The Fifth Element: A Remark on the FSP Factors


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It has become canonical when listing the factors signalling Functional Sentence Perspective (FSP) to name four of them: linear modification, semantic structure, context and (emphatic, contrasting, and focusing) intonation. The paper argues for the inclusion of one more candidates for the status of a potential FSP indicator - typography or punctuation - to cover cases where FSP-relevant intonation is marked by typographic devices, such as italics, boldface, small capitals, etc., in written text. Acknowledgement of punctuation marking FSP-relevant prosody in writing, however marginal and discretionary, as a potential contributory factor - the ‘fifth element’ - in decoding FSP would be methodologically sound and consistent. It would also be a useful antidote to the widespread practice of using self-supplied intonation in the FSP analysis of written communication, which, strictly speaking, somewhat presumptuously amounts to confusing two different modes of language and oversteps the boundary between the writer and the reader of the text.


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