Contrast – from a contrastive perspective

In: Information Structure in a Cross-Linguistic Perspective

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Abstract

The main concern of the paper is to address some problems that arise when defining the concept of contrast and to clarify the relation between contrast and other concepts of information structure. As to the definition of the notion of contrast, we need to separate the semantic and pragmatic aspects of contrastiveness as well as identify different types within these two main categories. There is abundant cross-linguistic evidence for the hypothesis that certain types of contrast motivate a more fine-grained analysis of topicality and focusing. It will be argued, however, that contrastiveness not only is a relevant feature for the parametrization of topicality and focusing, but that contrast indeed represents an autonomous concept of information structuring.