LINGUIST List 23.3338

Wed Aug 08 2012

Review: Morphology; Syntax: Fiedler & Schwarz (2010)

Editor for this issue: Monica Macaulay <>

Date: 08-Aug-2012
From: Mahamane Abdoulaye <>
Subject: The Expression of Information Structure
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Announced at
EDITORS: Fiedler, Ines; Schwarz, AnneTITLE: The Expression of Information StructureSUBTITLE: A documentation of its diversity across AfricaSERIES: Typological Studies in Language 91PUBLISHER: John BenjaminsYEAR: 2010

Mahamane L. Abdoulaye, Abdou Moumouni University, Niamey, Niger


This book presents a selection of papers given at the 2005 Focus on AfricanLanguages conference organized by the Collaborative Research Center forInformation Structure (University of Potsdam and Humboldt University, Berlin).The book is the third on focus in African languages edited by the researchers ofthis institution, which is at the forefront of focus studies in the world'slanguages. The editors of the volume emphasize in their introduction that thebook explores a large spectrum of information structure notions and theirexpression in a wide variety of African languages, some of which arelittle-studied. Besides the introduction, there are 13 contributions discussingabout 37 languages from all four Greenbergian African phyla. The book has atable of contents and language and subject indices.


In the first contribution, ''Information structure marking in Sandawe texts'' (pp.1-34), Helen Eaton deals with the information structure notions of focus, topic,contrast, and thematic prominence in Sandawe (presumed Khoisan, Tanzania, 40,000speakers). The author refers to the definition of focus from Lambrecht (1994).The data is drawn from texts of various genres written by literate nativespeakers. Eaton shows that in Sandawe, information structure notions areexpressed mostly through morphemes and less through word order shift. There isroughly a 3-way split in the marking of information structure depending onwhether the sentence is realis, imperative/subjunctive, or irrealis. Theclearest case of information structure marking happens in realis clauses where apronominal clitic (the nature and origin of which is not discussed) markslexical items (NPs, PPs, temporal adverbs) as focused (or rather, as containedwithin the focus domain of the sentence (p. 10). However, with function words(such as discourse adverbs or conjunctions), the pronominal clitic marks thefollowing information as thematically prominent. Finally, the pronominal cliticalso appears on conjunctions introducing narrative events, subjunctive verbs,and repetitive actions. Despite this polyfunctionality, the pronominal marker isabout the only explicit focus marker in the language. For the subject noun of arealis sentence, the author discusses a particle called subject focus, but therole of this particle is debatable since the only relevant example givenconcerns an independent pronoun, which can be interpreted as being emphasized(in an ''as for him'' construction; cf. example 26, p. 18). Similarly debatable(as the author herself recognizes, cf. p. 24) is the focus-marking role of wordorder shift in imperative and subjunctive sentences, or the focus-marking roleof tone change in irrealis sentences. Overall, it is not clear how subject focusis marked in this language.

In the second contribution, ''Topic and focus fields in Naki'' (pp. 35-67), JeffGood, based on question and answer elicitation data, claims that Naki (Bantoid,Cameroon, about 4,000 speakers), an SVO language, has postverbal focalization.The nature of information structure notions is not an issue in this contributionand the author simply assumes the topic and focus definitions given in Lambrecht(1994). Instead, the author deals with the proper structural analysis of thepostverbal position, which in Naki is targeted by focused elements (includingthe subject, although this argument has an alternative cleft-like construction,which was not discussed in the paper). The shift into postverbal position is,for some TAMs, accompanied by a tonal change on the verb, and this tonal changeis sometimes the only formal difference between a basic SVO sentence (''the lionkilled the hunter'') and a subject focus OVS sentence (''the HUNTER killed thelion''; cf. p. 47). That is, the postverbal shift of some constituent may inducethe direct object to move to preverbal position. Jeff Good proposes that Nakiinformation structure is articulated into two fields around the verb: Apreverbal topic field, with a freer word order, and a postverbal field, with amuch stricter word order (the focused item must be adjacent to the verb). Theauthor claims that the field approach is better than the cartographic approachof the generative type that assumes that focal elements get moved along the treebranches into a specific position (such as the Focus Phrase). In fact, the fieldapproach allows the author to seriously question the usefulness of thegrammatical notions of subject and direct object.

