Subject focus in West African languages

Fiedler, Ines, Hartmann, Katharina, Reineke, Brigitte, Schwarz, Anne, and Zimmermann, Malte (2010) Subject focus in West African languages. In: Zimmermann, Malte, and Féry, Caroline, (eds.) Information Structure: theoretical, typological, and experimental perspectives. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, pp. 234-257.

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In chapter 10 'Subject Focus in West African Languages', Ines Fiedler, Katharina Hartmann, Brigitte Reineke, Anne Schwarz, and Malte Zimmermann investigate the peculiarities of subject focus marking in three West African language groups. After a discussion of various strategies of focus realization, it is shown that most languages in the sample exhibit a subject/non-subject asymmetry with respect to focus marking: While focus on non-subjects can often go unmarked, subject focus must always be marked. The grammatical ways of subject focus marking vary widely across the languages under discussion. Strategies used include syntactic, morphological and prosodic focus marking, as well as the reorganization of the entire clause into a thetic statement. It is argued that the special status of focused subjects follows from the fact that the default interpretation of subjects is a topic interpretation. In order to avoid this default reading, a focused subject must be marked as such.

Item ID: 15734
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-19-957095-9
Keywords: thetic/categorical statement; morphosyntax; typology; information structure; Gur languages; Kwa languages
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Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2011 23:58
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200408 Linguistic Structures (incl Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 100%
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