Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Sound Patterns of Syntax$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Nomi Erteschik-Shir and Lisa Rochman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199556861

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199556861.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 September 2021

Focus as a grammatical notion: A case study in autism *

Focus as a grammatical notion: A case study in autism *

(p.317) 15 Focus as a grammatical notion: A case study in autism*
The Sound Patterns of Syntax

Kriszta Szendrői

Oxford University Press

Proper identification of the focus of an utterance is essential for discourse to proceed adequately. But how does the hearer identify the focus intended by the speaker? It is well‐known that the focal constituent carries prosodic prominence, usually pitch accent. The question at the heart of this paper is how the hearer associates such accents with the notion focus. Is there a deductive step involved or is this an automated, grammatical process. I investigate the issue from a psycholinguistic perspective. In particular, I carried out a case study with an autistic speaker. I argue that given the general communicative breakdown associated with autism, the fact that this speaker uses focus adequately shows that focus is more than a domain‐general communicative device. It must be a notion encoded in the grammar. If correct, such psycholinguistic evidence helps solidify the foundations of theoretical linguistic notions such as focus.

Keywords:   focus, autism, communicative device, grammar, modularity

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .