The interaction between relevant-set based operators and a topic–predicate dimension

Anna Szeteli, Gábor Alberti

University of Pécs, Hungary

Abstract

Hungarian relevant-set based operators, such as universally quantified noun-phrases and the also-quantifier, signal a logico-pragmatic relation between their explicit meaning and a broader implicit set of relevant participants which property can be mentioned as “double referentiality” of the operator. Furthermore, they indicate the new or correcting information in a topic–predicate dimension which belongs to the broader world of the discourse. Our research aims to identify the differences by investigating the suprasegmental features of each-quantifiers and also-quantifiers on the Hungarian left-periphery indicating the two functions in the topic–predicate dimension. Short sentences in which quantifiers functioning either as the main (new/correcting) information or as a topic (anchor of relevant information) were read by 41 non-linguist native Hungarian subjects. The pitch, intensity and duration properties were analyzed by Praat. On the basis of paired t-tests of the data, it can be stated that a two-dimension model of information structure is required to capture the phenomenon.

Keywords
information structure, quantifiers, prosody, Praat, information focus

Suggested citation

Szeteli, Anna and Gábor Alberti. 2018. The interaction between relevant-set based operators and a topic–predicate dimension. Linguistics Beyond and Within 4: 161-172. Online at: http://lingbaw.com/2018/Anna-Szeteli,Gábor-Alberti.


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