Info
Syllabus
Bibliography
Online resources

Week 1 2/1/00. Topic and focus
Week 2 2/8/00. Contrast, rheme, information focus, and exhaustiveness.
Week 3 2/15/00. Topic-focus articulation -- Guest speaker: Eva Hajičová
Week 4 2/22/00. Syntactic focus movement (I)
Week 5 3/7/00. Syntactic focus movement (II)
Week 6 3/14/00. Synthesis Day
Week 7 3/28/00. Topic/Focus/Discourse (I)
Week 8 4/11/00. Topic/Focus/Discourse (II)
Week 9 4/18/00. Synthesis Day (III)
Week 10 4/25/00. Synthesis Day (IV)
Perspectives on Focus
050.826 Research Seminar
Spring 2000
Tuesday 3:45-5:30pm
Krieger 134
Paul Hagstrom
The "perspectives on focus" seminar has now concluded.

Mission statement. Issues of "focus" (and "topic") have become increasingly prominent in recent linguistic analyses, and the purpose of this seminar is to become familiar with some of the major recent work on these issues. The main objective is to increase our understanding of what types of focus there are, and what effects they have crosslinguistically. This will include looking at word order effects of information structure (the syntax of focus), interpretation of focus and topic (the semantics/pragmatics of focus/topic), and prosodic effects of focus (placement of accent). Initial estimates put the syntax:semantics:prosody ratios at about 2:3:1, although this can change depending on participant interest. Of particular interest will be the effects at the interfaces of syntax, semantics, and prosody. The syntactic framework we will primarily be discussing will be of the "Government & Binding" sort (intended to include both "OT" and "minimalist" approaches, but to exclude LFG, HPSG, etc.).

Readings. For each week there are generally 1-3 (all fairly short) readings listed. I tried to keep the amount of reading achievable, so try to at least look at all of them if possible---however, if the rare occasion arises when you can only read 2 of 3, they're listed in order of importance, so read the 2 listed first. If you have extra time, you might look at the "see also" readings, which will hopefully be discussed too. Readings will be placed in the "espresso lounge" upstairs with other class readings. Where electronic versions are available, they are linked up to this web page as well. Electronic versions will in general be in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format; the Acrobat Reader software required to read/print these files can be downloaded (free) by clicking here.

Structure. I envision presentations being informal, and reasonably short. On days where two papers are being presented, I'll probably take the first half hour, splitting the rest of the time between the papers being discussed. So, something like 45 minutes for each paper, though presumably this will vary depending on the complexity of the issues involved.

Life as a registered participant. The course expectations are (i) a paper at the end, (ii) two presentations/leadings-of-discussion (of readings or of own research, preferably one of each). Try to talk to me by the end of March about paper topics you might be interested in. For the grade to be recorded, your paper should make it to me by a week before I have to turn in grades. I'm happy to read drafts, discuss possible directions, etc. My office is Krieger 137C, email is hagstrom@jhu.edu.

Life as an unregistered participant. Of course, I can't formally 'require' anything, but even those who are not formally registered in the course are heartily encouraged to present readings and/or their own research.

Info
Syllabus
Bibliography
Online resources

Return to Paul Hagstrom's home page.

Mail: hagstrom@jhu.edu

Schedule of events
SNOW DAY -- no class Jan 25
Week 1: Topic and focus Feb 1
Introducing topic and focus, different views, different terminologies, different distinctions. Things to keep in mind during future reading, and hopefully some enthusiastic volunteerism for upcoming presentations.
de Swart & de Hoop (1995). Paul
Week 2: Contrast, rheme, information focus, and exhaustiveness. Feb 8
Evidence from Hungarian, Catalan, and Finnish differentiating types of focus and topic. É. Kiss proposes a four-way typology of focus split by [+/-Exhaustive] and [+/-Contrastive], Vallduví & Vilkuna also propose a four-way typology based on [+/-Rheme] (a.k.a "[+/-Topic]" under a certain construal) and [+/-Kontrast] (a.k.a. "[+/-Contrastive]"). These analyses have a great deal of common ground, but differ at least on the reality of the exhaustiveness parameter.
É. Kiss (1998a). Melanie
Vallduví & Vilkuna (1998). Paul
Week 3: Topic-focus articulation Feb 15
Guest speaker: Eva Hajičová
Discussion of the Praguian topic-focus articulation (TFA) approach, in which we are fortunate enough to led by one of the principal researchers in this area.
Read Sgall, Hajičová & Panevová (1986): sections 1.35-1.37, 2.3-2.4, 3.1-3.3

See also Hajičová, Partee & Sgall (1998a), (1998b), Partee (1991), Partee (1999).

