Full-text resources of CEJSH and other databases are now available in the new Library of Science.
Visit https://bibliotekanauki.pl


2012 | 22 | 2 | 60-79

Article title

On scalarity in information structure



Title variants

Languages of publication



In the present paper, different scales discussed in the relevant linguistic literature are characterized and compared, first of all those that are related in some way or another to the information structure of the sentence. We then introduce our scale based on a partial ordering of mental images in the stock of knowledge assumed by the speaker to be shared by him and the hearer during the discourse. This hierarchy has a cognitive background but is reflected in the structure of the sentence, be it its information structure, or the types of referring expressions. The activation scale and its impact is then illustrated on a segment of parallel English and Czech text.








Physical description

Document type



  • Linguistica Pragensia, Ústav pro jazyk český AV ČR, v.v.i., Letenská 4, 118 51 Praha 1, Czech Republic


  • ARIEL, M. (1988): Referring and accessibility. Journal of Linguistics 24, 65-87.[Crossref]
  • ARIEL, M. (1990): Accessing Noun-Phrase Antecedents. London, Routledge.
  • BARZILAY, E. - LAPATA, M. (2008): Modeling local coherence: An entity/based approach. Computational Linguistics 34, 1-34.[Crossref]
  • CHAFE, W. (1976): Givenness, contrastiveness, definiteness, subjects, topics, and point of view. In: Ch. Li (ed.), Subject and Topic, New York, Academic Press, 25-55.
  • CHAFE, W. (1979): The flow of thought and the flow of language. In: T. Givon (ed.), Syntax and Semantics: Discourse and Syntax, vol. 12., New York, Academic Press, 159-182.
  • CHAFE, W. (1987): Cognitive constraints on information flow. In: R. Tomlin (ed.), Coherence and Grounding in Discourse, Amsterdam, John Benjamins, 21-52.
  • CHAFE, W. (1994): Discourse, Consciousness, and Time. (The Flow and Displacement of Conscious Experience in Speaking and Writing.) The University of Chicago/London, Chicago Press.
  • CLARK, H. H. - HAVILAND, S. E. (1977): Comprehension and the given-new contract. In: R. Freedle (ed.), Discourse Production and Comprehension, New Jersey, Ablex, 1-40.
  • COHERENCE AND GROUNDING IN DISCOURSE (1987): R. Tomlin (ed.), Amsterdam, John Benjamins.
  • DANEŠ, F. (1968): Typy tematických posloupností v textu (Types of thematic progressions in text). Slovo a slovesnost 29, 125-141.
  • DANEŠ, F. (1974): Functional sentence perspective and the organization of the text. In: F. Daneš (ed.), Papers on FSP, Prague, Academia, 106-128.
  • FAIS, L. (2004): Inferable centers, centering transitions, and the notion of coherence. Computational Linguistics 30, 119-150.[Crossref]
  • FIRBAS, J. (1964): On defining the theme in functional sentence perspective. In: Travaux Linguistique de Prague 1, Prague, Academia, 267-280.
  • FIRBAS, J. (1992): Functional Sentence Perspective in Written and Spoken Communication. London, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
  • FIRBAS, J. (1995): On the thematic and rhematic layers of a text. In: B. Warvick et al., Organization of Discourse. Proceedings of the Turku Conference 1995, 59-72.
  • GABELENTZ, G. von der (1868): Ideen zu einer vergleichenden Syntax - Wort- und Satzstellung. Zeitschrift fűr Völkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaft 6, 376-384.
  • GIVON, T. (1983): Topic continuity in discourse: An introduction. In: T. Givon (ed.), Topic Continuity in Discourse: A Quantitative Cross-Language Study, Amsterdam, John Benjamins, 1-41.
  • GIVON, T. (1987): Beyond forground and background. In: R. Tomlin (ed.), Coherence and Grounding in Discourse, Amsterdam, John Benjamins, 175-188.
  • GROSZ, B. - JOSHI, A. K. - WEINSTEIN, S. (1983): Providing a unified account of definite noun phrases in discourse. In: Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics 21, 44-50.
  • GROSZ, B. - JOSHI, A. K. - WEINSTEIN, S. (1995): Centering: A framework for modeling the local coherence of discourse. Computational Linguistics 21, 203-225.
  • GROSZ, B. J. - SIDNER, C. L. (1986): Attention, intentions, and the structure of discourse. Computational Linguistics 12, 175-204.
  • GROSZ, B. J. - SIDNER, C. L. (1998): Lost intuitions and forgotten intentions. In: M. A.Walker et al. (eds), Centering Theory in Discourse, Oxford, Clarendon, 39-51.
  • GUNDEL, J. K. - HEDBERG, N. - ZACHARSKI, R. (1993): Cognitive status and the form of referring expressions in discourse. Language 69, 274-307.[Crossref]
  • HAJIČ, J. et al. (2006): Prague Dependency Treebank 2.0. CD-ROM. Linguistic Data Consortium, Philadelphia, PA, USA. LDC Catalog No. LDC2006T01 URL<http://ufal.mff. cuni.cz/pdt2.0/>
  • HAJIČOVÁ, E. (1993): Issues of Sentence Structure and Discourse Patterns. Prague, Charles University.
