LINGUIST List 15.3604
Thu Dec 30 2004
Diss: Syntax: Georgiafentis: 'Focus and Word Order...'
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Focus and Word Order Variation in Greek
Message 1: Focus and Word Order Variation in Greek
From: Michalis Georgiafentis <m.georgiafentisreading.ac.uk>
Subject: Focus and Word Order Variation in Greek
Institution: University of Reading
Program: School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Linguistic Science
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2004
Author: Michalis Georgiafentis
Dissertation Title: Focus and Word Order Variation in Greek
Linguistic Field(s): Syntax
Subject Language(s): Greek (GRK)
This thesis explores in what ways syntax and/or phonology are involved in the
realisation of focus and the effect this phenomenon has on word order variation
On the basis of prosodic, syntactic, pragmatic/discourse, and interpretative
criteria, it is argued that in Greek there are two distinct types of focus, namely
information and contrastive focus, each of which is licensed in a different way.
Information focus is realised via the interplay of the Nuclear Stress Rule (NSR)
and the Focus Prominence Rule (FPR), with a local operation, namely p-
movement, applying to ensure that the focused constituent is in the appropriate
position to receive main prominence. On the other hand, contrastive focus
involves elimination of the [Foc] feature of Foc via long distance Agree with the
focused phrase, movement of the focused constituent to [Spec, FocP] to satisfy
the EPP feature of Foc, and subsequent application of the Emphatic/Contrastive
Stress Rule (ESR/CSR). In essence, this means that information focus is
prosodically manifested, while contrastive focus is primarily syntactic in nature.
With respect to the positions focused items occupy, it is maintained that both
informationally and contrastively focused elements can appear in a 'low' or 'high'
Both types of focus affect word order variation, since focusing needs trigger
movement, namely p-movement in the case of information focus, and movement
to [Spec, FocP] in the case of contrastive focus. Thus, the two focusing
mechanisms described above account for the derivation of all attested word
order patterns (including the 'typical positioning' of manner adverbs in the VOS
order) and -at the same time' exclude the generation of non-attested ones.
Within this account, it is also shown that focus 'unlike p-movement' has an effect
on binding relations, and that T to Foc movement is not operative in Greek.
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