Workshop Description

Information Structure: Form and Interpretation

Drafted by Daniel Büring

This workshop invites contributions on the marking and interpretation of information structure, including focus, topic, contrast and givenness in the context of non-transformational grammars. These may include, but need not be limited to, contributions on:
      A.    Information structure marking in lesser studied languages; what categories need to be distinguished to account for distributional facts? How are they encoded, and what options are there for mapping them onto a universal representation of IS functions (e.g. [3,6,10,11,14])?
     B.    Different ways of focus marking: Ways to model the influence of syntactic position, morphological marking and prosodic marking on the signalling of IS categories, across languages, but also in languages that combine several of these (e.g.[3,4,6,8,10,16]).
     C.    IS ambiguities: Patterns in which the same form is compatible with different sizes, or even locations, of pragmatic focus/topic etc (`focus projection’). How to model these, and what patterns are attested (e.g. [10,12])?
     D.    Prosodic Structure in LFG, especially those aspects apparently relevant for IS-marking, i.e. stress, accent, tones and phrasing (e.g.[1,2,5,16,18,19]).
     E.    IS Semantics: What machinery (multidimensional meanings, underspecified representations, structured meanings…) is needed to account for the semantics of IS marking, and how to implement them e.g. using glue semantics.
     F.    IS Pragmatics: What are the pragmatic conditions on the use of IS categories, i.e. how do pragmatic rules make reference to such labels as `focus’, `topic’ etc. (e.g. [9,10,13,16,18]).


1.    Bögel, T. (2012). ‘The P-Diagram – A Syllable-Based Approach to P-Structure’. In M. Butt and T. H. King (eds.), Proceedings of theLFG12 Conference, CSLI Publications, pp. 99–117.
2.    Bögel, T., M. Butt, R. M. Kaplan, T. H. King, and J. T. Maxwell III (2009). ‘Prosodic Phonology in LFG: A New Proposal’. In M. Butt and T. H. King (eds.), Proceedings of the LFG09 Conference, CSLI Publications, pp. 146–166. 
3.    Bresnan, Joan and Mchombo, Sam A. 1987. ‘Topic, pronoun, and agreement in Chichewa.’ Language 63(4):741–782
4.    Butt, M. and T. H. King (1996). ‘Structural Topic and Focus without Movement’. In M. Butt and T. H. King (eds.), Proceedings of the LFG96 Conference, CSLI Publications.
5.    Butt, M. and T. H. King (1998). ‘Interfacing Phonology with LFG’. In M. Butt and T. H. King (eds.), Proceedings of the LFG98 Conference, CSLI Publications.
6.    Butt, Miriam. 2014. Questions and Information Structure in Urdu/Hindi. In Miriam Butt and Tracy Holloway King (eds.), On-Line Proceedings of the LFG14 Conference, CSLI On-line Publications.
7.    Butt, Miriam and King, Tracy Holloway. 1998. Interfacing Phonology with LFG. In Miriam Butt and Tracy Holloway King (eds.),Proceedings of the LFG98 Conference, CSLI Online Publications.
8.    Cook, Phillipa and Payne, John 2006. ‘Information structure and scope in German.’ In Butt, Miriam and King, Tracy Holloway (eds.) ‘On-line Proceedings of the LFG2006 Conference,’ URL
9.    Dalrymple, M. and L. Mycock (2011). ‘The Prosody-Semantics Interface’. In M. Butt and T. H. King (eds.), Proceedings of the LFG11Conference, CSLI Publications, pp. 173–193.
10.    Dalrymple, M. and I. Nikolaeva (2011). Objects and Information Structure. Cambridge University Press.
11.    Jabeen, Farhat, Bögel, Tina and Butt, Miriam. 2016. Variable prosodic realization of verb focus in Urdu. In Speech Prosody, Boston, USA.
12.    King, T. H. (1997). ‘Focus Domains and Information-Structure’. In M. Butt and T. H. King (eds.), Proceedings of the LFG97 Conference, CSLI Publications.
13.    King, T. H. and A. Zaenen (2004). ‘F-structures, Information Structure, and Discourse Structure’. In M. Butt and T. H. King (eds.), Proceedings of LFG04, CSLI Publications.
14.    Marfo, C. and Bodomo, A. B. 2005. Information structuring in Akan question-word fronting and focus constructions. Studies in African Linguistics, 34.2: 179-208.
15.    Maslova, Elena 2003b. ‘Information focus in relational clause structure.’ In Tsunoda, Tasaku and Kageyama, Taro (eds.) ‘Voice and Grammatical Relations: Festschrift for Masayoshi Shibatani,’ Amsterdam: John Benjamins, Typological Studies in Language, pp. 175–194
16.    Mycock, L. (2010). ‘Prominence in Hungarian: The Prosody-Syntax Connection’. Transactions of the Philological Society 108(3), pp. 265–297.
17.    Mycock, L. & J. Lowe (submitted) “Defining DiscourseFunctions and the Representation of Information Structure”.
18.    Mycock, L. & J. Lowe (2013) `The prosodic encoding of discourse functions’. In M. Butt & T. H. King (eds.) Proceedings of the LFG13 Conference, University of Debrecen. Online, CSLI Publications. 440-460.
19.    O’Connor, R. (2006). Information Structure in Lexical-Functional Grammar: The Discourse-Prosody Correspondence. Ph.D.thesis, University of Manchester.


General information: 

We invite abstract submissions for a 25-minute talk followed by a 10-minute discussion. Abstracts should be at most 2 pages long, in 12 point font, with 1" margin, including data and references. Abstracts must be submitted as a pdf file, using the following easychair link:

Important dates:

• Abstracts submission deadline: 1 April 2018 
• Notification of acceptance: early May 2018
• Workshop: 20 July 2018

If you have any further questions, you can write to: unalternatives.project 'at'