16 May 2012
Venue: Room 408 (DALSL meeting room), Arts 1 (Building 206)
Host: Karsten Koch, University of Calgary
Using Thompson River Salish to illustrate, I consider some potential prosodic, semantic and syntactic consequences of a syntactic focus marking system (as opposed to a prosodic focus marking system as found in English). These include (i) the ability to have phonologically reduced or even null foci, (ii) clefts that necessarily lack the exhaustivity and presuppositional semantics of English clefts, (iii) focus sensitive operators (e.g. 'only, even, also') that are necessarily predicative, and cannot associate with nominals like in English (e.g. "Only Bill ate your cake"), (iv) the inability to have more than one focus per clause (no "second occurrence focus"), and (v) predicate-argument flexibility. These findings suggest that the focus marking system employed in a given language may have consequences for numerous aspects of the grammar.