Information structure and syntactic structure

Betty J. Birner*, Gregory Ward

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


This article explores the interface between syntactic structure and information structure - in particular, the broad generalizations that can be made between certain noncanonical word orders and information-structural constraints on their use. Various ways of implementing the distinction between 'given' and 'new' information are described, and several classes of word orders (such as preposings, postposings, argument reversals, and clefts) are discussed in terms of the information-status constraints to which they are sensitive. It is argued that classes of related word orders share related constraints but that - both cross-linguistically and within a single language - there are also construction-specific constraints on the correlation between word order and information status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1167-1187
Number of pages21
JournalLinguistics and Language Compass
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language


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