PhD course Expressions of information structure in a cross-linguistic perspective

This course aims to give an overview of how information structure affects linguistic structure cross-linguistically.

In this course, three of the most common expressions of information structure (word order alternations, morphology, and prosody) will be dealt with in turn by scholars who have worked extensively on information structure, but with different languages, and within different theoretical frameworks. The instructors will explain relevant and foundational theoretical concepts, grounded by empirical data, and give an overview of some of the most common patterns cross-linguistically. The course will also contain a case study of information structure in a specific language, in order to illustrate how the theoretical concepts can be applied to actual linguistic data, as well as showing how the three subfields (syntax, morphology, prosody) may interact in their mapping with information structure.

The course will be beneficial to any PhD student dealing with aspects of information structure, whether it is within phonology, morphology, or syntax, and irrespective of language. After this course, the students will be better equipped to identify the linguistic effects of information structure in the languages they are working on, and to discuss foundational notions within information structure in a consistent and fruitful way.

The course is organised as a two-day workshop on Zoom, consisting of in total four lectures/sessions. The three first sessions will be more general and theoretical, whereas the last session will be a case study:

  1. Information structure and word order. The key topic is how information structure affects word order, with a focus on the syntax of copular constructions. This session will be led by Dr. Jutta M. Hartmann.
  2. Information structure and morphosyntax. The key topic is how information structure is expressed through the use of different morphology, e.g. valency-related or voice morphology. This session will be led by Dr. Anja Latrouite
  3. Information structure and prosody. The key topic is how information structure is expressed through prosody. Data from typologically diverse languages will be considered, along with key issues relating to theory and analysis. This session will be led by Dr. Louise Mycock
  4. Case study: information structure in Tagalog. The key topic is how information structure is expressed in Tagalog across syntax, morphology, and/or prosody. This session will be led by Dr. Anja Latrouite

The course will be held in English and all materials should be submitted in English.


  1. Professor Dr. Jutta M. Hartmann, Bielefeld University
  2. Dr. Anja Latrouite, Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf
  3. Dr. Louise Mycock, University of Oxford


(All times are Central European Summer Time, GMT+2)


Tue May 11


Wed May 12


Welcome (Jozina Vander Klok)


Lecture: information structure and prosody (Dr. Louise Mycock)


Lecture: information structure and word order (Dr. Jutta M. Hartmann)






Lecture cont.


Lecture cont.






Discussion (information structure and prosody)


Discussion (information structure and word order)


Lunch break


Lunch break


Lecture: Case study: information structure in Tagalog (Dr. Anja Latrouite)


Lecture: Information structure and morphosyntax (Dr. Anja Latrouite)






Lecture cont.


Lecture cont.






Discussion (information structure in Tagalog)


Discussion (Information structure and morphosyntax)


Course evaluation (Jozina Vander Klok)

Reading list:

Information structure and word order (Prof. Dr. Jutta Hartmann)

  • Hartmann, J. M. 2019. Focus and prosody in nominal copular clauses. In S. Featherston, R. Hörnig, S. von Wietersheim & S. Winkler (eds.), Experiments in Focus: Information Structure and Semantic Processing, 71–103. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
  • Krifka, M. 2008. Basic notions of information structure. Acta Linguistica Hungarica 55(3-4). 243–276.
  • Neeleman, A. & J. van de Koot. 2016. Word Order and Information Structure. In C. Féry & S.  Ishihara (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Information Structure. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Information structure and morphosyntax  (Dr. Anja Latrouite)

  • Féry, C. & M. Krifka. 2009. Information Structure. In P. van Sterkenburg, Unity and Diversity of Language, 123–133. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Latrouite, A. & R. Van Valin. 2021. Information Structure & Argument Linking in RRG. Unpublished manuscript.
  • Leino, J. 2013. Information Structure. In T. Graeme & T. Hoffmann. The Oxford Handbook of Construction Grammar. 329–344. New York: Oxford UP

Information structure and prosody (Dr. Louise Mycock)

  • Ladd, D. R. 2008. Intonational Phonology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Chapters 6 and 7]
  • Lambrecht, K. 1994. Information Structure and Sentence Form: Topic, focus and the mental representations of discourse referents. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Chapter 5]

Information Structure in Tagalog: A case study (Dr. Anja Latrouite)

  • Latrouite, A. In press. Clefts and IS in Tagalog.
  • Latrouite, A. & A. Riester. 2018. The role of information structure for morphosyntactic choices in Tagalog, in S. Riesberg et al., Perspectives on Information Structure in Austronesian Languages. Language Science Press.
  • Nagaya, Naonori. 2019. The thetic-categorical distinction in Tagalog revisited. Gengo Kenkyu 156. 47–66.

Optional background reading

  • Halliday, M. A.K. 1967. Notes on transitivity. Journal of Linguistics, JL 3: 177–274.
  • Hayes, B. (2009). Introductory Phonology. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. [Chapter 12].
  • Ladefoged, P. 2009. Phonetic Data Analysis: an introduction to fieldwork and instrumental techniques. Oxford: Blackwell.


Tags: Information structure, Word order, Morphosyntax, Prosody
Published Apr. 19, 2021 10:58 AM - Last modified Apr. 19, 2021 10:58 AM