Ex-situ and in-situ focus in Hausa: syntax, semantics and discourse

Green, Melanie and Jaggar, Philip J (2003) Ex-situ and in-situ focus in Hausa: syntax, semantics and discourse. In: Lecarme, Jacqueline (ed.) Research in Afroasiatic Grammar II. Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, 241 . John Benjamins, Amsterdam, 187 - 213. ISBN 9789027247537

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Abstract

Hausa (Chadic, Afroasiatic) has traditionally been described as having only one focusing strategy: focus fronting (McConvell 1973; Tuller 1986; Green 1997; Newman 2000: 187-195). More recently, however, Jaggar (2001: 496-498) has argued that there is evidence for focus in-situ in Hausa. The aims of this joint paper are twofold. Our first aim is to clarify the descriptive facts, in order to establish whether there exists in Hausa a systematic correlation between the syntax and semantics of focus, or whether the interpretation of focus rests purely on discourse-pragmatic grounds. Our second aim is theoretical: to consider the data in the light of minimalist considerations (Chomsky 1995, 2000, 2001a, b), in order to present a unified syntactic analysis of in-situ and ex-situ focus. This in turn relates to broader theoretical issues, concerning optionality in a perfectly economical system. Assuming the notion of 'interface economy' as proposed by Reinhart (1995) and adopted by Chomsky (2000, 2001a, b), a 'marked' or 'costly' operation is only licensed if, at the interface, it results in a distinct interpretation from the 'cheaper' option. There are, however, a range of views about what constitutes 'markedness', 'complexity' and 'cost', to which we return below. The ensuing empirical research question can be framed as follows: if a language has more than one focusing strategy (morphosyntactic and/or phonological), can each of these be establsihed to correspond to a distinct interprative goal (hence providing support for the notion of language as an economy-driven system), or are interpretive 'choices' forced by pragmatic factors?

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Depositing User: Melanie Green
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:48
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2012 09:33
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/18387
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