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ERIC Number: ED202250
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Context and Syntax: The Effect of Discourse Pragmatics on Clause-Structure in German.
Dunbar, Ronald W.
The option of verb-final versus verb-second (V2) order in subordinate clauses in German is subject to regularity when discourse context is taken into account. The artificial rule which places the verb at the end of any subordinate clause obliterates the feel for discourse structure that is still present in colloquial German. The option of using V2 order in a number of syntactic environments is conditioned by at least three discourse-pragmatic factors: lack of discourse-presuppositional material, topic switch, and speaker empathy. The fact that the three features combine to effect a particular syntactic device (V2) leads to the conclusion that the syntactic device has an additional, discourse-pragmatic function, and that the three features involved might be in some way closely related. The most striking common element among them is one of "speaker assertion." This means not only that parataxis and hypotaxis are probably assertionally related concepts, but also that "assertion" can probably be made not only at a logical-semantic level, but also at a discourse and even an emotional level. (Author/JB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Subordinate Clauses
Note: Paper presented at "Beyond the Sentence," the Annual University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee Linguistics Symposium (9th, Milwaukee, WI, March 7-8, 1980).