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Title:OT-interactions between Focus and Canonical Word Order: Deriving the Crosslinguistic Typology of Structural Contrastive Focus
Authors:Vieri Samek-Lodovici
Abstract:OT-interactions between Focus and Canonical Word Order:

Deriving the Crosslinguistic Typology of Structural Contrastive Focus

Vieri Samek-Lodovici

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'.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1