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This article takes stock of the basic notions of Information Structure (IS). It first provides a general characterization of IS—following Chafe (1976)—within a communicative model of Common Ground (CG), which distinguishes between CG content and CG management. IS is concerned with those features of language that affect the local CG. Second, this paper defines and discusses the notions of Focus (as indicating alternatives) and its various uses, Givenness (as indicating that a denotation is already present in the CG), and Topic (as specifying what a statement is about). It also proposes a new notion, Delimitation, which comprises contrastive topics and frame setters, and indicates that the current conversational move does not entirely satisfy the local communicative needs. It also points out that rhetorical structuring partly belongs to IS.

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Acta Linguistica Hungarica
Caroline Féry
Gisbert Fanselow
, and
Manfred Krifka
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