Week 4: Syntactic focus movement (I) Feb 22
Focus movement, structural correlates to semantic/pragmatic function; evidence from three Mayan languages and German, primarily.
Choi (1996): sections 3.2-3.4, chapter 4

Marina
Aissen (1992). Géraldine
CLSP seminar conflict -- no class Feb 29
Week 5: Syntactic focus movement (II) and synthesis (I) Mar 7
We'll look at a strictly syntactic analysis of the topic and focus constructions in Modern Greek. Like Hungarian, MG seems to have a single slot for wh-words and focus. Does this mean wh-words are focused? Is there a chance that this is diagnosing the same thing that Vilkuna calls "contrast"? Then, we'll begin to look at an overview of what we've seen so far, to try to resolve the different proposals or at least keep them straight. This discussion continues next week.
Tsimpli (1995) Jason
Echepare (1998) (next week)
Week 6: Synthesis Day Mar 14
An attempt to recap what we've seen so far, and to try to come out of it with as much of a coherent set of conclusions as we can. No new readings (but note that we'll be discussing last week's reading, Echepare 1998, this week). We'll also look at an analysis of Basque, which like É. Kiss (1998) proposes two kinds of focus, roughly presentational and contrastive, one of which involves syntactic "operator movement" and one of which doesn't. But strikingly, Echepare's claim is the opposite of É. Kiss': only the presentational focus involves operator movement. Can we resolve this?
Echepare (1998) Libby
Spring Break -- no class Mar 21
Week 7: Topic, Focus, and Discourse (I) Mar 28
A plunge into an actual proposal for topic and focus in a model of discourse. Büring's paper not only provides an analysis, but reviews several previous proposals (that we have not encountered officially yet). It might also be helpful to look at Rooth's (1996) survey article on focus. I will lead the discussion for this one, but two things: I plan for it to be more of a discussion than a presentation, and I expect this is a complex enough paper that we'll spill over into next week.
Büring (1998). Paul
Rooth (1996) (see also)
Talk by Satoshi Tomioka at U. Del. "Interpreting focus: Semantics or pragmatics?" Apr 4
Week 8: Topic, Focus, and Discourse (II) Apr 11
Continuing from last week... (finishing up the discussion of the Büring and Schwarzschild papers)
Week 9: Synthesis Day -- Part III Apr 18
Having another go at synthesizing what we've seen so far.
Week 10: Synthesis Day -- Part IV Apr 25
Continuing from last week, now on the trail of at least a hypothesis. Among the things to discuss: what might a contrastive tail be? What can we find out about shifted topics?
Info
Syllabus
Bibliography
Online resources

Return to Paul Hagstrom's home page.

Mail: hagstrom@jhu.edu

Bibliography of (potentially) relevant papers
Where I could find an electronic copy, I have posted it here. Usually, these came from the web pages of the authors or from electronic copies of the relevant journals. (Also note that in some cases the available electronic versions were pre-publication versions.) To read them, you must have a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader which can be downloaded for free. Please treat these as copies in the reading room to be copied for personal use only -- everything here is copyrighted by the authors or publishers. For some of the papers (pretty much the ones I've read recently) I have provided short(ish) annotations to give some indication of what the paper contains.


