Contrastive focus

  • The article puts forward a discourse-pragmatic approach to the notoriously evasive phenomena of contrastivity and emphasis. It is argued that occurrences of focus that are treated in terms of "contrastive focus", "kontrast" (Vallduví & Vilkuna 1998) or "identificational focus" (É. Kiss 1998) in the literature should not be analyzed in familiar semantic terms like introduction of alternatives or exhaustivity. Rather, an adequate analysis must take into account discourse-pragmatic notions like hearer expectation or discourse expectability of the focused content in a given discourse situation. The less expected a given content is judged to be for the hearer, relative to the Common Ground, the more likely a speaker is to mark this content by means of special grammatical devices, giving rise to emphasis.

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Author:Malte ZimmermannORCiDGND
Parent Title (German):Interdisciplinary Studies on Information Structure 6.2007 / Féry, C., G. Fanselow, and M. Krifka (eds.): The Notion of Information Structure
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2008/11/06
Year of first Publication:2007
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2008/11/06
Tag:contrastive focus; discourse expectability; emphasis
Page Number:14
First Page:147
Last Page:159
Interdisciplinary Studies on Information Structure 6.2007, S. 147–159 ; Féry, C., G. Fanselow, and M. Krifka (eds.): The Notion of Information Structure
Source: ; (in:) G. Fanselow / C. Féry/ M. Krifka : Working Papers of the SFB 632, Interdisciplinary Studies on Information Structure (ISIS), 2007.
Dewey Decimal Classification:4 Sprache / 40 Sprache / 400 Sprache
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht