distinction in English:
Looking for your lost dog, you approach a stranger: Have you seen a dog?
(You could describe it a little bit, but you could delay that pending an
You ask your neighbor: Have you seen my dog? (If you have more than one dog,
you'd have to be more specific)-- One thing that has stuck in my mind from
Indo. and relatives: a possessed form is _by its very nature_ definite; so
are personal names.
You ask a family member: Have you seen the dog?
This 3-way distinction was certainly in my mind while I worked on Kash,
along with a lot more; I suspect there's some way to indicate the proposed 6
categories (there may be more??), but so much depends on context, doesn't
Perhaps more later.
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