Aissen, Judith (1992). "Topic and focus in Mayan". Language 68(1):43-80. Three Mayan languages are compared (Tzotzil, Jakaltak, and Tz'utujil). Tzotzil: topics and foci move to preverbal position. Topics are usually definite-marked, foci aren't. (Overt) topics are always shifted topics. Topics precede {negation, Q-marker} which precedes foci. A nice argument is presented for considering Tzotzil un (a meaningless audible pause) to be a prosodically governed affix; in combination with a syntax-to-intonational-phrase mapping algorithm, this serves as an argument that topics (and not foci) form their own intonational phrase, and hence that topics are outside (adjoined to) CP. Embedded topics are not allowed, a "link" (when one even exists) between topic and an element inside the clause can cross island boundaries. Jakaltek: The same arguments work for Jakaltek an (which has a strange condition that the intonational phrase it attaches to contains a first person element -- does prosody have access to that kind of information?). Tz'utujil: Topics allowed in embedded CP, need not be shifted topics: analyzed as being in SpecCP. General: (CP-)external topics may in general be shifted topics, (CP-)internal topics may in general be continuing topics.

Büring, Daniel (1999). "Topic". In Bosch, Peter and Rob van der Sandt (eds.) Focus. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Extending Rooth's semantics for focus one level up to an analysis of topics. Sentences are split into topic, focus, and background. Proposes that the question/answer felicity condition requires that the question be a member in the topic value of the answer. For example: The topic value of [I]T bought [LGB]F is a set of questions varying in the topic-marked position: {what did I buy? what did Fritz buy?, ...}, so it can answer What did Fritz buy?. Use of topic marking implies that some other question in the topic value is still "under consideration" (e.g. what did Fritz buy?). Büring goes on to explain how "strong (partitive) readings" for weak quantifiers, proportional readings, and "focus affected readings" are analyzable in these terms.

Büring, Daniel (1998). "Focus and topic in a complex model of discourse". Ms., Cologne University

Büring, Daniel (1998). "Drinking, accents, and negation". In Elena Benedicto, Maribel Romero, and Satoshi Tomioka (eds.), UMOP 21: Proceedings of workshop on focus. University of Massachusetts, Amherst: GLSA.

Bush, Ryan, and Magda Tevdoradze (2000). "Broad and narrow identificational foci". NELS 30. Proposes to split identificational focus (cf. É. Kiss 1998) into two types, broad (allows 'nothing', 'also', 'most...') and narrow (doesn't allow them). Gives an account of the difference in terms of their semantic types.

Choi, Hye-Won (1996). Optimizing structure in context: Scrambling and information structure. Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University. Excerpt with just 3.2-3.4 and ch. 4.

Cinque, Guglielmo (1993). "A null theory of phrase and compound stress". Linguistic Inquiry 24:239-298.

Echepare, Ricardo (1998). "A case for two types of focus in Basque". In Elena Benedicto, Maribel Romero, and Satoshi Tomioka (eds.), UMOP 21: Proceedings of workshop on focus. University of Massachusetts, Amherst: GLSA. Echepare argues for a split of focus into "emphatic focus" (EF) and "constrastive focus" (CF), but notably, he argues that EFs involve operator-variable chains, whereas CFs do not. This is diametrically opposite from the stance generally taken in the existing literature (e.g., É. Kiss 1998). More synopsis to come once I've read this more carefully.

Erteschick-Shir, Nomi (1986). "Wh-questions and focus". Linguistics & Philosophy 9:117-149. An attempt to debunk the belief that wh-phrases in a wh-question are necessarily focused. This is accomplished by defining a different notion, Dominance, located on that to which the speaker wishes to call attention. Primary stress appears on the dominant constituent of the sentence. When asking a wh-question, things other than the wh-phrase can be dominant (e.g. Who gave books [to the library]Dom? That's a good question-- books are scarce there.), and in fact the wh-phrase really can't be dominant except in echo questions. (So, how close is "dominant" to "presentationally focused"?) A sentence with multiple dominant elements is handled in what appears to be a qualitatively different way (using "restrictive dominance"), where the dominant elements are (together) marked as being either conjunctive, disjunctive, or contrastive (yet how the choice is made isn't well explicated). Restrictively dominant elements require and make use of a contextually provided restriction set. The second half of the paper is primarily devoted to a discussion of multiple-wh-questions. Several cases are described in terms of (restrictive) dominance, but (one feels) not really fully explained.

Erteschick-Shir, Nomi (1997). The dynamics of focus structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

von Fintel, Kai (1994). Restrictions on quantifier domains. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. (Specifically, section 2.3: "Topic, focus, and quantification").

