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Title: Focus constructions in Kirundi
Authors: Edenmyr, Niklas
Keywords: African Languages
Niger-Congo Languages
Atlantic-Congo Languages
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: Stockholm University
Abstract: This study deals with sentence constructions and the pragmatic function of ‘focus’. The study aims at providing an inventory of morphosyntactic focus constructions in Kirundi, a Bantu lan-guage of eastern Africa, using a classification suggested by Watters (2000). Four underlying morphosyntactic constructions are identified for Kirundi: word order, verbal marking, focus particles (words), and cleft constructions. The constructions are also discussed in terms of ‘scope of focus’, i.e. what part of the clause that is in focus, and their pragmatic type of “use”. These two issues are addressed using the classificatory description of Dik’s (1997a, b) Functional Grammar. The results show differ-ences between constructions as to their scope and type, where some constructions (e.g. the verbal marker -ra-) are very limited in their range, while others have a wider distribution (e.g. cleft constructions). Conversely, some categories (e.g. ‘term scope’ and ‘Replacing Focus’) encompass many different construc-tions, whereas only a single construction may be used for others (e.g. ‘predicate focus’ and ‘Rejecting Focus’).
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