Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Linguistics

An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences

Editor-in-Chief: Gast, Volker


IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 1.066

CiteScore 2018: 0.97

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.384
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 1.409

Online
ISSN
1613-396X
See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 49, Issue 5

Issues

The grammatical expression of focus in West Chadic: Variation and uniformity in and across languages

Malte Zimmermann
Published Online: 2011-09-05 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.2011.032

Abstract

The article provides an overview of the grammatical realization of focus in four West Chadic languages (Chadic, Afro-Asiatic). The languages discussed exhibit an intriguing crosslinguistic variation in the realization of focus, both among themselves as well as compared to European intonation languages. They also display language-internal variation in the formal realization of focus. The West Chadic languages differ widely in their ways of expressing focus, which range from syntactic over prosodic to morphological devices. In contrast to European intonation languages, the focus marking systems of the West Chadic languages are inconsistent in that focus is often not grammatically expressed, but these inconsistencies are shown to be systematic. Subject foci (contrastive or not) and contrastive nonsubject foci are always grammatically marked, whereas information focus on nonsubjects need not be marked as such. The absence of formal focus marking supports pragmatic theories of focus in terms of contextual resolution. The special status of focused subjects and contrastive foci is derived from the Contrastive Focus Hypothesis, which requires unexpected foci and unexpected focus contents to be marked as such, together with the assumption that canonical subjects in West Chadic receive a default interpretation as topics. Finally, I discuss certain focus ambiguities which are not attested in intonation languages, nor do they follow on standard accounts of focus marking, but which can be accounted for in terms of constraint interaction in the formal expression of focus.

About the article

Correspondence address: Institut für Linguistik, Universität Potsdam, D-14476 Potsdam, Germany.


Received: 2010-03-01

Revised: 2010-10-01

Published Online: 2011-09-05

Published in Print: 2011-09-01


Citation Information: Linguistics, Volume 49, Issue 5, Pages 1163–1213, ISSN (Online) 1613-396X, ISSN (Print) 0024-3949, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.2011.032.

Export Citation

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

[1]
Emilie Destruel, David I. Beaver, and Elizabeth Coppock
Frontiers in Psychology, 2019, Volume 10
[2]
EMILIE DESTRUEL
Journal of French Language Studies, 2016, Volume 26, Number 3, Page 299
[3]
Tania Leal, Emilie Destruel, and Bradley Hoot
Second Language Research, 2018, Page 026765831878434
[4]
Tom Güldemann
Studies in Language, 2016, Volume 40, Number 3, Page 551
[5]
Tom Güldemann, Sabine Zerbian, and Malte Zimmermann
Annual Review of Linguistics, 2015, Volume 1, Number 1, Page 155

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in