In the third contribution, ''The relation between focus and theticity in the Tuufamily'' (pp. 69-93), Tom Güldemann studies a cleft-like construction in four Tuu(Southern Khoisan) languages: N|uu, |Xam (extinct), Western |Xoon, and Eastern|Xoon. The information structure notion dealt with is simply ''focus'' as definedby Dik (1997), whose overall focus typology the author adopts (in particular thedistinction between assertive focus and contrastive focus). A second majortheoretical reference for the author is Sasse's (1987) distinction betweencategorical and thetic statements. Important for the paper also is thedistinction between entity-central and event-central thetic statements. In thefirst type, entities are predicated to exist (''my sister died'') while in thesecond type an event is presented (''[it is that] Mum is hitting me''). The authorworked with texts, naturally produced discourse, and also question and answerelicitation. The four languages are basic SVO and the cleft construction takesthe focalized constituent to the beginning of the clause and marks it with afocus particle that is related to an identification copula. What is remarkableis that in all four languages, the cleft construction has a second distinctfunction: It is also used to mark the subject of thetic sentences, whichnormally are thought to express sentence focus (cf. Lambrecht 1987, 1994).Therefore, the author rejects the notion of sentence focus and instead claimsthat entity-central thetic statements are structured like constituent focus. Inone case, the default information structure (the categorical statement) isdisrupted to mark the prominence of a constituent (the focused term). In theother case, the default information structure is also disrupted whereby thethetic predicate is downgraded and the thetic subject foregrounded. So, given acleft sentence in the Tuu languages, only the semantic role of the focusedargument and discourse context can tell whether it is an ordinary focusedconstituent or a thetic subject.

In the fourth contribution, ''Focus marking in Aghem: Syntax or semantics?'' (pp.95-116), Larry Hyman revisits the well-known case of Aghem (Western Grassfields,Cameroon). The information structure notions referred to include contrastivefocus, auxiliary focus, and inherent focus. The data, collected by elicitation,is drawn mostly from previous publications on the subject by the author and hisassociates. At first sight, Aghem seems well endowed when it comes to strategiesof marking focus. Aghem has basic SVO word order which can be interpreted asexpressing topic/comment articulation, sentence focus, verb focus, or directobject focus. In fact, the position immediately after the verb is the generalfocal position so that any constituent can be moved there to receive focus. Inthis case, the direct object, if there is one, is moved away into thedefocalizing preverbal position. Wh-words, too, obligatorily go to the positionimmediately after the verb. Aghem also has a distinct focus type, auxiliaryfocus, which can be extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic auxiliary focus stressesthe truth value of the proposition (cf. ''he DID eat fufu'') and is marked byalternate forms of the present tense, today's past and the general past.Intrinsic auxiliary focus concerns the negative and the imperative, which,although they do not mark any particular item as focused, seem to forbid thefocus of any element in the position immediately after the verb. The authorproposes that negation and the imperative are inherently focused. Aghem alsoseems to mark contrastive focus through changes in the internal syntax of NPs:Focused NPs appear with a zero (non-overt) determiner, while non-focused NPsappear with an overt determiner. In the literature on Aghem and relatedlanguages, focused and non-focused NP constructions are referred to as theA-form and the B-form, respectively. It is exactly this A-form/B-formalternation that Hyman revisits in the paper to offer a new analysis. The authorproposes that the alternation cannot be accounted for in semantic/ functionalterms and that a purely formal account is necessary. According to Hyman, theB-form (with overt determiner) appears in contexts where a covert (zero)determiner would not be properly governed. The author goes further to suggestthat in every language he has looked at, the mismatch between focus semanticsand its expression (i.e., focus semantics without marker or focus marker withoutfocus semantics) is such that grammar mediation must be postulated (p. 110).

