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given–new distinction

in a sentence or other linguistic structure, the distinction made between information that is probably new to the recipient and that which is probably already known (or can be regarded as given by the context). A speaker’s or writer’s assumptions about which information falls into which category will usually affect word order, stress, and other observable features of language. The distinction is important in pragmatics and discourse analysis. See foregrounding.

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Psychology term of the day

May 26th 2024