focus morphemes

Wolfgang Schulze W.Schulze at LRZ.UNI-MUENCHEN.DE
Wed Oct 7 08:27:59 UTC 1998

Peter Bakker wrote:

> Many languages have special positions in the sentence for focussed
> constituent. But how common is explicit morphological marking of
> focus? The only languages I am aware of  are Aghem (NigerCongo,
> Cameroon), Somali (AfroAsiatic) and Philippine languages (Tagalog),
> perhaps also Malagasy (Austronesian) and  Akan (Kwa). Can anybody
> tell me how common or uncommon this is or provide references to
> literature or other languages?

Udi as well as some other East Caucasian languages have developed
(sometimes quite sophisticated) systems of morphological marking of
focus. Alice Harris from Vanderbil University currently prepares a very
important book on Udi focus marking techniques ((working) title
"Endoclitics and the origin of Udi morphosyntax"). This book will tell
you the whole story of Udi (including an extensive bibliography), so
it's unneccessary to get into details here. You should consult this book
immediately as soon as it is out of press and/or directly contact Alice.
Focus problems in East Caucasian are also adressed (in more general
terms) in my book "Person-Klasse-Kongruenz. Fragmente einer
Kategorialtypologie des einfachen Satzes in den ostkaukasischen
Sprachen" (vol. 1 (in two parts) "Die Grundlagen") which will appear at
LINCOM (Munich) the next week (I hope). I will discuss the morphological
techniques of focus marking in East Caucasian (beyond the Udi data) more
specifically in vol.5 of this series ("Szenen und Szenarien") as well as
in a paper ("The Pragmatics of Noun Classification") that will hopefully
be ready in winter. The paper deals with (noun) class markers in East
Caucasian that are co-paradigmatisized with respect to agreement and
focus (I can give you some more deatils, in case you need them now).
I hope this hepls!


Prof. Dr. Wolfgang SCHULZE
Institut für Allgemeine und Indogermanische
Sprachwissenschaft * Universität München
Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1 * D-80539 München
Tel.: +89-2180 2486

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