Hajičová, Eva, Barbara Partee, and Petr Sgall (1998a). "Focus, topic, and semantics." In Elena Benedicto, Maribel Romero, and Satoshi Tomioka (eds.), UMOP 21: Proceedings of workshop on focus. University of Massachusetts, Amherst: GLSA.

Hajičová, Eva, Barbara Partee, and Petr Sgall (1998b). Topic-Focus Articulation, tripartite structures, and semantic content. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Gundel, Jeanette (1999). "On different kinds of focus". In Bosch, Peter and Rob van der Sandt (eds.) Focus. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Distinguishes psychological, semantic, and contrastive focus. PF is activation, salience, attention-based. SF is new information, what you get in a wh-answer, a.k.a "comment". All (communicative) sentences have a SF. CF seems to cover what others have called contrastive topics and shifted topics. PF and CF do not have truth-conditional effects, while SF can.

Herburger, Elena (forthcoming). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Jackendoff, Ray (1972). Semantic interpretation in generative grammar. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (Specifically, chapter 6: "Focus and presupposition")

É. Kiss, Katalin (1981). "Structural relations in Hungarian, a 'free' word order language". Linguistic Inquiry 12(2):185-213

É. Kiss, Katalin (1998a). "Informational focus vs. identification focus". Language 74:245-273. Identificational (contrastive) focus (IdF) must be distinguished from information (presentational) focus (InfF) ("focus" being non-presupposed information). In languages which move focused elements, the IdF and not the InfF moves; InfF is often pitch accented and in situ. IdF is exhaustive, InfF is not. IdF disallowed on universal quantifiers etc., InfF is allowed. IdF shows diagnostics of scope-taking (WCO, scope interaction, being an XP constituent); InfF does not. The article ends with a somewhat confusing discussion of a typology formed by [+/-exhaustive] and [+/-contrastive] elements: IdF is [+exhaustive], but can in principle either be or not be contrastive (operating on a closed, known set of alternatives). Some languages allow only [+contrastive] IdFs (Rumanian, Italian, Catalan, Greek, Arabic); others allow both [+/-contrastive] IdFs (English, Hungarian). In Finnish, movement is driven instead by [+contrastive], resulting in both fronted IdFs and contrastive topics (do we presume that Finnish is like Greek in that all IdFs are contrastive?).

É. Kiss, Katalin (1998b). "Multiple topic, one focus?". Acta Linguistica Hungarica 45(1-2):3-29. With the help of some preconceived notions of what makes a good syntactic sense (wrt to specifiers and adjuncts), É. Kiss concludes that multiple topics in Hungarian are each in a specifier of a recursive Topic projection. Prior claims were made that only one Focus is allowed, but they were wrong. For example, only phrases have to be in focus position. With two such phrases, one moves to preverbal position and one appears postverbally, but É. Kiss argues that even the postverbal focus has overtly moved to SpecFP -- and any intervening material has moved between them. (cf. Grohmann's work [e.g. 1999 WECOL paper] on multiple wh-questions in German?). The eventual proposal has not just FP recursing, but the whole set of TopP-FocP-QP (providing landing sites for intervening material).

Kratzer, Angelika (1991). "The representation of focus". In von Stechow, Arnim, and D. Wunderlich (eds.), Semantics. Mouton de Gruyter. 825-834. Starts with a comparison between movement (e.g., Chomsky 1976) and in situ (e.g., Rooth 1985) theories of focus. Then, points out a difficulty with the in situ theory based on the example I only VP[went to [Tanglewood]F] because you did (VP)[e]. (Predicts: VP[...x...]...(VP)[...y...] after reconstituting the elided VP, yet the real interperetation is necessarily VP[...x...]...(VP)[...x...]). One solution is to scope Tanglewood out of the VP, but then it isn't an in situ theory of focus anymore. Kratzer's solution is to posit a second variable assignment function that operates on "designated variables" in the semantic representation. Warning: the writing is very dense; to get it, you need to read a lot into the few words Kratzer gives you. See also Wold (1996, 1998), Krifka (1991) for further discussion.

Krifka, Manfred (1998). "Scope inversion under the rise-fall contour in German". Linguistic Inquiry 29(1):75-112.

Krifka, Manfred (1991). "A compositional semantics for multiple focus constructions". SALT I.

