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On Discourse Structure in Italian and Danish

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Paper presented at CID 4 2011 Constraints of Discource, Agay, France ; This paper examines some typological differences in the discourse structure of Italian and Danish. The results of the study indicate that there are significant differences in information packing in the two languages, especially in their use of deverbalisation. Italian sentences tend to include a larger number of Elementary Discourse Units (EDUs), especially propositions, than Danish. A higher percentage of these is rhetorically backgrounded by means of non-finite and nominalised predicates. Danish text structure, on the other hand, is more informationally linear and characteristic of a higher number of finite verbs and topic shifts. The study also suggests that a more fine-grained classification of non-finite and nominalised EDUs is needed for a complete in-depth analysis of discourse constraints in different language families.

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Morten Gylling, Iørn Korzen

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