The Hebrew University Logo
Syllabus Topics in the study of Information Structure - 41837

close window close
PDF version
Last update 19-09-2016
HU Credits: 2

Degree/Cycle: 2nd degree (Master)

Responsible Department: linguistics

Semester: 2nd Semester

Teaching Languages: Hebrew

Campus: Mt. Scopus

Course/Module Coordinator: Dr. Pavel Ozerov

Coordinator Email:

Coordinator Office Hours: Tue 12-13

Teaching Staff:
Dr. Pavel Ozerov

Course/Module description:
The field of Information Structure studies how information communicated by linguistic means is arranged in a given context, and how its arrangement interacts with various pragmatic-semantic factors. In this course we will critically survey the existing (primarily functional) approaches in the field. We will examine whether and how these views address vast cross-linguistic data available in modern research, and will investigate diverse phenomena from particular languages.

Course/Module aims:
Acquaintance with the current approaches in the field of Information Structure and ability to carry out linguistic analysis of relevant language-specific devices

Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
carry out a linguistic analysis of Information Structure in discourse, taking into account the overall discourse structuring and interactional characteristics of text

Attendance requirements(%):

Teaching arrangement and method of instruction: lectures, reading, class exercises, individual project and its presentation

Course/Module Content:
-basic notions: topic, focus, comment, presupposition, common ground, assertion
-pragmatic particles, relevant syntactic structure (e.g. cleft) and other devices
-the interaction between discourse structure and information structure
- interaction in discourse and information structure

Required Reading:
-Krifka, Manfred and Renate Musan. 2013. Information Structure: Overview and linguistic issues. In: Krifka and Musan (eds.) The Expression of Information Structure. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.
-LAMBRECHT, KNUD. 1994. Information Structure and Sentence Form: Topic, Focus, and the Mental Representations of Discourse Referents. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (selected parts)
- Matić, Dejan, and Daniel Wedgwood. 2013. The Meanings of Focus: The Significance of an Interpretation-Based Category in Cross-Linguistic Analysis. Journal of Linguistics 49 (1): 127163
- MASCHLER, YAEL. 2015. Word Order in Time: Emergent Hebrew (NS)V/VNS Syntax. In Studies in Language and Social Interaction, edited by Arnulf Deppermann and Susanne Günthner, 27:201236. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins
SASSE, HANS-JÜRGEN. 1987. The Thetic/Categorical Distinction Revisited. Linguistics 25: 511580
- STALNAKER, ROBERT. 2002. Common Ground. Linguistics and Philosophy 25 (5): 701721.
- DU BOIS, JOHN W. 2007. The Stance Triangle. In Stancetaking in Discourse: Subjectivity, Evaluation, Interaction, edited by Robert Englebretson, 139182. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Additional Reading Material:

Course/Module evaluation:
End of year written/oral examination 0 %
Presentation 30 %
Participation in Tutorials 10 %
Project work 50 %
Assignments 10 %
Reports 0 %
Research project 0 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 0 %

Additional information:
Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Diagnosis and Support of Students with Learning Disabilities, or the Office for Students with Disabilities, as early as possible, to discuss and coordinate accommodations, based on relevant documentation.
For further information, please visit the site of the Dean of Students Office.