Lambrecht, Knud (1994). Information structure and sentence form. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lambrecht, Knud, and Laura A. Michaelis (1998). "Sentence accent in information questions: Default and projection". Linguistics & Philosophy 21:477-544.

Molnár, Valéria (1998). "Topic in Focus: On the syntax, phonology, semantics and pragmatics of the so-called 'contrastive topic' in Hungarian and German". Acta Linguistica Hungarica 45(1-2):89-166. The problem addressed is the "contrastive topic" which seem to fit comfortably neither with foci nor with topics. The claim is that contrastive topics are something like an "intersection" between topic and focus. This is quite a long paper; the more detailed synopsis will have to wait until I've read it more carefully.

Musyken, Pieter (1995). "Focus in Quechua". In É. Kiss (ed.), Discourse Configurational Languages. Oxford University Press. A review of many of the focus particles in Quecha. Particularly interested in "evidentials", and discusses some interactions between negation, evidentials, and questions. It's a very terse paper, with a lot of data and not a lot of theoretical "meat". Interestingly, Muysken marks "-taq" as a "contrast marker"; cf. Cole & Hermon's use of this as a "question marker" (marking islands containing wh-words, if I remember right). Same particle? Does this tell us anything?

Partee, Barbara (1999). "Focus, quantification, and semantics-pragmatics issues". In Bosch, Peter and Rob van der Sandt (eds.) Focus. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. This paper follows up Partee (1991), continuing the project of synthesizing Prague school and formal semantics perspectives. Puzzles considered are second occurrence focus (de-accented focus), revisiting the connection between focus structure and restriction (cf. Partee 1991), and a few questions about focus and scope (in particular, concerning Taglicht's only examples). The paper concludes with some generalizations about scope, focus, and background of focalizers and focus-sensitive operators.

Partee, Barbara (1991). "Topic, focus and quantification". SALT I. Quantification can be thought of as a tripartite structure (Operator, Restrictor, Nuclear Scope). The hypothesis is that syntax often underdetermines what goes into the Restrictor, but that focus structure can fill that void. Several cases are considered, all of which have in common that the material placed in the Restrictor have truth-conditional effects, and for which the focus structure seems to determine what goes into the Restrictor. In particular, the non-focus material ("focus-frame"/"background") goes into the Restrictor and the focused material goes into the Nuclear Scope. However, it is also true that in some cases, syntax and focus structure conflict over what they'd put in the Restrictor, and in such cases syntax "wins". One of the objectives of this paper is to synthesize the results of formal semantics (tripartite quantification structures) with the results of Prague school analyses (single topic-focus division with a scale of communicative dynamism). The paper ends on a fairly "open" note; it's not completely clear how the Prague school stuff fits in except in providing examples of phenomena and some vaguely explicated inspiration. Nor is it clear exactly how solid the generalizations are, although there do appear to be strong tendencies. The paper is at least a nice catalog of phenomena and suggestions for further exploration.

Portner, Paul, and Katsuhiko Yabushita (1998). "The semantics and pragmatics of topic phrases". Linguistics & Philosophy 21:117-157. An analysis of topics of the Japanese XP-wa type. Examples are provided from Japanese that show that topic marks where (in a sense) information updating will take place -- (setup: [A woman with a small child] came in. She-WA ordered CFS. Next [a man with a TR] came in. He-WA handed the the TR to her. Another man & woman came in, late. Ok: The woman who ordered CFS left first.; ??: The woman who the man had handed a TR left first. -- point: The good one refers to something asserted while the referent was the topic.). There is some mild criticism of "question-based" theories of topics (e.g., von Fintel 1994, Büring 1997), but then again, they also say that they are almost certainly using a different notion of "topic". P&Y discuss the inability of a straightforward "semantic" version of "file cards" in terms of common ground and context change to represent "aboutness" (The man-TOP met the woman induces the same context change as The woman-TOP met the man). They propose an extended version that models information as a pairing of entities and sets of possible worlds (that is, information about an entity), where the common ground is a set of these pairings. The paper overall seems to be primarily concerned with formulating a proper formal implementation of discourse information storage.

