Information flow

In discourse -based grammatical theory, information flow is any tracking of referential information by speakers. Information may be new, just in the conversation; Given, already active in the speakers’ consciousness; Or old, no longer active. [1] 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 by the physical distance citation needed ] .
  • overtness of information Such as whether an argument of a verb is Indicated by a lexical noun sentence , a pronoun , or not at all MENTIONED.
  • Clefting: Splitting a single clause into two clauses, each with its own verb, eg ‘The chicken turtles tasted like chicken.’ Becomes’ It was the chicken turtle | That tasted like chicken. ‘ In this case, clefting is used to shift the focus of the sentence to the subject, chicken turtle.
  • Front Focus: Placing at the start (front) of a sentence. For example, in pop culture, Grand Master of the Jedi Order Yoda’s speech Often used Such syntactic construction, Such As When He says ‘much to learn you still have’ to Luke Skywalker .
  • End Focus (End Weight): Given or familiar information. This gives prominence to the final part of the sentences and can enable suspense to build, eg ‘Through the door came a gigantic wolf’.


  1. Jump up^Chafe, Wallace (1976). “Givenness, contrastiveness, definiteness, subjects, topics, and point of view”. In Li, Charles. Subject and topic . Academic Press. pp. 25-55.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *