postdoctoral project - matthias klumm


This project examines the forms and functions of left and right peripheries in the grammar of written and spoken English. The left and right periphery of discourse units can be linguistically realised by a wide range of elements (e.g. pragmatic markers, discourse connectives, parentheticals) which are said to share a number of formal properties (e.g. lack of syntactic and prosodic integration, semantic non-restrictiveness). With regard to their discourse-pragmatic functions, linguistic elements occurring at the left periphery of a discourse unit tend to have discourse-structuring and speaker-related functions (e.g. turn-taking), whereas those elements occurring at the right periphery typically fulfil interpersonal, hearer-related functions (e.g. turn-giving). Combining Systemic Functional Grammar and Functional Discourse Grammar and their syntactic concepts of theme zone and extra-clausal constituent, this project provides a comprehensive analysis of the formal and functional similarities and differences of the linguistic elements which may be realised in the left and right peripheries across different text types and modes of discourse (e.g. spoken, written, written-to-be-spoken). The overall goal is to contribute to a more comprehensive discourse grammar of English.