Information Flow

In discourse-based grammatical theory, information flow is any tracking of referential information by speakers. Information may be new, just introduced into the conversation; given, already active in the speakers' consciousness; or old, no longer active. The various types of activation, and how these are defined, are model-dependent.

Information flow affects grammatical structures such as

  • word order (topic, focus, and afterthought constructions).
  • active, passive, or middle voice.
  • choice of deixis, such as articles; "medial" deictics such as Spanish ese and Japanese sore are generally determined by the familiarity of a referent rather than by physical distance.
  • overtness of information, such as whether an argument of a verb is indicated by a lexical noun phrase, a pronoun, or not mentioned at all.

Famous quotes containing the words information and/or flow:

    On the breasts of a barmaid in Sale
    Were tattooed the prices of ale;
    And on her behind
    For the sake of the blind
    Was the same information in Braille.

    Along the iron veins that traverse the frame of our country, beat and flow the fiery pulses of its exertion, hotter and faster every hour. All vitality is concentrated through those throbbing arteries into the central cities; the country is passed over like a green sea by narrow bridges, and we are thrown back in continually closer crowds on the city gates.
    John Ruskin (1819–1900)