Discourse Structure and Sentential Information Structure An Initial Proposal

Abstract

In this article we argue that discourse structure constrains the set of possible constituents in a discourse that can provide the relevant context for structuring information in a target sentence, while information structure critically constrains discourse structure ambiguity.
For the speaker, the discourse structure provides a set of possible contexts for continuation while information structure assignment is independent of discourse structure. For the hearer, the information structure of a sentence together with discourse structure instructs dynamic semantics how rhematic information should be used to update the meaning representation of the discourse (Polanyi and van den Berg, 1996).