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SUBJECT AND TOPIC: A NEW TYPOLOGY OF LANGUAGE

C. Li, and S. Thompson. page 457--489. Academic Press, London /New York, (1976)

Abstract

According to our study, there are four basic types of languages: (i) languages that are subject-prominent (a term introduced by E.L. Keenan); (ii) languages that are topic-prominent; (iii) languages that are both subject-prominent and topic-prominent; (iv) languages that are neither subject-prominent nor topic-prominent. In subject-prominent (Sp) languages, the structure of sentences favors a description in which the grammatical relation subject-predicate plays a major role; in topic-prominent (Tp) languages, the basic structure of sentences favors a description in which the grammatical relation topic-comment plays a major role. In type (iii) languages, there are two equally important distinct sentence constructions, the subject-predicate construction and the topic-comment construction; in type (iv) languages, the subject and the topic have merged and are no longer distinguishable in all sentence types.

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URL:
http://ling.kgw.tu-berlin.de/Korean/Artikel03/
BibTeX key:
citeulike:1689100
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