情報構造に関する基本的事項の1つに，「旧情報」 (given information) と「新情報」 (new information) の対立があります．談話は原則として，話し手と聞き手にとって既知の旧情報の提示に始まり，その上に未知の新情報を加えることで，段階的に共有知識が蓄積されていきます．つまり，旧情報→新情報と進み，次にこの蓄積全体が旧情報となって，その上に新情報が積み上げられ，さらにこれまでの蓄積全体が旧情報となって次の新情報が加えられる，等々ということです．
Cruse の用語辞典より "given vs new information" (74--75) の項目を引用します．
given vs new information These notions are concerned with what is called the 'information structure' of utterances. In virtually all utterances, some items are assumed by the speaker to be already present in the consciousness of the hearer, mostly as a result of previous discourse, and these constitute a platform for the presentation of new information. As the discourse proceeds, the new information of one utterance can become the given information for subsequent utterances, and so on. The distinction between given and new information can be marked linguistically in various ways. The indefinite article typically marks new information, and the definite article, given information: A man and a woman entered the room. The man was smoking a pipe. A pronoun used anaphorically indicates given information: A man entered the room. He looked around for a vacant seat. The stress pattern of an utterance can indicate new and given information (in the following example capitals indicate stress):
PETE washed the dishes. (in answer to Who washed the dishes?)
Pete washed the DISHES. (in answer to What did Pete do?)
Givenness is a matter of degree. Sometimes the degree of givenness is so great that the given item(s) can be omitted altogether (ellipsis):
A: What did you get for Christmas?
B: A computer. (The full form would be I got a computer for Christmas.)
・ Cruse, Alan. A Glossary of Semantics and Pragmatics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2006.
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