M.M.Jocelyne Fernandez-Vest, Marri Amon, Karl-Erland Gadelii, Victor Junnan Pan, Jirasak Achariyayos, Danh-Thàn Do-Hurinville
September 13, 2017
Starting from a critical evaluation of the Question-Answer (Q-A) test that has been used by many theoreticians for establishing the linguistic category of Rheme/Focus, this collective chapter, a by-product of our larger CNRS-project about Information Structuring and Typology (ISTY) introduces a methodology based on a Minimal Communicative Utterance (MCU – often an Answer) and its extensions – Binary Strategy 1 (Theme-Rheme) and Binary Strategy 2 (Rheme-Mneme) as dialogic information structuring (IS) constructions. Section 2 reviews the presentation of Polar and Referent Qs and their Answers in the grammars of several European languages – Finno-Ugric (Estonian, Finnish, Sami) and Indo-European (French, Swedish) – and emphasizes the necessity to take into account discourse typology. Section 3 investigates the formal and semantic correlations of Q-A pairs taken from authentic corpora in various dialogue situations (orally transmitted Northern Sami and its recent written variants, Estonian conversations, French political debates). Section 4 is dedicated to a survey of Qs and As in three Southeast-Asian languages (Mandarin Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese), and a comparison of discourse particles as IS devices in the two groups of languages. The general conclusion suggests new approaches to some unsolved research questions (prosody, “theme-prominence”, interaction of syntax and IS structures).