7. Nov 2023
Kriszta Eszter Szendrői
Universität Wien, Institut für Sprachwissenschaft
Variability in syntactic focus marking: a flexible approach
Abstract: This topic is concerned with focus movement in languages where a focal constituent can be displaced to what looks like a designated focus position. I will start by raising some empirical and theoretical issues facing the main-stream idea that the grammar would encode a syntactic Focus feature and a corresponding designated functional position for focal elements to derive these cases. I will then present an alternative proposal based on joint work with Fatima Hamlaoui that puts a flexible syntax-prosody mapping of clauses into a central position. I will show that this approach makes certain predictions regarding the interactions between syntactic position of moved foci, the presence or absence of verb movement and the directionality of prosodic prominence assignment. I will also show that the emerging typological space is supported by the empirical facts from different languages. I will finish by drawing some conclusions and pointing out some relevant unresolved issues.