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Summary Details


Query:   Sum: Focus condition on Heavy Shift
Author:  Carsten Breul
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Semantics
Syntax

Summary:   DEAR ALL

IN LINGUIST 9.1618, I POSTED THE FOLLOWING QUERY:

THERE SEEMS TO BE A FOCUS CONDITION FOR HEAVY SHIFT CONSTRUCTIONS SUCH THAT THE SHIFTED CONSTITUENT HAS TO BE THE FOCUS EXPRESSION (OR CONTAINS THE FOCUS EXPRESSION) TO
BE ACCEPTABLE/GRAMMATICAL.

MY QUESTION IS WHETHER MARKED SENTENCE ACCENTUATION MAY OVERRIDE THIS REQUIREMENT. THAT IS, IS IT POSSIBLE TO SAY E.G.

(1) KELLY BOUGHT FOR SAM A BRAND NEW COMPUTER.
OR
(2) KELLY BOUGHT FOR SAM A BRAND NEW COMPUTER.?

HERE, HEAVY (CONTRASTIVE) STRESS IS PUT ON 'SAM'/'KELLY' IN ORDER TO PROSODICALLY MARK THEM AS THE FOCUS EXPRESSIONS WITH THE OBJECT SHIFTED AT THE SAME TIME.

I HAVE RECEIVED 6 REPLIES (ALL BY NATIVE SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH, AS FAR AS I CAN TELL). ONCE AGAIN A BIG THANK YOU TO THEM ALL.

IT SEEMS THAT FOR ONE OR TWO OF THE INFORMANTS MY QUESTION DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. THIS IS EITHER BECAUSE THEY DO NOT ACCEPT THE CONSTRUCTION 'BUY SOMETHING FOR SOMEBODY' (IINSTEAD OF 'BUY SOMEBODY SOMETHING') IN THE FIRST PLACE, OR BECAUSE I HAVE NOT MADE CLEAR ENOUGH WHAT I AM GETTING AT IN THE FORMULATION OF THE QUERY. (BY THE WAY, I TOOK THE SENTENCES FROM AN ARTICLE BY MICHAEL SHAUN ROCHEMONT (''PHONOLOGICAL FOCUS AND STRUCTURAL FOCUS'', IN. CULICOVER, PETER W. & MCNALLY, LOUISE (EDS.) 1998. _SYNTAX AND SEMANTICS_. VOL. 29. _THE LIMITS OF SYNTAX_. SAN DIEGO ET AL.: ACADEMIC PRESS. 337-363. THE ONLY THING I CHANGED IS
CAPITALISATION TO INDICATE HEAVY STRESS ON THE NAMES. TO MY KNOWLEDGE, ROCHEMONT IS A NATIVE SPEAKER OF ENGLISH.)

FOR 3 OF THE REMAINING 4 INFORMANTS, SENTENCE (1) IS O.K. IF HIGHLY MARKED AND IN NEED OF A PROPER COMMUNICATIVE SITUATION. ONE OF THESE 3 MADE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN (1) AND (2), I.E. ACCEPTED (1) BUT COULD NOT THINK OF A SITUATION WHERE (2) WOULD BE APPROPRIATE.

DR. CARSTEN BREUL
ENGLISCHES SEMINAR
UNIVERSITAET BONN
REGINA-PACIS-WEG 5
53113 BONN
GERMANY
E-MAIL: C.BREUL@UNI-BONN.DE

LL Issue: 8.675
Date Posted: 07-May-1997
Original Query: Read original query