LINGUIST List 26.3188

Tue Jul 07 2015

Confs: General Linguistics, Pragmatics/Austria

Editor for this issue: Erin Arnold <>

Date: 07-Jul-2015
From: Dina El Zarka <>
Subject: Under One Roof: Sharing a Form with Focus
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Under One Roof: Sharing a Form with Focus
Short Title: GWIS 3

Date: 25-Sep-2015 - 26-Sep-2015
Location: Graz, Austria
Contact: Dina El Zarka
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics; Pragmatics

Meeting Description:

Meeting Description:

A great number of formal linguistic means can be used to express the information structural partition between the focus and the background of a sentence. Under closer scrutiny, many of the formal means that are usually interpreted as encoding focus turn out to have other functions as well.

The aim of this workshop is to investigate the polyfunctionality of linguistic means associated with focus. We are especially interested in cases of polyfunctionality that go beyond the well-known cases where the same linguistic form is associated with focus and contrast or exhaustivity. For example, French clefts can serve to narrowly focus the clefted constituent, but also to create cohesion with the preceding context. Another example is particles which encode TAM functions, but also trigger a focus interpretation.

Topics to be addressed include (but are not limited to) the following issues:

- Patterns of Polyfunctionality
Which are the additional functions expressed by linguistic means associated with focus? Are these functions part of the semantics of the respective linguistic means or the result of pragmatic inference? Are there recurring patterns of polyfunctionality?

- Polyfunctionality and Types of Linguistic Means
Is there a relationship between different patterns of polyfunctionality and the formal types of linguistic means associated with focus? Are there patterns typically associated with a certain linguistic level to the exclusion of the others (e.g. with prosodic, but not with morphological or syntactic means)?

- Polyfunctionality and the Categorial Status of Focus
In the literature on information structure there is an ongoing debate whether focus is an integral part of grammar or rather belongs to pragmatics. In this regard, the claim that focus is a universal linguistic category has recently been called into question.
-- To what extent can the analysis of polyfunctional patterns contribute to this ongoing debate?
-- Can polyfunctionality be considered as a counter-argument against focus as a (universal) linguistic category?
-- Can, on the other hand, the one-to-one mapping between a linguistic form and a focus interpretation be considered as evidence for focus as a linguistic category in this specific language?

Organizers: Dina El Zarka, Anna Gazdik, Steffen Heidinger (University of Graz)

Invited Speakers:

Manuel Leonetti (Universidad de Alcalá)
Malte Zimmermann (Universität Potsdam)

A detailed thematic description of the workshop can be found at:


3rd Graz Workshop on Information Structure (GWIS 3)

Under One Roof: Sharing a Form with Focus

Universitätszentrum Wall
Institut für Romanistik: Room 03.088
Merangasse 70 / 8010 Graz / Austria

Friday, September 25, 2015

Opening and Introduction

Invited Speaker: Manuel Leonetti (Universidad de Alcalá)
Non-Focal Fronting

Eva-Maria Remberger (Universität Wien)
Functional values of focus fronting and expressive meaning

11.10-11.30 Coffee Break

Lena Karssenberg (KU Leuven)
French il y a-clefts and existentials: information structural parallels

Noèlia Sánchez-Candela (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
Polifunctionality of Romance clefts

12.50-14.20 Lunch Break

Regina Stöpper (Universität zu Köln)
Focus in Clefts – a contrastive approach of French and German

Jutta Hartmann (Universität Tübingen)
Focus and exhaustivity in it-clefts

15.40-16.00 Coffee Break

Hisashi Morita (Aichi Prefectual University)
Crosslinguistic examination of the interaction between contrastive and information focus

Arndt Riester (Universität Stuttgart)
Proposal for a universal analysis procedure for information structure, QUDs and discourse structure

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Eva Schultze-Berndt (University of Manchester)
Focal agent markers: Information structure and “optional ergativity” in Jaminjung

Milena Insam and Remus Gergel (Universität Graz)
Spoken corpora 'again'

10.20-10.45 Coffee Break

Dejan Matic (Universität Düsseldorf/MPI for Psycholinguistics)
Expectations and focus in Tundra Yukaghir

Koichiro Nakamura (Meio University)
Japanese object DP scrambling with a focally stressed particle provokes exhaustive identificational focus interpretation

12.05-12.30 Coffee Break

Invited Speaker: Malte Zimmermann (Universität Potsdam)
Salient situations: A semantic reanalysis of RELative marking in Hausa (Chadic)

Concluding Remarks

Organizers: Dina El Zarka, Anna Gazdik, Steffen Heidinger (Universität Graz)


This workshop is organized with the support of the Vizerektorat für Forschung und Nachwuchsförderung, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz and is part of the Habilitationsforum Diskurse und Episteme (

Page Updated: 07-Jul-2015