Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton September 1, 2016

Narrow presentational focus in Mexican Spanish: Experimental evidence

Bradley Hoot
From the journal Probus

Abstract

It is most often claimed that in Spanish constituents in narrow presentational or information focus appear rightmost, where they also receive main sentence stress, while shifting the stress to the focus in its canonical position is infelicitous. Some, however, claim that Spanish in fact has recourse to both strategies for making the focus prominent, and some recent quantitative work has shown support for this alternative view. The present paper contributes to this debate by experimentally testing the realization of presentational focus in Mexican Spanish using an acceptability judgment task. The results of the experiment reveal that, for these speakers, focused constituents need not be rightmost and can in fact be stressed in non-final position, contra the consensus view. These findings expand the database on focus in Spanish and indicate that theories of the prosody/syntax interface may need to be revised, especially those theories that motivate discourse-related syntactic movement based on the requirements of the prosody.

Published Online: 2016-9-1
Published in Print: 2016-9-1

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