Over the last two decades, focus has become a prominent topic in major
fields in linguistic research (syntax, semantics, phonology). Focus
Strategies in African Languages contributes to the ongoing discussion of
focus by investigating focus-related phenomena in a range of African
languages, most of which have been under-represented in the theoretical
literature on focus.
The articles in the volume look at focus strategies in Niger-Congo and
Afro-Asiatic languages from several theoretical and methodological
perspectives, ranging from detailed generative analysis to careful
typological generalization across languages. Their common aim is to deepen
our understanding of whether and how the information-structural category of
focus is represented and marked in natural language. Topics investigated
are, among others, the relation of focus and prosody, the effects of
information structure on word order, ex situ versus in situ strategies of
focus marking, the inventory of focus marking devices, focus and related
constructions, focus-sensitive particles.
The present inquiry into the focus systems of African languages has
repercussions on existing theories of focus. It reveals new focus
strategies as well as fine-tuned focus distinctions that are not discussed
in the theoretical literature, which is almost exclusively based on
well-documented intonation languages.
African languages; pragmatics
Theoretical Linguists, Africanists, Typologists
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