In the fifth contribution, ''On the obligatoriness of focus marking: Evidencefrom Tar B'arma'' (pp. 117-144), Peggy Jacob, based on original data, presentsthe first description of the information structure of Tar B'arma (CentralSudanic, Southern Chad, 45,000 speakers). The information structure notionsmentioned are: Focus, topic, given, and the types of focus found in the typologyproposed by Dik (1997). She cites at least three definitions of the term''focus''. Jacob is also the only author to have tried to define what informationstructure is, which she says ''reflects the organisation of an utteranceaccording to the temporary state of knowledge of the interlocutors'' (p. 120).The data is based on elicitation using a question and answer frame. The languagehas a basic SVO word order. In this language, the subject stands out against allother constituents in that when it is focused, it has an obligatory marking thatinvolves a (vacuous) fronting and a focus particle (not related to a copula).All other constituents can be focused with or without marking depending on thepreceding question: If the wh-question has an in-situ wh-word, the answer, too,will have an unmarked in-situ focused constituent. If the wh-question has afronted wh-word, then the answer will have a fronted focused constituent. Thisleads Jacob to claim that focus marking in the language is controlled bygrammatical constraints (subject category and structure of precedingwh-question). However, for this reviewer, this claim would need to be testedwith more naturalistic data where not all focused sentences are preceded by awh-question.

In the sixth contribution, ''Focalisation and defocalisation in Isu'' (pp.145-163), Roland Kießling takes a new perspective in the analysis of the A-formand B-form of Aghem by studying the corresponding forms in the related Isulanguage (Western Ring, Cameroon). The information structure notions mentionedin the paper are: Topic, focus, background, auxiliary focus, and defocalization.The data are based on narrative texts complemented by elicited material. LikeAghem, Isu has an S-Aux-V-O-X basic word order. The position immediately afterthe verb takes focalized constituents, while the position immediately before theverb takes defocalized constituents. For example, wh-words in questions and theconstituent answering them in the corresponding answers must appear in theposition immediately after the verb. However, Isu also has other focusingstrategies for auxiliary focus, predicate (comment) focus, sentence focus andverb focus. These focus types may leave the direct object in the positionimmediately after the verb (IAV), which then must be defocused. According to theauthor, this defocalization process is achieved through the A-form/ B-formalternation of the NPs. The A-form appears in a focused IAV position where thenoun has a class prefix. The B-form appears in non-focused positions (includingthe IAV position when focus is shifted elsewhere in the clause). In the B-form,the noun is followed by an enclitic made up of the class marker and adefocalizing morpheme. Taking the A-form to be basic, the author claims that Isuin fact ends up with a mismatch of markedness relations: The pragmaticallyneutral B-form is marked (as defocalized), while the pragmatically chargedA-form is left unmarked (at least in a diachronic perspective).

In the seventh contribution, ''Discourse function of inverted passives inMakua-Marevone narratives'' (pp. 165-192), Oliver Kröger studies the informationstructure in three narrative texts in Makua-Marevone (Bantou, Mozambique). Thenotions mentioned by the author, drawn from information structure studies andtext analysis, are: Topic, focus, assertion, theticity, presupposition,prominence, identifiability, activation, etc. However, the main point of thepaper is the discourse function of the inverted passive construction. Thetheoretical frameworks are Lambrecht's (1994) model of information structure(with its two dimensions of relations (topic/ focus) and references (activationstatuses), Givón's (1984) model of prominence scale, and Dooley and Levinsohn's(2000) model of participant and prop roles in narratives. Makua-Marevone hasbasic SVO word order. In this configuration, a narrative subject, usually ananimate referent, has high prominence (it is frequent and active throughout thenarrative), a direct object has high prominence if animate but low prominence ifinanimate, while adjuncts are low prominence no matter their animacy.Makua-Marevone also has a postposed subject in a VS construction that expressesthetic statements where the subject still has a high prominence. Makua-Marevonefurther has a passive where the patient becomes subject/ topic with asemi-active status. Finally, Makua-Marevone has an inverted passiveconstruction, i.e., the combination of passive and subject postposing, which isused to promote inanimate referents (normally low prominence) to postposedsubject position, where they acquire high prominence. The author concludes thatthe inverted passive, by violating one of the principles of the narrative script(''inanimate referents are props''), alerts the listener to the unexpected role ofthe referent.

