By T. Givón
Givón T. The Genesis of Syntactic Complexity (John Benjamins Publishing corporation, 2009)(ISBN 9027232539)
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Extra info for The genesis of syntactic complexity: diachrony, ontogeny, neuro-cognition, evolution
As an illustration, consider the following, somewhat schematic but still plausible, dialogue between speakers A and B: (13) A-i: So she got up and left. B-i: You didn’t stop her? A-ii: Would you? B-ii: I don’t know. Where was she sitting? A-iii: Why? B-iii: Never mind, just tell me. Speaker’s beliefs about hearer’s epistemic state: • Speaker believes hearer doesn’t know proposition (13A-i). • Speaker believes hearer believes that speaker speaks with authority about proposition (13A-i). Speaker’s beliefs about hearer’s deontic state: • Speaker believes hearer is well-disposed toward the speaker communicating to him/her proposition (13A-i).
Why bother to tell another person about states of affairs s/he already knows? Why bother to ask them if you already know what they know? It is the emergence of displaced reference as the more prevalent topic of communication that endowed declarative and interrogatives speech acts with their adaptive motivation: They are designed to carry the load of reporting (and asking) about inaccessible referents and past or future events that are not available to all interlocutors at the speech situation. Displaced reference creates an informational .
This is so because the prior discourse had activated ‘bar’, which then remained activated in the hearer’s working memory by the persistence of the narrated situation. ‘Bar tender’ is an automatically-activated connected node in the lexical frame ‘bar’, thus a consequence of the cultural specificity of semantic memory. In continuing with the anaphoric pronoun ‘he’ in (12f), the speaker again assumes that the referent is both accessible and currently activated in the hearer’s focal attention. , working memory.
The genesis of syntactic complexity: diachrony, ontogeny, neuro-cognition, evolution by T. Givón