AbstractThis paper discusses the relation between focus marking and focus interpretation in Akan (Kwa), Ga (Kwa), and Ngamo (West Chadic). In all three languages, there is a special morphosyntactically marked focus/background construction, as well as morphosyntactically unmarked focus. We present data stemming from original fieldwork investigating whether marked focus/background constructions in these three languages also have additional interpretative effects apart from standard focus interpretation. Crosslinguistically, different additional inferences have been found for marked focus constructions, e.g. contrast (e.g. Vallduví, Enric & Maria Vilkuna. 1997. On rheme and kontrast. In Peter Culicover & Louise McNally (eds.), The limits of syntax (Syntax and semantics 29), 79–108. New York: Academic Press; Hartmann, Katharina & Malte Zimmermann. 2007b. In place – Out of place: Focus in Hausa. In Kerstin Schwabe & Susanne Winkler (eds.), On information structure, meaning and form, 365–403. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.; Destruel, Emilie & Leah Velleman. 2014. Refining contrast: Empirical evidence from the English it-cleft. In Christopher Piñón (ed.), Empirical issues in syntax and semantics 10, 197–214. Paris: Colloque de syntaxe et sémantique à Paris (CSSP). http://www.cssp.cnrs.fr/eiss10/), exhaustivity (e.g. É. Kiss, Katalin. 1998. Identificational focus versus information focus. Language 74(2). 245–273.; Hartmann, Katharina & Malte Zimmermann. 2007a. Exhaustivity marking in Hausa: A re-evaluation of the particle nee/cee. In Enoch O. Aboh, Katharina Hartmann & Malte Zimmermann (eds.), Focus strategies in African languages: The interaction of focus and grammar in Niger-Congo and Afro-Asiatic (Trends in Linguistics 191), 241–263. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.), and existence (e.g. Rooth, Mats. 1999. Association with focus or association with presupposition? In Peter Bosch & Rob van der Sandt (eds.), Focus: Linguistic, cognitive, and computational perspectives, 232–244. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.; von Fintel, Kai & Lisa Matthewson. 2008. Universals in semantics. The Linguistic Review 25(1–2). 139–201). This paper investigates these three inferences. In Akan and Ga, the marked focus constructions are found to be contrastive, while in Ngamo, no effect of contrast was found. We also show that marked focus constructions in Ga and Akan trigger exhaustivity and existence presuppositions, while the marked construction in Ngamo merely gives rise to an exhaustive conversational implicature and does not trigger an existence presupposition. Instead, the marked construction in Ngamo merely indicates salience of the backgrounded part via a morphological background marker related to the definite determiner (Schuh, Russell G. 2005. Yobe state, Nigeria as a linguistic area. Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society 31(2). 77–94; Güldemann, Tom. 2016. Maximal backgrounding=focus without (necessary) focus encoding. Studies in Language 40(3). 551–590). The paper thus contributes to the understanding of the semantics of marked focus constructions across languages and points to the crosslinguistic variation in expressing and interpreting marked focus/background constructions.
Linguistics – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 26, 2019
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera