Chapter published in:Thetics and Categoricals
Edited by Werner Abraham, Elisabeth Leiss and Yasuhiro Fujinawa
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 262] 2020
► pp. 226–281
From philosophical logic to linguistics
The architecture of information autonomy: Categoricals vs. Thetics revisited
How are the logical terms of thetic and categorical judgments to be distinguished linguistically? The key questions are how judgments can be thought of in terms of linguistics and what the deeper lying reason is for distinguishing the two notions. In our search for an answer, we can be guided by the distinction in Japanese, i.e. through the use of the particle ga for thetics and wa for categoricals. In German, the German equivalents are marked by accent mark and information structural word order. Syntactically, thetics are represented by VP incorporation of all arguments including the subject. The arguments are not subject to syntactic probing mechanisms but follow semantic preference principles. The following sectionss lead the reader through the paper. (1) What is thetic, what is categorical? What is this difference for? (2) Main working hypothesis: From thetic judgment to thetic sentence. (3) Hypothetic definition 1: the thetic sentence in German. (4) Hypothetic definition 2: Thetic – Categorical. (5) Thetics are presentational, not locative and not existential. (6) Accent and information structure. (7) Common ground contents (speech act felicity conditions). (8) Integrational focus: broad and narrow focus (Jacobs 2001). (9) VP-integrated subject ≠ Unaccusative subject. (10) Speaker deixis implied by subject inversion. (11) Special ga-subjects after Onoe 1973: The deeper key to thetics? (12) Linking thetic syntax with Onoe’s special ga-verb class in Japanese? (13) The origo decision for episodicity and genericity. (14) Typological commonalities. (15) Hypothesis: Passives are near-thetic. (16) Conclusion without a real end: the interface mix. (17) Outgoing: leading ideas and main concepts.
Keywords: narrow and wide sentential focus, Japanese ga vs. wa , presentational and existential sentence, prosody, thetic – categorical, valence, subject inversion, VP-integrated argument/subject
Published online: 22 July 2020
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