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Vocatives, Topics, and Imperatives∗



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Vocatives Topics and Imperatives Paul Portner Georgetown University July 16 2004 IMS Workshop on Information Structure Bad Teinach 1 Preview and Background Vocatives The centerpiece of this presentation is the semantics and pragmatics of vocatives Vocatives are relevant to information structure because 1 They are indexical involving reference to the addressee 2 Their contribution to the meaning of the sentence does not seem to be truth conditional in nature 3 They are very similar to topics both syntactically and pragmatically Summary of Main Hypotheses 1 The addressee is represented in its own syntactic projection as revealed by imperatives and vocatives 2 Vocatives are separate performatives and can be analyzed as expressive meaning in the sense of Potts 2003a 3 Topics similar as they are to vocatives should be thought of as separate performatives as well Point 3 is obviously controversial and may be even more so in that it allows the hypothesis that the cognitively relevant structuring of information should pushed outside the boundaries of linguistic theory Clause Typing This work is part of a broader project on clause typing undertaken collaboratively with Raffaella Zanuttini Our work on clause types begins from the following fundamental points This is part of a project funded by NSF grant BCS 0234278 Clause Types Form and Force in Grammatical Theory to Paul Portner and Raffaella Zanuttini Miok Pak and Simon Mauck our collaborators on the project have made many contributions 1 1 Clause types are to be identified by three criteria Sadock Zwicky 1985 a They form a closed system b They are associated with a particular sentential force c The major clause types declaratives interrogatives and imperatives are universal 2 There are significant typological generalizations concerning clause type systems In addition to the universality of the major types we have some types that are common but not universal exclamatives some that are rare promissives and some types that



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