|Title:||OT-interactions between Focus and Canonical Word Order: Deriving the Crosslinguistic Typology of Structural Contrastive Focus|
|Abstract:||OT-interactions between Focus and Canonical Word Order:
Deriving the Crosslinguistic Typology of Structural Contrastive Focus
Konstanz University (Germany)
A crosslinguistic survey of structural contrastive focus within VP which
also takes into account a language canonical word order reveals the variety
of patterns listed in (1) below, including languages uniformly realizing
focused constituents at the left- and respectively right-edge of VP,
languages with mixed patterns where leftward and rightward focus cooccur
in complementary distribution, languages lacking structural focus altogether,
and languages where structural focus is only partial, affecting objects and
indirect objects but not subjects.
(1) SVO: VSO:
Leftward: Western Bade Podoko
Rightward: Italian Spanish (VSO varieties)
Left&Right (left default): Kanakuru -
Right&Left (right default): - -
No structural focus: French Scottish Gaelic
Partial focus: English (optionally) -
This work presents a principled account of the above typology where all
language specific properties Qsuch as presence vs. absence of structural
focus, its uniform vs. non-uniform nature, and whether it may or may not
affect subjectsQ are never directly encoded within the analysis, but rather
follow from the interaction between two constraints requiring VP-alignment
of focused constituents and three independently motivated constraints
affecting a language canonical word order.
In particular, each typological slot will correspond to a ranking of the
five constraints at issue. Moreover, the unattested typological slots in (1)
above (marked as '-'), as well as Tuller's (1992) generalization banning
object incorporation within VSO languages with leftward focus, will all
follow as theorems of the analysis.
The analysis will also show that word order related conditions do
constrain structural focus, defeating the intuitive but incorrect perception
that since structural focus is by definition an alteration of a language
canonical word order, no word order condition should constrain it.
* This work was financed through the NSF grant 'NSF SBR 95 11891'.