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Book Chapter

Switch-reference antecedence and subordination in Whitesands (Oceanic)


Hammond,  Jeremy
Syntax, Typology, and Information Structure, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society, Nijmegen, NL;

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Hammond, J. (2014). Switch-reference antecedence and subordination in Whitesands (Oceanic). In R. van Gijn, J. Hammond, D. Matić, S. van Putten, & A. V. Galucio (Eds.), Information structure and reference tracking in complex sentences. (pp. 263-290). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Cite as:
Whitesands is an Oceanic language of the southern Vanuatu subgroup. Like the related languages of southern Vanuatu, Whitesands has developed a clause-linkage system which monitors referent continuity on new clauses – typically contrasting with the previous clause. In this chapter I address how the construction interacts with topic continuity in discourse. I outline the morphosyntactic form of this anaphoric co-reference device. From a functionalist perspective, I show how the system is used in natural discourse and discuss its restrictions with respect to relative and complement clauses. I conclude with a discussion on its interactions with theoretical notions of information structure – in particular the nature of presupposed versus asserted clauses, information back- and foregrounding and how these affect the use of the switch-reference system