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Abstract Sonnenhauser

The objective of the project is to provide an outline for an index grammar of functional performance structures, which allows for a typology of supposedly different performance phenomena such as parentheticals (cf. Umson 1952), vocatives (cf. Anstatt 2008), delocu-tives (cf. Hinrichs 1989), and the like. The theoretical framework is based on a dynamic sign conception, which considers habits, rules and behavioural patterns as temporary, passing stabilizations of usage. It is thus possible to model these phenomena as processes of entrenchment and conventionalization, as opposed to the rather simplistic conception of randomly occurring performance phenomena. Functional performance structures indicate that the concept of entrenchment, which is generally understood conjunctionally, must be extended to include an indexical dimension.

Performance structures, in the conventional psycholinguistic sense (cf. Gee & Grosjean 1983), refer to the temporal organisation of sentences (i.e., in simplified terms, pauses). In this project the concept of performance structures will be expanded to include a functional – indexical – component, which allows for the above mentioned phenomena to be comprised within the framework of an index grammar.

If performance structures are characterised in this way, they are the result of language use; they are, however, not related to one of the poles of the dichotomy system vs. use – neither on the basis of structural features nor on the basis of particular syntactically determined usage patterns. What is more, they are not definable by means of an inherent, classificatorical feature, and thus represent a very heterogeneous class. The elements of their subclasses display high variability, which is, however, neither unrestricted nor arbi-trary so that ‘structures’ with a corresponding function can in fact be posited. Example (1) exhibits differences in scope, and example (2) differing degrees of epistemicity, depending on the position of the performance structure:

(1)    a. Theo – wie Paul sagt – hat den Rohrbruch im Handumdrehen repariert.

        Theo – as Paul says – has the burst pipe in the twinkling of an eye fixed.

        ‘Theo – as Paul says – has fixed the burst pipe in the twinkling of an eye’.


        b. Theo hat den Rohrbruch im Handumdrehen – wie Paul sagt – repariert.

        Theo has the burst pipe in the twinkling of an eye – as Paul says – fixed.

        ‘Theo has fixed the burst pipe in the twinkling of an eye – as Paul says.’

                                                                           [Fortmann 2005, modified]

(2)   a. Er, denke ich, hat X am Y auf die Art und Weise Z.

        He, think I, has X on Y in manner Z.

        ‘He, I think, has X on Y in manner Z.’

        b. Er hat X am Y, denke ich, auf die Art und Weise Z.

        He has X on Y, think I, in manner Z.

        ‘He has X on Y, I think, in manner Z.’

The particular communicative function of these functional performance structures is based on their indexical components, which can be abduced (cf. Wirth 2000) from a ‘deviation’ from what would be expected from a system-based linguistic approach. In connection with performance structures, ‘Index’ is a relational concept referring to the establishment of a relationship among varied texts and text levels, including all components of a performance structure: the source (i.e. the "material", the actual text), the signal (i.e. the phonological, syntactic, etc. deviation from the expected, the cue which initiates abduction), the target domain (i.e. the dimension pointed at by the index). Within the framework of an index grammar, the variety of functional per-formance structures will be systematised by identifying and classifying regularities in form, position and function of the referent and its components, which can stabilize as preferences in the course of individual entrenchment and collective conventionalization. It can be expected that conventionalization shows various forms of expressions:

• reduction to ‘integrated’ elements, i.e. the loss of performance-induced structural signalling of the pattern

• reduction of the variability of the internal components of the performance structure with retention of indexicality

• increasing integration into the syntactic structure through a loss of freedom of posi-tioning while retaining indexicality

In order to test these assumptions, the following methods will be applied to render an exhaustive typology of performance structures:

• corpus linguistic determination of frequent performance structures (partly automatic analysis, e.g. using the Münchner Automatische Segmentationssystem MAUS)

• speaker judgments regarding the recognition and function of performance structures

• testing of signals, positions, components of performance structures

• philological analysis of performance structures (e.g. formulas in oral poetry for the integration of diachronic perspectives) considering the characteristic features of cer-tain text types

• typological perspectivization of performance structures

• a study involving 20 speakers of Russian as a basis for comparative linguistic inves-tigations of performance structures (dialogue data)



Anstatt, T. (2008), „Der slavische Vokativ im europäischen Kontext“, in: L. Geist & G. Mehlhorn, eds., Linguistische Beiträge zur Slavistik. XIV JungslavistInnen-Treffen in Stuttgart, 15.-18. September 2005, München: Sagner, 9-26.

Fortmann, C. (2005), “On parentheticals (in German)”, in: M. Butt & T. King, eds., Proceedings of the LFG05 conference, Stanford.  (15.12.2008).

Gee, J. P. & F. Grosjean (1983), “Performance structures: a psycholinguistic and linguistic appraisal“, Cognitive Psychology 15, 411-458.

Hinrichs, U. (1989), „Die delokutiven Partikeln des Russischen“, in: H. Weydt, ed., Sprechen in Partikeln, Berlin – New York: de Gruyter, 85-95.

Urmson, J. O. (1952), “Parenthetical verbs“, Mind, New Series 61(244), 480-496.

Wirth, U. (2000), „Zwischen Zeichen und Hypothese: für eine abduktive Wende in der Sprachphilosophie“, in: U. Wirth, ed., Die Welt als Zeichen und Hypothese, Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 133-157.