Rizzi, Luigi (1997). "The fine structure of the left periphery". In Haegeman, Liliane (ed.), Elements of grammar: Handbook in generative grammar. Dordrecht: Kluwer. Broadly, this is an argument for a "split-CP" along the lines of Pollock's (1989) "split-INFL". "CP" is responsible for clause typing (looking down from a higher clause) and for finiteness marking (looking up from IP). Hence, the split-CP has FinP at the lower end and ForceP at the upper end. Between are the elements of the "Topic-Focus" system (with a TopP and FocP). Rizzi runs down differences between topic and focus (resumptive pronouns, WCO, bare quantifiers, wh-phrases), also claiming (i) that there's one position for focus yet arbitrarily many topic positions, (ii) focus is quantificational while topic is not. Looking at ordering restrictions in Italian, Rizzi posits a single FocP between (iterable) TopPs. He considers several adjacency and anti-adjacency effects (mainly of topicalization) in terms of his split-CP structure, and does a brief comparison of English and French.

Roberts, Craige (1998). "Focus, information flow, and universal grammar". In Syntax and semantics vol. 29: The limits of syntax. Academic Press.

Rochemont, Michael S. (1986). Focus in generative grammar. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Rooth, Mats (1985). Association with focus. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Distributed by GLSA.

Rooth, Mats (199x). "On the interface principles for intonational focus" Semantics and Linguistic Theory VII.

Rooth, Mats (199x). "Ellipsis redundancy and reduction redundancy" Ms., Universität Stuttgart

Rooth, Mats (1992). "A theory of focus interpretation". Natural Language Semantics 1:75-116.

Rooth, Mats (1995). "Indefinites, adverbs of quantification, and focus semantics". In Pelletier, Francis J., and Gregory Carlson (eds.), The generic book. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Rooth, Mats (1996). "Focus". In Lappin, Shalom (ed.), The handbook of contemporary semantic theory. Oxford: Blackwell. Overview article. Reviews famous cases, introduces his squiggle operator and alternative semantics for focus. Discusses arguments for an in situ analysis of focus based on island constraints, but then concedes that a "scoping" (movement) theory might be just as good when interpretation of multiple foci is at issue. Closes with a discussion of whether focus carries an existential presupposition (conclusion: no).

Selkirk, Elisabeth (1995). "Sentence prosody: Intonation, stress, and phrasing". In Goldsmith, John (ed.), The handbook of phonological theory. Oxford: Blackwell. Addressing the problem of the semantics-prosody mapping with respect to focus marking. E.g., many different semantic focus markings will result in the same prosodic pattern: [Mary [bought [a book [about [BATS]]]]], yet only one will lead to [MARY] bought a book about bats. Selkirk proposes a system of (syntactic) licensing of "focus projection" of F-marking from smaller constituents (containing the prosodic prominence) to containing constituents. Various subtle amendments and verifications having to do with specifics of syntactic structure are undertaken to arrive at the final statement of Focus Projection. The second half of the paper covers phrasal stress, rhythmic effects, etc., and is less pertinent to our goal here.

Schwarzschild, Roger (1998). "GIVENness, AvoidF and other constraints on the placement of accent". Natural Language Semantics 7:141-177. Starts with a criticism of Selkirk's (1996) focus projection algorithm and the identification of F-marking with newness (and lack of F-marking with givenness). A more formal and adequate definition of "given" is then developed. The main analysis revolves around the GIVENness constraint (If not F-marked, a constituent is GIVEN) and an AvoidF constraint (F-mark as little as possible, without violating GIVENness). From this, Schwarzschild derives the focus marking on wh-answers (and touches on several other phenomena as well). The second part of the paper argues that (syntactic) focus projection is too restrictive, and that focus marking should actually be syntactically unconstrained, subject only to the two previously proposed constraints and two additional constraints: FOC (that F-marked nodes not dominated by an F-marked node must carry phonological accent) and HEADARG (a head is less prominent than its internal argument(s)). The last step is stating this as an Optimality Theoretic ranking (although no typological predictions are explored).

Schwarzschild, Roger (1997). "Why some foci must associate". Ms., Rutgers University.

