- Focus asymmetries in Bura (2008)
- This article presents the central aspects of the focus system of Bura (Chadic), which exhibits a number of asymmetries: Grammatical focus marking is obligatory only with focused subjects, where focus is marked by the particle án following the subject. Focused subjects remain in situ and the complement of án is a regular VP. With nonsubject foci, án appears in a cleft-structure between the fronted focus constituent and a relative clause. We present a semantically unified analysis of focus marking in Bura that treats the particle as a focusmarking copula in T that takes a property-denoting expression (the background) and an individual-denoting expression (the focus) as arguments. The article also investigates the realization of predicate and polarity focus, which are almost never marked. The upshot of the discussion is that Bura shares many characteristic traits of focus marking with other Chadic languages, but it crucially differs in exhibiting a structural difference in the marking of focus on subjects and non-subject constituents.
- Morphological focus marking in Gùrùntùm (West Chadic) (2006)
- The paper presents an in-depth study of focus marking in Gùrùntùm, a West Ch adic language spoken in Bauchi Province of Northern Nigeria. Focus in Gùrùntùm is marked morphologically by means of a focus marker a, which typically precedes the focus constituent. Even though the morphological focus-marking system of Gùrùntùm allows for a lot of fine-grained distinctions in information structure (IS) in principle, the language is not entirely free of focus ambiguities that arise as the result of conflicting IS- and syntactic requirements that govern the placement of focus markers. We show that morphological focus marking with a applies across different types of focus, such as newinformation, contrastive, selective and corrective focus, and that a does not have a second function as a perfectivity marker, as is assumed in the literature. In contrast, we show at the end of the paper that a can also function as a foregrounding device at the level of discourse structure.
- Focus and tone (2006)
- Tone is a distinctive feature of the lexemes in tone languages. The information-structural category focus is usually marked by syntactic and morphological means in these languages, but sometimes also by intonation strategies. In intonation languages, focus is marked by pitch movements, which are also perceived as tone. The present article discusses prosodic focus marking in these two language types.
- Focus strategies in chadic : the case of tangale revisited (2007)
- We argue that the standard focus theories reach their limits when confronted with the focus systems of the Chadic languages. The backbone of the standard focus theories consists of two assumptions, both called into question by the languages under consideration. Firstly, it is standardly assumed that focus is generally marked by stress. The Chadic languages, however, exhibit a variety of different devices for focus marking. Secondly, it is assumed that focus is always marked. In Tangale, at least, focus is not marked consistently on all types of constituents. The paper offers two possible solutions to this dilemma.