In the eighth contribution, ''Topic-focus articulation in Taqbaylit and TashelhitBerber'' (pp. 193-232), Amina Mettouchi and Axel Fleisch compare emergentdiscourse-configurationality in Taqbaylit (Berber, Algeria, 5 million speakers)and Tashelhit (Berber, Morocco). The information structure notions mentioned areemphasis and contrast and the usual concepts of topic, focus, thetic,categorical, argument focus, etc. Although the authors referred to Lambrecht andSasse, they did give their own definition of argument focus, which is ''a type ofemphasis that singles out one particular constituent and contrasts it withconceivable alternatives. The corresponding construction assigns a newinformation status to the focused constituent, combined with a notion ofcounterexpectation''. As we will see in the evaluation section, as convoluted asthis definition may appear, it represents a welcome departure from the standarddefinitions of focus. Finally, in their discussion of clause structure, theauthors borrow terms from Role and Reference Grammar (cf. Foley and Van Valin1984), though the framework is not explicitly cited. The data for Taqbaylit wasdrawn from spontaneous speech in various genres while a narrative text was usedfor Tashelhit, complemented with elicitation. Taqbaylit and Tashelhit are basicVSO languages that admit word order variations to signal information structure(though variation is more restricted in Tashelhit). Taqbaylit in fact has apronominal argument next to the verb fulfilling the syntactic role, whileeventual co-referring lexical NPs fulfill the reference role and are positioneddepending on information structure requirements. The (arguably) basic VS/VSOorder usually conveys thetic statements (subject is not topic). Predicate focus(= topic/ comment, = categorical statement) is expressed through the SV/SVO wordorder with emphasis or contrast on the topical subject. Argument focus,including subject focus, is expressed through a cleft construction with emphasisor contrast on the clefted NP. The SVO order, which involves topicalization, iswell distinct from the cleft structure, which uses a marker next to the frontedNPs and a relative clause for the rest of the proposition. Tashelhit, too,expresses thetic statements with VS/VSO order and allows contrastivetopicalization on NPs in SV/SVO order, though in a more restricted way. Forargument focus, it uses a distinct cleft construction. Despite the generalcross-linguistic tendencies in this regard, the authors claim the processesfronting lexical NPs did not lead to a VSO to SVO word order shift and that inthe two languages word order variations only code information structure.

In the ninth contribution, ''Focus in Atlantic languages'' (pp. 233-260), StéphaneRobert, based on the study of 17 Atlantic languages (West Africa), shows thatfocus expression can mesh with almost every aspect of verb morphology. Theinformation structure notions cited are: Rheme, focus, verb focus, argumentfocus, etc. Robert puts forth her own theory about the nature of focus anddefines the rheme as the ''informative part of an utterance'' (p. 239). The rhemecan be a ''focus'' only if it ''corresponds to a syntactic constituent of thesentence and is morphologically marked'' (p. 234, 248). Working with 17languages, the author relied on data from published sources, including her ownprevious works on some of the languages. Atlantic languages vary in the extentto which they bind focus with verb morphology. On the one hand, the Mey languagefor example has four conjugations for focusing verbs, subjects, objects, andcircumstantial phrases. Fula binds focus marking with TAMs and diathesis, sothat for example the markers coding perfective and argument focus are: -i foractive voice, -ii for middle voice, and -aa for passive voice (i.e., -i would beglossed 'perfective, argument focus, active voice'). In Wolof, on the otherhand, an agreement pronoun codes information structure and TAM categories, sothat the particle ''la'' is glossed as 'perfective, non-subject focus, subjectagreement pronoun'. The focused NP is also fronted. Joola and Seereer defocusthe verb to indicate subject focus. Finally, some languages do not use verbalmorphology at all and resort to particles and pronouns to express focus.Globally, there is a continuum between strongly morphological systems andanalytical systems. The situation in Atlantic languages leads the author toreconsider the structure and function of the split focused proposition (such as''it was John that we saw yesterday''). She claims that the assertive part of thesentence codes identification and qualitative designation, while the presupposedpart codes a temporal relation and the existence of the subject (or the focusedelement in general). This for her explains why in Atlantic languages (which haveno cleft construction), focus expression mixes with verbal morphology and whyfocalization takes supplemental values such as explanation (of states ofaffairs) or the intensification of the verb action.

In the tenth contribution, ''Topic and focus construction asymmetry'' (pp.261-286), Ronald Schaefer and Francis Egbokhare contrast the grammaticalproperties of topic and focus constructions in Emai (Benue-Congo, Nigeria). Theinformation structure notions cited are topic, focus, and shared information.The authors adopt the notion of cognitive files for events and participantsdeveloped by Givón (1983) and Du Bois (1987). In the context of a topicconstruction, the participant file is shared between speaker and hearer but notthe main clause event file, which only the speaker holds. In the context of afocus construction, the event file is shared but not the participant file (p.264). The authors set out to show that these features account for most of thedifferences observed between topic and focus constructions. They use data from atexts collection and an extended elicitation carried out while writing adictionary and a grammar. The authors show that the main clause of topicconstructions, by virtue of being speaker-only knowledge, allows the imperative,the hortative, and various particles (such as 'after all, of course, mistakenly,a lot, a bit, etc.') that manipulate the truth value or the intensity of theevent. The main clause of focus structures, which conveys shared information,resists such manipulations. However, differences (or similarities) in theresumptive strategies for topic and focus NPs in the sentence could not entirelybe linked to the information structure notion of shared/ non-shared information(the focus construction, as one may expect, has a preference for zero pronoun inthe main clause). On the side of the NPs, the authors show that the topicposition allows only definite nouns, allows partitive ''some'' and alternative''another'', but rejects emphatic reflexives, restrictive ''alone'', or the ''of thatkind'' and ''of different kind'' modifiers. The focus position behavescontrastively with all these items. The authors conclude that informationstructure indeed influences the grammatical form of NPs and clauses. Thisoverall conclusion is reasonable with regard to the Emai data but, as one mayexpect, the correlations described between topic and focus statuses andgrammatical form may or may not carry over into other languages. For example,the English translations of many of the starred Emai sentences are fine. Also,the authors' characterization of topic and focus applies only to the core cases(for example, in ''do you like beans?'' / ''BEANS I like'', the NP and the mainclause in the reply are all shared information).

In the eleventh contribution, ''Verb-and-predication focus markers in Gur'' (pp.287-314), Anne Schwarz tracks the information structure usage of cognate ‘mE’particles in four Gur languages (West Africa): Konni, Buli, Dagbari, and Gurene.The information structure notions cited are: Emphasis, contrast, truth valuefocus, operator focus, etc. The author cites Dik's (1997) definition of focusand Hyman and Watters' (1984) distinction between information focus andcontrastive focus. The data was gathered through the administration of aquestionnaire designed to test the conditions of the appearance of the particle‘mE’ in the languages. All of the languages have basic SVO word order and wordorder change is not used for information structure marking. Instead, thelanguages rely on particles for the various focus types, including verb and verboperator focus. Despite some variability, the author shows that globally thecognate particles are exclusively used for focusing the lexical semantics of theverb ('I CLEANED the oranges'), the truth value of the verb action or the TAMoperators ('I DID clean the oranges'). More crucially, in the opinion of thisreviewer, the particles seem especially favored for marking emphasis andcontrast, i.e., in the four languages, the use of the particles is increased incontexts of high emphasis and contrast (for example, there is less restrictionon the TAMs that admit the particle). In a context of weaker emphasis andcontrast, some of the languages actually resort to other means of marking focus.

