Testing predictions of the Givenness Hierarchy framework: A crosslinguistic investigation

Jeanette K. Gundel, Mamadou Bassene, Bryan Gordon, Linda Humnick, Amel Khalfaoui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This paper reports on a study that tests predictions of the Givenness Hierarchy theory by extending it to four languages not yet studied in this respect - Eegimaa, Kumyk, Ojibwe, and Tunisian Arabic. Three hypotheses are tested: I. If a language encodes the distinction between two adjacent statuses on the hierarchy, it will also encode distinctions between higher statuses; II. All languages encode distinctions between the two highest statuses, 'in focus' and 'activated'; III. Languages will not have forms that encode the set difference between two statuses. Results of the study provide support for all three hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1770-1785
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
* Corresponding author at: Linguistics, 204 Nolte Center, 315 Pillsbury Dr., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA. Tel.: +1 612 624 7564. E-mail address: gunde003@umn.edu (J.K. Gundel). 1 This research was supported by grants awarded to Jeanette Gundel by the US National Science Foundation (BCS 0519890) and the University of Minnesota Graduate School. We also gratefully acknowledge support from the University of Minnesota Center for Cognitive Sciences.


  • Cognitive status
  • Demonstratives
  • Givenness Hierarchy
  • Implicature
  • Reference


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