Information Packaging: From Cards To Boxes

Herman Hendriks


In his work on information packaging-i.e., the structuring of propositional content in function of the speaker's assumptions about the hearer's information state­ Vallduví (1992, 1993, 1994) identifies the informational primitives focus, link and tail, which are adapted from the traditional focus/ground and topic/comment ap­proaches, and argues that the exploitation of information states of hearers by the information-packaging strategies of speakers reveals that these states have at least the internal structure of a system of Heimian file cards: links, which correspond to what are traditionally known as topics, say where -- on what file card -- the focal information goes, and tails indicate how it fits there. Since there are various reasons for not believing this, the present paper proposes to model information states as Kampian discourse representation structures, without locations. This requires and leads to a different perspective on the function of links. They signal non-monotone anaphora. This idea will be shown to subsume 'non-identity' anaphora, contrastive stress, pronoun referent resolution, and restrictiveness of relatives and adjectives.

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