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Information Structure

Information structure relates to a range of phenomena that refer to the organization of linguistically encoded information in ways that facilitate an efficient information transfer in an ever-changing communicative context.

The information structure phenomena are reflected in formal features of language, such as prosodic and morphological markings, word order, and other syntactic transformations, such as cleft sentences. While the formal expressions of information structure vary across languages due to the differences in grammatical systems, they are organized along several dimensions that are believed to be universal. These dimensions include focus-background, topic-comment, and given-new and constitute information structure categories, some of which are described in this entry.

The focus-background dimension indicates the existence of alternatives relevant for the interpretation of linguistic expressions for focus and the lack of ...

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