2 queries for discourse analysts

Johanna Rubba jrubba at CALPOLY.EDU
Mon Jan 10 06:45:59 UTC 2000

Hi, all. I am educating myself in the syntax/discourse connection, and
have two questions:

(1) I have several long texts that I would like to analyze, but they
need to be parsed. In spite of a query to LINGUIST a while ago, I never
found a parser that I could use -- one that would render a parse using
either traditional grammar terminology or something that an
American-educated general linguist would understand (that is, not
particularly theory-driven, as in HPSG, LFG, or dependency grammar,
etc.) I have a student assistant who is willing (phew!) to parse them
'by hand', but obviously a machine parse would be more efficient.

(2) I've done some (not adequate at this point) reading in syntax &
discourse, but not enough to get clear on how to unproblematically
recognize given/old information in a text. If someone could guide me to
a reading that would help me with this, or give me guidelines, I would
be most grateful. It seems very often to be either a judgment call, or
circular (if marked definite, it's given; therefore if it's given, it
will be marked definite ... ) Also, can given and new information be
mixed within a constituent such as a prepositional phrase or a noun phrase?

Pardon me if these are ignorant questions. Just trying to fill out my
bottom-up Cognitive Grammar training ;-) .

Jo Rubba
Johanna Rubba   Assistant Professor, Linguistics
English Department, California Polytechnic State University
One Grand Avenue  • San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
Tel. (805)-756-2184  •  Fax: (805)-756-6374 • Dept. Phone.  756-259
• E-mail: jrubba at calpoly.edu •  Home page: http://www.calpoly.edu/~jrubba
"Understanding is a lot like sex; it's got a practical purpose,
but that's not why people do it normally"  -            Frank  Oppenheimer

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