[Lingtyp] Topic and focus markers with other functions

LIU Danqing liudanq at yahoo.com
Sat Aug 3 03:34:00 UTC 2019

 Dear All:
  In Mandarin Chinese, as well as in other Chinese dialects, a topic can be followed by a topic particle chosen from the inventory of topic markers. Most topic markers come from sentence final particles, particularly from question particles, such as me/ma, a, ne, ba in Mandarin, and have semantic connection with SFPs, but they have obviously different functions when serving as topic markers and as SFPs. For instance, there is no force function (interrogative, imperative, etc.) in their usage as topic markers. 

   Danqing Liu

    On Thursday, August 1, 2019, 7:09:52 AM GMT+8, Frederick J Newmeyer <fjn at uw.edu> wrote:  

Dear Lingtyp,


I am looking for examples where topic markers or focusmarkers in some language are clearly members of some broad morphosyntacticcategory.


Let me give an example involving negatives of the sort of thingthat I am looking for. Negative elements in various languages are the often membersof a broader category: in Estonian negative particles are auxiliaries, inTongan they are complement-taking verbs, in English they are adverbs, and soon.


So what I am looking for are parallel examples with topic andfocus markers: cases where a reasonable analysis would assign them to somebroader category.





Frederick J. Newmeyer
Professor Emeritus, University of Washington
Adjunct Professor, U of British Columbia and Simon Fraser U
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