Arbeitspapier / Institut für Sprachwissenschaft, Universität Köln
- N.F. 27
- The subject matter of this chapter is the semantic, syntactic and discoursepragmatic background as well as the cross-linguistic behavior of types of utterance exemplified by the following English sentences […]: (1) My NECK hurts. […] (2) The PHONE's ringing. [...] Sentences such as […] are usually held to stand in opposition to sentences with a topical subject. The difference is said to be formally marked, for example, by VS order vs. topical SV order (as in Albanian po bie telefoni 'the PHONE is ringing' vs. telefoni po bie 'the PHONE is RINGING'), or by accent on the subject only vs. accent on both the subject and the verb (as in the English translations). The term theticity will be used in the following to label the specific phenomenological domain to which the sentences in (1) and (2) belong. It has long been commonplace that these and similar expressions occur at particular points in the discourse where "a new situation is presented as a whole". We will try to depict and classify the various discourse situations in which these expressions have been found in the different languages, and we will try to trace out areas of cross-linguistic comparability. Finally, we will raise the question whether or not there is a common denominator which would justify a unified treatment of all these expressions in functional/semantic terms.