  • HAJIČOVÁ, E. (2003): Aspects of discourse structure. In: W. Menzel - C. Vertan (ed.), Natural Language Processing between Linguistic Inquiry and System Engineering, Iasi, 47-56.
  • HAJIČOVÁ, E. - HLADKÁ, B. (2008): What does sentence annotation say about discourse? In: 18th International Congress of Linguists - Abstracts, Seoul, Korea, The Linguistic Society of Korea, 125-126.
  • HAJIČOVÁ, E. - PARTEE, B. - SGALL, P. (1998): Topic-Focus Articulation, Tripartite Structures and Semantic Content. Dordrecht, Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • HAJIČOVÁ, E. - VRBOVÁ, J. (1982): On the role of the hierarchy of activation in the process of natural language understanding. In: J. Horecký (ed.), Coling 82 - Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Computational Linguistics, Amsterdam, John Benjamins.
  • KRUIFF-KORBAYOVÁ, I. - HAJIČOVÁ, E. (1997): Topics and Centers. A Comparison of the Salience-Based Approach and the Centering Theory. Prague Bulletin of Mathematical Linguistics 67, 25-50.
  • KUNO, S. (1972): Functional sentence perspective. Linguistic Inquiry 3, 269-320.
  • LAMBRECHT, K. (1994): Information Structure and Sentence Form. Topic, Focus and the Mental Representations of Discourse Referents. UK, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
  • LI, Ch. (ed.) (1976): Subject and Topic. New York, Academic Press.
  • MATHESIUS, V. (1907): Studie k dějinám anglického slovosledu [Studies on the development of English word-order], Věstník České Akademie XIV, 261ff.
  • MATHESIUS, V. (1929): Zur Satzperspektive im modernen Englisch. Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen 155, 202-210.
  • MATHESIUS, V. (1939): O tak zvaném aktuálním členění větném. Slovo a slovesnost 5, 171-174; translated as On information-bearing structure of the sentence. In: S. Kuno (ed.), Harvard Studies in Syntax and Semantics, 1975, 467-480.
  • MATHESIUS, V. (1941): Základní funkce pořádku slov v češtině [Basic functions of the Czech word order]. Slovo a slovesnost 7, 169-180.
  • MIKULOVÁ, M. et al. (2006): Annotation on the tectogrammatical level in the Prague Dependency Treebank. Annotation manual. Prague, Tech. Report 30, ÚFAL MFF UK.
  • MILTSAKAKI, E. - ROBALDO, L. - LEE, A. - JOSHI, A. (2008): Sense annotation in the Penn Discourse Treebank. In: A. Gelbukh (ed.), Computational Linguistics and Intelligent Text Processing, Berlin/Heidelberg, Springer, 275-286.
  • MLADOVÁ, L. - ZIKÁNOVÁ, Š. - HAJIČOVÁ, E. (2008): From sentence to discourse: Building an annotation scheme for discourse based on Prague Dependency Treebank. In: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2008), Morocco, Marrakech, European Language Resources Association, 1-7.
  • PAUL, H. (1886): Prinzipien der Sprachgeschichte. Freiburg, Halle/Salle, 1909.
  • PRASAD, R. et al. (2008a): Penn Discourse Treebank Version 2.0. Philadelphia, Linguistic Data Consortium.
  • PRASAD, R. et al. (2008b): The Penn Discourse Treebank 2.0. In: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2008).
  • PRINCE, E. (1981): Toward a taxonomy of given/new information. In: P. Cole (ed.), Radical Pragmatics, New York, Academic Press, 223-254.
  • SGALL, P. (1967): Functional sentence perspective in a generative description of language. Prague Studies in Mathematical Linguistics 2, Prague, Academia, 203-225.
  • SGALL, P. (1979): Towards a definition of focus and topic. Prague Bulletin of Mathematical Linguistics 31, 3-25; 32, 1980, 24-32 (reprinted in Prague Studies in Mathematical Linguistics 78, 1981, 173-198).
  • SGALL, P. - HAJIČOVÁ, E. - BENEŠOVÁ, E. (1973): Topic, Focus, and Generative Semantics. Kronberg/Taunus, Skriptor.
  • SGALL, P. - HAJIČOVÁ, E. - BURÁŇOVÁ, E. (1980): Aktuální členění v češtině [Topic-focus articulation of Czech sentences)]. Prague, Academia.
  • SGALL, P. - HAJIČOVÁ, E. - PANEVOVÁ, J. (1986): The Meaning of the Sentence in Its Semantic and Pragmatic Aspects. Prague and Reidel, Dordrecht, Academia.
  • SPERBER, D. - WILSON, D. (1986): Relevance: Communication and Cognition. Cambridge, MA, Oxford Harvard University Press, Blackwell.
  • SVOBODA, A. (2007): Brněnská škola funkční větné perspektivy v pojmech a příkladech. [Brno school of functional sentence perspective in notions and examples]. Ostrava, Ostrava University.
  • WALKER, M. A. - JOSHI, A. - PRINCE, E. (eds) (1998): Centering Theory in Discourse. Oxford, Clarendon.
  • WALKER, M. A. - JOSHI, A. - PRINCE, E. (1998): Centering in naturally occurring discourse: An overview. In: M. A. Walker et al. (eds), 1-28.
  • WEGENER, P. (1885): Untersuchungen űber die Grundfragen des Sprachlebens. Halle/S, Niemeyer.
  • WEIL, H. (1844): De l'ordre des mots dans les langues anciennes comparées aux languages modernes. Paris.
  • WEIL, H. (1978): The Order of Words in the Ancient Languages Compared with That of the Modern Languages. Boston, 1887, re-edited Amsterdam, John Benjamins, 1978; English translation of Weil, 1844.

Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.