Givenness, focus, and prosody
Author(s)Bader, Christopher (Christopher Banks), 1954-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy.
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In this dissertation, I investigate the grammatical effects of focus and the inseparable phenomenon of givenness. As Schwarzschild (1999) has proposed, a proper understanding of givenness eliminates the need for a separate concept of focus, which is notoriously hard to define, either semantically, syntactically, or phonologically. I propose a semantic constraint, the Givenness Interpretation Principle based on Rooth's (1992) Focus Interpretation Principle, that accounts, in part, for the semantic effects of givenness and focus. I also propose a phonological constraint, *GIVEN, that accounts for the prosodic effects of givenness and focus in Chichewa, Japanese, Hungarian, and Italian. Givenness and focus are represented in the syntax by a functional head G which takes a given constituent in its complement and a focussed constituent in its specifier. This is demonstrably the correct representation in Hungarian, and I propose that this is the representation of givenness and focus in Universal Grammar. A phrase may raise out of the complement of G to its specifier, either overtly as in Hungarian, or covertly at LF.(cont.) Givenness has demonstrable phonological effects that, as I show, cannot be ascribed to a FOcus constraint (Truckenbrodt 1995) requiring focussed constituents to be the most prominent in their domains of focus. The constraint *GIVEN bars given constituents from being metrically prominent. Since the effects of FOcus and *GIVEN are sometimes difficult to tease apart, I present an in-depth study of the phrasal phonology of Italian, showing how phonological and intonational phrases are formed in Italian, with the aid of the segmental phenomena of raddoppiamento sintattico and gorgia toscana. Once the constraints governing these phenomena are established, I present a rigorous, controlled comparison of the effects of *GIVEN and FOcus in Italian, showing that it is *GIVEN, not FOCUS, that gives the correct results.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy, 2001.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 167-171).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Linguistics and Philosophy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Linguistics and Philosophy.