Contrastive focus, givenness and the unmarked status of "discourse-new"

  • New evidence is provided for a grammatical principle that singles out contrastive focus (Rooth 1996; Truckenbrodt 1995) and distinguishes it from discourse-new “informational” focus. Since the prosody of discourse-given constituents may also be distinguished from discourse-new, a three-way distinction in representation is motivated. It is assumed that an F-feature marks just contrastive focus (Jackendoff 1972, Rooth 1992), and that a G-feature marks discoursegiven constituents (Féry and Samek-Lodovici 2006), while discoursenew is unmarked. A crucial argument for G-marking comes from second occurrence focus (SOF) prosody, which arguably derives from a syntactic representation where SOF is both F-marked and G-marked. This analysis relies on a new G-Marking Condition specifying that a contrastive focus may be G-marked only if the focus semantic value of its scope is discourse-given, i.e. only if the contrast itself is given.

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Author:Elisabeth Selkirk
Parent Title (German):The notions of information structure / Caroline Féry (ed.) ; Working Papers of the SFB 632, Interdisciplinary studies on information structure (ISIS) ; Vol. 6
Document Type:Part of a Book
Date of Publication (online):2008/11/06
Year of first Publication:2007
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2008/11/06
Tag:F-marking; G-marking; contrastive focus; givenness; prosody; second occurrence focus
Page Number:22
First Page:125
Last Page:146
Source: ; (in:) C. Féry / G. Fanselow / M. Krifka : Working Papers of the SFB 632, Interdisciplinary Studies on Information Structure (ISIS), 6, 2007, S.125-146.
Dewey Decimal Classification:4 Sprache / 40 Sprache / 400 Sprache
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht