9.1651, Sum: Focus Condition on Heavy Shift

LINGUIST Network linguist at linguistlist.org
Fri Nov 20 16:55:05 UTC 1998


LINGUIST List:  Vol-9-1651. Fri Nov 20 1998. ISSN: 1068-4875.

Subject: 9.1651, Sum: Focus Condition on Heavy Shift

Moderators: Anthony Rodrigues Aristar: Wayne State U.<aristar at linguistlist.org>
            Helen Dry: Eastern Michigan U. <hdry at linguistlist.org>
            Andrew Carnie: U. of Arizona <carnie at linguistlist.org>

Reviews: Andrew Carnie: U. of Arizona <carnie at linguistlist.org>

Associate Editors:  Martin Jacobsen <marty at linguistlist.org>
                    Brett Churchill <brett at linguistlist.org>
                    Ljuba Veselinova <ljuba at linguistlist.org>

Assistant Editors:  Scott Fults <scott at linguistlist.org>
		    Jody Huellmantel <jody at linguistlist.org>
		    Karen Milligan <karen at linguistlist.org>

Software development: John H. Remmers <remmers at emunix.emich.edu>
                      Chris Brown <chris at linguistlist.org>

Home Page:  http://linguistlist.org/


Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <karen at linguistlist.org>

=================================Directory=================================

1)
Date:  Fri, 20 Nov 1998 09:31:20 +0100
From:  "Carsten Breul" <c.breul at uni-bonn.de>
Subject:  Sum: Focus condition on Heavy Shift

-------------------------------- Message 1 -------------------------------

Date:  Fri, 20 Nov 1998 09:31:20 +0100
From:  "Carsten Breul" <c.breul at uni-bonn.de>
Subject:  Sum: Focus condition on Heavy Shift

Dear all

In LINGUIST 9.1618, I posted the following query:

There seems to be a focus condition for Heavy Shift
constructions such that the shifted constituent has to be
the focus expression (or contains the focus expression) to
be acceptable/grammatical.

My question is whether marked sentence accentuation
may override this requirement. That is, is it possible to
say e.g.

(1) Kelly bought for SAM a brand new computer.
 or
(2) KELLY bought for Sam a brand new computer.?

Here, heavy (contrastive) stress is put on 'Sam'/'Kelly' in
order to prosodically mark them as the focus expressions
with the object shifted at the same time.

I have received 6 replies (all by native speakers of English,
as far as I can tell). Once again a big THANK YOU to them
all.

It seems that for one or two of the informants my question
does not make sense. This is either because they do not
accept the construction 'buy something for somebody'
(instead of 'buy somebody something') in the first place, or
because I have not made clear enough what I am getting at in
the formulation of the query. (By the way, I took the
sentences from an article by Michael Shaun Rochemont
("Phonological focus and structural focus", in. Culicover,
Peter W. & McNally, Louise (eds.) 1998. _Syntax and
Semantics_. Vol. 29. _The Limits of Syntax_. San Diego et
al.: Academic Press. 337-363. The only thing I changed is
capitalisation to indicate heavy stress on the names. To my
knowledge, Rochemont is a native speaker of English.)

For 3 of the remaining 4 informants, sentence (1) is o.k. if
highly marked and in need of a proper communicative
situation. One of these 3 made a distinction between (1)
and (2), i.e. accepted (1) but could not think of a situation
where (2) would be appropriate.

Dr. Carsten Breul
Englisches Seminar
Universitaet Bonn
Regina-Pacis-Weg 5
53113 Bonn
Germany
e-mail: c.breul at uni-bonn.de

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
LINGUIST List: Vol-9-1651



More information about the Linguist mailing list