The syntax of existential sentences in Serbian
Jutta M. Hartmann
- Freeze (1992) argued on the basis of data from several different languages that there is a close relationship between existential sentences (stating the existence of an entity) and locative sentences (stating the location of an entity). Freeze (1992) proposes that they are both derived from the same base structure and that the surface differences are rather due to the distinct information structures.This paper argues against this position with the data from Serbian existentials, which show clear syntactic differences from the locatives. Thus, the close relationship between existential and locative sentences that Freeze (1992) observes is conceptual, but not (necessarily) part of the syntax of the language. In order to account for the data, we propose that existential sentences originate from a different syntactic predication structure than the locative ones. The existential meaning arises, as we will show, from the interaction of this predication structure with the structure and meaning of the noun phrase.
Focus and Phrasing in Shingazidja
- It has been established since Kanerva’s work that focus conditions phrasing – directly or indirectly – in several other Bantu languages, e.g. Chimwiini (Kisseberth 2007, Downing 2002, Kisseberth & Abasheikh 2004), Xhosa (Jokweni 1995, Zerbian 2004), Chitumbuka (Downing 2006, 2007), Zulu (Cheng & Downing 2006, Downing 2007), Bemba (Kula 2007), etc.
In this paper, I will argue that focus also conditions phrasing in Shingazidja, a Bantu language3 spoken on Grande Comore (or Ngazidja, the largest island of the Comoros).
Many works have been dedicated to the tonology of Shingazidja. The bases of the system were firstly identified by Tucker & Bryan (1970) and reanalyzed by Philippson (1988). Later, Cassimjee & Kisseberth (1989, 1992, 1993, 1998) provide a very convincing analysis of the whole system of the language, and my own research (Patin 2007a) shows a great correspondence with their results. However, little attention has been paid by these authors or others (Jouannet 1989, Rey 1990, Philippson 2005) to the phonology-pragmatics interface, especially on the relation between focus and phrasing. This paper thus proposes to explore this question. It will be claimed that focus, beside syntax, has an influence on phrasing in Shingazidja.