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Functional Sentence Perspective in Written and Spoken Communication

Overview

Inspired by the ideas of the Prague School, the theory of functional sentence perspective (FSP) is concerned with the distribution of information as determined by all meaningful elements, from intonation (for speech) to context. A central feature of FSP is communicative dynamism. Jan Firbas discusses the distribution of the degrees of communicative dynamism over sentence elements, which determines the orientation or perspective of the sentence. He examines also the relation of theme and rheme to, and their ...
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Overview

Inspired by the ideas of the Prague School, the theory of functional sentence perspective (FSP) is concerned with the distribution of information as determined by all meaningful elements, from intonation (for speech) to context. A central feature of FSP is communicative dynamism. Jan Firbas discusses the distribution of the degrees of communicative dynamism over sentence elements, which determines the orientation or perspective of the sentence. He examines also the relation of theme and rheme to, and their implementation by, syntactic components. Special attention is paid to the relation between FSP and word order. The second part of the book deals with spoken communication and considers the place of intonation in the interplay of FSP factors, establishing the concept of prosodic prominence. It tackles the relationship between the distribution of degrees of communicative dynamism as determined by the interplay of the non-prosodic FSP factors and the distribution of degrees of prosodic prominence as brought about by intonation.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521031820
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Series: Studies in English Language Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
List of abbreviations
Pt. I Functional sentence perspective in written communication
1 Introduction 3
In medias res 3
Two perspectives 5
Communicative dynamism and linear modification--one of the factors of functional sentence perspective 6
Potentiality 11
Actual linear arrangement and interpretative arrangement 12
Organization of the present study 13
2 The sentence and the carriers of communicative dynamism 14
The sentence as a field of relations 14
The hierarchy of carriers of communicative dynamism 16
3 The contextual factor 21
Known information and the structure of context 21
The immediately relevant context 23
Signalling of context dependence 31
More thoughts on context dependence 37
Context--a graded phenomenon 39
Presenting elements as context-dependent 40
4 The semantic factor 41
The verb and its successful competitors 41
5 The theme and the non-theme 66
The scales of dynamic semantic functions 66
The foundation-laying and the core-constituting elements: the theme and the non-theme 69
An analysis of a text 74
Additional notes on transition transition proper oriented elements 77
Additional notes on theme diathematic elements 79
Additional notes on rheme strings of specifications 81
The functional perspective of the noun phrase 83
Dynamic and static 86
6 Some special issues of the theory of functional sentence perspective 88
Boundary between theme and non-theme 88
The functional sentence perspective of questions, negative sentences and commands 97
The concept of communicative dynamism revisited 104
More thoughts on potentiality 108
The contextual applicability of functional sentence perspective 110
Signals of the distribution of communicative dynamism 114
7 Word order and functional sentence perspective 117
Word order as a system 117
Topicalization 125
Notes on Old English and present-day English word orders 127
Basic instance-level implementations 134
Pt. II Functional sentence perspective in spoken communication
8 Non-prosodic distribution of degrees of communicative dynamism and degrees of prosodic prominence 143
Degrees of prosodic prominence 143
Perfect correspondence between the non-prosodic distribution of communicative dynamism and the distribution of prosodic prominence 148
Prosodic intensification imposed upon perfect correspondence between the two distributions 154
Selective non-reevaluating intensification 156
Re-evaluating prosodic intensification 159
9 Some more observations on the relationship between the non-prosodic distribution of communicative dynamism and that of prosodic prominence 173
Deshading 173
Further notes on shading and the to-be-in-the-know effect 176
Settings and specifications 180
More thoughts on the prosodic implementation of the subject and on potentiality 183
Functional sentence perspective, intonation and emotiveness 186
Intonation of questions 189
10 Analyses of two spoken texts 192
Analysis of the first text 193
Analysis of the second text 196
The relevance of degrees of prosodic prominence to functional sentence perspective 212
11 Some special issues concerning functional sentence perspective in the spoken language 214
Functional sentence perspective and the contextual applicability of the spoken sentence structure 214
Can communicative dynamism be equated with prosodic prominence? 216
Summarizing the role of intonation in functional sentence perspective 218
Written language and spoken language 220
Potentiality revisited 221
The contextual factor revisited 222
Epilogue 225
References 227
Index 235
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