Petr Sgall, Hajičová, Eva, and Jarmila Panevová (1986). The meaning of the sentence in its semantic and pragmatic aspects. Dordrecht: D. Reidel.

de Swart, Henriëtte and Helen de Hoop (1995). "Topic and focus". GLOT International 1(7):3-7. This is a short overview article covering various approaches to topic and focus phenomena. Covers a lot of ground, but very rapidly and without much introduction or explanation.

Truckenbrodt, Hubert (1999). "On the relation between syntactic phrases and phonological phrases". Linguistic Inquiry 30(2):219-255.

Tsimpli, Ianthi Maria (1995). "Focusing in Modern Greek". In É. Kiss (ed.), Discourse Configurational Languages. Oxford University Press. A very GB-style analysis of topic and focus in Modern Greek. Invokes a FocP to which foci move to satisfy a "criterion", and spends some time discussing the fact that wh-phrases and foci seem to land in the same place.

Vallduví, Enric and Elisabet Engdahl (1996). "The linguistic realization of information packaging". Linguistics 34:459-519. A sentence consists of a focus and a ground (aka "presupposition"); Ground can be split into link (aka "topic") and tail (non-topic, non- focus). The topic-ground marking behaviors of several languages (English, Catalan, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Turkish) are compared -- prosodic means (e.g., English B-accents marking links, A-accents marking focus) and syntactic means (e.g., Hungarian pre-verbal focus, pre-focus link; Catalan left-detached link, right-detached tail). Wrt Turkish, immediately preverbal focus is not due to focus movement but to ground evacuation (cf. Catalan). Also: focus-ground is different from assertion-presupposition (e.g. It is John who LEFT, with focus P=left, ground P(John), assertion left(J), presupposition left(x)). Observation: links in some languages seem to be necessarily D-linked/partitive.

Vallduví, Enric and Maria Vilkuna (1998). "On rheme and kontrast". In Syntax and semantics vol. 29: The limits of syntax. Academic Press. Rheme and Kontrast must be distinguished (where Rheme is basically non-topic, allowing for topicless sentences, and Kontrast is something which make a contrast set available for semantic computation). Topics can be either kontrastive or not; Rheme and Kontrast are independent features. Kontrast is claimed (not argued) not to be inherently exhaustive. Differences in exhaustiveness are not really addressed. Finnish: [+K] to CP, [-K,-Rh] to IP, [+K,+Rh] stay in VP. Hungarian: [-Rh] to far-left, [+K,+Rh] to medium-left, [-K,+Rh] stay in IP/VP. Catalan: [-Rh] out of IP (left or right adjoined), [+K,+Rh] to SpecIP, [-K,+Rh] stay in IP.

Wold, Dag (1998). "How to interpret multiple foci without moving a focused constituent". In Elena Benedicto, Maribel Romero, and Satoshi Tomioka (eds.), UMOP 21: Proceedings of workshop on focus. University of Massachusetts, Amherst: GLSA.

Wold, Dag (1996). "Long distance selective binding: The case of focus". In Galloway, T. and J. Spence (eds.), SALT VI. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University.

Zubizarreta, Maria Luisa (1998). Prosody, focus, and word order. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Info
Syllabus
Bibliography
Online resources

Return to Paul Hagstrom's home page.

Mail: hagstrom@jhu.edu

Various online resources, home pages, etc.
This is partly just a place for me to keep track of where I found some of the papers that I put online above. These links include home pages of authors whose work we are looking at, web resource lists, journal home pages.


GLSA Publications -- Purveyor of fine UMOP & NELS volumes, and UMass dissertations.

Web resources on semantics and pragmatics. A list kind of like this one, collected and maintained by Kai von Fintel.
Rutgers Optimality Archive. There are a few papers about word order and information structure. Try searching for "focus".

Linguistics & Philosophy. If your university subscribes, you can download articles.
Natural Language & Linguistic Theory. If your university subscribes, you can download articles.
Natural Language Semantics. If your university subscribes, you can download articles.

Daniel Büring. Homepage, with downloadable papers. Here's his older one.
Kai von Fintel. Homepage, with downloadable papers.
Manfred Krifka. Homepage, a few downloadable papers (under "Articles").
Mats Rooth. Homepage, several downloadable papers (prepublication versions).
Roger Schwarzschild. Homepage, several downloadable papers.
Arnim von Stechow. Homepage, several downloadable papers.