When discourse matches syntax: On meta-informative centering theory and discourse coherence in the recent history of English

Martínez Insua, Ana Elina
September 2011
International Journal of English Studies;2011, Vol. 11 Issue 2, p97
Academic Journal
This paper is concerned with how there-constructions may have helped to achieve discourse coherence in the recent history of English. From the theoretical framework of Mela-Informative (entering Theory (MIC) the paper explores the possibility to establish a relation between the syntactic Structures under analysis and the distinction between 'smooth-shift' and 'rough-shift' transitions from one centre of attention to another (Brennan, Friedman & Pollard, 1987). This will help, ultimately, to investigate the interaction between centering and MIC theories, word order and information structure in a 'non-free' word order language such as English. A corpus-driven analysis of the behaviour of spoken and written there-constructions from late Middle English to Present Day English will show their capacity to function cither as highly coherent structures that continue with the same local topic as the previous utterances), or as means to shift the local focus of attention.


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