The form and function of extra-sentential elements.
Cambridge Occasional Papers in Linguistics, 2
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Extra-sentential elements have been described as being both syntactically and prosodically independent from the phrase to which they are appended. It is commonly assumed that their prosodic independence follows from their syntactic independence. This paper argues that since extra-sentential elements do not form a single syntactic class, their common properties are better explained in terms of their role in the information structure of the discourse. All members of the class of extra-sentential elements accomplish a similar functional role and all of them share a specific prosodic form that helps to optimise the communicative relevance of the utterance by minimizing the effort required to process it.
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