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Title: Intonation, Word Order and Focus Projection in Serbo-Croatian
Authors: Godjevac, Svetlana
Keywords: Indo-European Languages
Balto-Slavic Languages
Issue Date: 2000
Publisher: Ohio State University
Abstract: It is well established in the literature that focus and prosodic prominence are related. How-ever. the nature of this relationship is still under debate. The standard assumption (Selkirk, 1984, 1995: Rochemont, 1986. 1998, among many others) is that this relationship, also known as focus projection, is syntactically constrained. However, this assumption has not done unchallenged (Schwarzschild, 1999: Chapman, 1998: Kadmon, 2000). In this thesis I present Serbo-Croatian data that bear on the focus-prominence relation. By integrating a detailed intonational study with syntactic and semantic analyses, the picture that emerges of the focus system in Serbo-Croatian is one in which prosodic cues and word order pro-vide separate but related cues for indicating focus. I show that these two types of focus marking (prosodic vs. positional), although complementary in many ways, can be unified by the same set of constraints on focus projection. This set of constraints is a modified version of the Selkirk/Rochemont style Focus Projection Algorithm. The constraints in-clude sensitivity to argument structure, semantic type of focus exponent, and word order. This result then argues in favor of a syntactically constrained relationship between focus marking and focus. In particular, using the notion of syntactic constituency seems to be the most parsimonious way to account for constraints governing word order. If this con-clusion is accepted it also has consequences for the syntactic representation of scrambling. One of the main claims of the thesis is that focus projection in a language that has a posi-tional focus is sensitive to argument structure. This is surprising given that most research on other languages with a positional focus (Kiss. 1995: Zubizarreta. 1998: Kidwai. 2000) imply absence of this constraint.
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