In the twelfth contribution, ''Why contrast matters: Information structure inGawwada (East Cushitic)'' (pp. 315-348), Mauro Tosco proposes a new analysis ofan information structure particle that can apply both to topic and focus NPs.The information structure concepts dealt with are: Contrast, topic, and focus.Overall, the system and definitions found in Lambrecht (1994) are adopted. Theauthor says that he purposely used narrative texts as data source to break fromthe tradition of studying focus in the confines of the wh-question and answercontext. Gawwada has a basic SOV word order where the verb and the pronominalarguments constitute the verbal group (which also has the SOV configuration).Lexical NPs, if specified, are in the periphery of the clause. The basic SOVword order expresses the topic/ comment articulation, while an alternate OSVorder expresses thetic statements. However, the most significant aspect ofinformation structure marking in Gawwada is the fact that ''focus'' as such seemsnot to be marked at all. Instead, a particle -kka/k, which would be closest to afocus marker, applies both to topic and focus NPs and can be analyzed simply asa contrast marker. Given this situation, Tosco, so to speak, rescues the notionof contrast as a linguistic category, contra, for example, Lambrecht (1994), whodismisses it as being an effect induced by conversational implicatures.

In the thirteenth and last contribution, ''Focus and the Ejagham verb system''(pp. 349-375), John Watters starts by proposing a complete typology of focusstructures that combines two dimensions: (i) The scope of focus, i.e., theelement under focus (a term, the verb, or a sentence operator such as truthvalue and TAMs); and (ii) the communicative point of focus, whereby assertivefocus (a simple declarative statement) is distinguished from contrastive focus(a complex form of information). This gives a set of six types of focus, asubset of which the author claims would be instantiated in any one language. Thecontribution is based on elicited material usually in the context ofwh-questions and their answers. According to Watters, Ejagham (Ekoid Bantu,Cameroon and Nigeria, about 170,000 speakers), in particular its westerndialect, has two forms of the perfective and imperfective TAMs. One form, calledOperator Focus (=auxiliary focus) Form, appears in neutral assertive (topic/comment) structure, in narrative event lines, and when the truth value or theperfective/ imperfective semantics of the clause is contrasted (cf. 'he DID eatthe yams', 'he IS [NOW] eating the yams'). The other form, called theConstituent Focus Form, appears when the lexical semantics of the verb or one ofits terms are focused. However, the Constituent Focus Form also appears inrelative clauses, cleft structures, wh-questions, and in answers following ''whathappened''-questions (which in many languages have a clefted form, cf. French''que se passe-t-il?''; ''C’est Ali qui frappe Salif'' 'it is Ali [who is] hittingSalif'; cf. Güldemann p. 88). Finally, the author shows that TAMs other thanperfective and imperfective have only one form each and that they do not markfocus. Given such a situation, this reviewer thinks that Ejagham essentiallydoes not directly mark the focused constituent itself but rather marks thepresupposed (out-of-focus) part of the sentence. Indeed, many languages markboth the focused material (for example a clefted NP) and the presupposedmaterial (for example the relative clause in English cleft sentences). Ejaghamseems to have lost the focus markers and retained only the presuppositionmarkers, and this, too, is restricted to the perfective and imperfective. Hausahas a comparable situation where, although focus material is overtly marked withfronting and a copula, special perfective and imperfective forms markpresupposition in nearly the same contexts as in Ejagham (cf. Abdoulaye 2007).


