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Information StructureTheoretical, Typological, and Experimental Perspectives$
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Malte Zimmermann and Caroline Féry

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570959

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570959.001.0001

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Focus in Aghem *

Focus in Aghem *

(p.206) 9 Focus in Aghem*
Information Structure

Larry M. Hyman

Maria Polinsky

Oxford University Press

Chapter 9 ‘Focus in Aghem’ by Larry M. Hyman and Maria Polinsky presents a new analysis of syntactic focus marking in the West African language Aghem. The main characteristic of focus marking in Aghem is that focused constituents must occur in an immediately postverbal position, the IAV (immediately after verb). The authors propose that the IAV is not a designated structural (focus) position in which focus constituents must be located, e.g. by way of movement into Spec,FocP in recent cartographic approaches. Instead, it is argued that a covert focus operator in the left periphery of the clause associates with the most deeply embedded element inside the verbal projection. In the default case, the most deeply embedded constituent will be the direct object, accounting for object focus and VP focus. If another constituent is focused, the (lexical) object NP is removed from inside the VP, by means of an evacuating movement operation to the left, or by means of right‐dislocation.

Keywords:   Aghem, focus, immediate postverbal position (IAV), focus operator, tone

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