Abstract

This article proposes a syntax and a semantics for intonation in English and some related languages. The semantics is ‘surface-compositional’, in the sense that syntactic derivation constructs information-structural logical form monotonically, without rules of structural revision, and without autonomous rules of ‘focus projection’. This is made possible by the generalized notion of syntactic constituency afforded by combinatory categorial grammar (CCG)—in particular, the fact that its rules are restricted to string-adjacent type-driven combination. In this way, the grammar unites intonation structure and information structure with surface-syntactic derivational structure and Montague-style compositional semantics, even when they deviate radically from traditional surface structure.

The article revises and extends earlier CCG-based accounts of intonational semantics, grounding hitherto informal notions like ‘theme’ and ‘rheme’ (a.k.a. ‘topic’ and ‘comment’, ‘presupposition’ and ‘focus’, etc.) and ‘background’ and ‘contrast’ (a.k.a. ‘given’ and ‘new’, ‘focus’, etc.) in a logic of speaker/hearer supposition and update, using a version of Rooth’s alternative semantics. A CCG grammar fragment is defined that constrains language-specific intonation and its interpretation more narrowly than previous attempts.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 2-57
Launched on MUSE
2014-03-29
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.