2005-03-01Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/13422
Out-of-focus Encoding in Gur and Kwa
Philosophische Fakultät II
This paper investigates the structural properties of morphosyntactically marked focus constructions, focussing on the often neglected non-focal sentence part in African tone languages. Based on new empirical evidence from five Gur and Kwa languages, we claim that these focus expressions have to be analysed as biclausal constructions even though they do not represent clefts containing restrictive relative clauses. First, we relativize the partly overgeneralized assumptions about structural correspondences between the out-of-focus part and relative clauses, and second, we show that our data do in fact support the hypothesis of a clause coordinating pattern as present in clause sequences in narration. It is argued that we deal with a non-accidental, systematic feature and that grammaticalization may conceal such basic narrative structures.
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This article was written within project B1 “Focus in Gur and Kwa Languages” as part ofthe SFB 632 “Information Structure”, funded by the German Science Association (DFG).We would like to thank all our language assistants for their help and patience and BrigitteReineke as well as Ruben Stoel for their comments on an earlier version of this paper.