The papers are written by specialists on the respective languages, mostly usingdata they themselves gathered. They handle a variety of phenomena using diverseapproaches. This surely has the advantage of bringing a wide coverage, but italso has drawbacks. For example, in the entire book there is only one placewhere the notion of information structure is defined (Jacob, p. 120). Without anagreed-upon definition, however tentative, of the functional domain, it will bedifficult to seek the relevant linguistic expressions. This is a key procedure,for example, in typological studies (see Stassen 1997). One issue with focusstudies, which the book did not overcome, is the multiple terminologiessometimes used to refer to the same phenomena (witness for example Güldemann'sattempt to reconcile Lambrecht's and Sasse's typologies, p. 86, where he agreeswith both on certain points and disagrees with both on other points). There iseven a point where standard terminology can get into the way of the analysis.For example, the notion of focus seems to be intractable. Jacob, besides herinteresting definition of information structure, tries to fit together at leastthree different definitions of ''focus'': (i) Information in a sentence speakerassumes listener does not share (i.e., opposed to presupposition, Jackendoff1972); (ii) most significant or salient information in the clause (Dik 1997);and (iii) a category involving ''the presence of alternatives that are relevantfor the interpretation of the linguistic expressions'' (Krifka 2007), adefinition that equates focus with contrast. And there are many otherdefinitions of focus in the book and elsewhere. Clearly one must now throw awaythe notion and the term “focus” and concentrate on simpler, more definablenotions, the expressions of which can then be sought in the languages. There arethree promising attempts in the book in this regard and all of them bring forththe same concepts: Emphasis and contrast. Indeed, in one way or another, thecontributions by Mettouchi and Fleisch, Schwarz, and Tosco underline theimportance of emphasis and contrast (elsewhere, see Caron 2000:34, Abdoulaye2006:1163, 2007). The three contributions show that these are the categoriesthat regularly get expressed in remarkable ways in the languages studied.


Abdoulaye, Mahamane L. (2006) Existential and possessive predications in Hausa.Linguistics 44: 1121-1164.

Abdoulaye, Mahamane L. (2007) Profiling and identification in Hausa. Journal ofPragmatics 39: 232-269.

Caron, Bernard (2000) Assertion et preconstruit: topicalisation et focalisationdans les langues africaines. In: B. Caron, Ed., Topicalisation et focalisationdans les langues africaines, pp. 7-42. Louvain/ Paris: Peters.

Dik, Simon C. (1997) The theory of functional grammar, part 1: The structure ofthe clause. Berlin/ New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Dooley, Robert and Stephen H. Levinsohn (2000) Analyzing discourse: A manual ofbasic concepts. Dallas: SIL International.

Du Bois, John W. (1987) The discourse basis of ergativity. Language 63: 805-855.

Foley, William A. and Robert D. Van Valin, Jr. (1984) Functional syntax anduniversal grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Givón, Talmy (1983) Topic continuity in discourse: An introduction. In: T.Givón, Ed., Topic continuity in discourse: A quantitative cross-linguisticstudy, pp. 1-41. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Givón, Talmy (1984) Syntax: A functional-typological introduction, vol. 1.Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Hyman, L.M. and John R. Watters (1984) Auxiliary focus. Studies in AfricanLinguistics Supplement 15: 233-273.

Jackendoff, Ray (1972) Semantic interpretation in Generative Grammar. Cambridge,MA: MIT Press.

Krifka, Manfred (2007) Basic notions of information structure. In: C. Fery etal., Eds., Interdisciplinary Studies on Information Structure (ISIS) 6: 13-56.

Lambrecht, Knut (1987) Sentence focus, information structure, and thethetic-categorical distinction. Berkeley Linguistics Society 13: 366-382.

Lambrecht, Knut (1994) Information structure and sentence form: Topic, focus andthe representation of discourse referents. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sasse, Hans-Jürgen (1987) The thetic/ categorical distinction revisited.Linguistics 25: 511-580.

Stassen, Leon (1997) Intransitive Predication. Oxford: Clarendon Press.


Mahamane L. Abdoulaye teaches linguistics at the Abdou Moumouni University, Niamey. His main research focuses on Hausa and Zarma Chiine morphology, syntax, and semantics.

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