[Lingtyp] "grammatically encoded" - answer to Christian

Christian Lehmann christian.lehmann at uni-erfurt.de
Fri Mar 10 20:06:51 UTC 2023

Dear Kasper,

the clearest cases of focusing are cleft-sentences. At the same time, it 
is clear that many sentence components are not amenable to clefting, and 
many of those that are not are nevertheless lexical rather than 
grammatical. Thus I suppose focusability will not, for your purposes, be 
operationalized as amenability to clefting.

Thus you need to consider milder forms of focusing. If contrastive 
stress counts, then it remains true that many items that have otherwise 
been regarded as grammatical can bear contrastive stress. Think of 
exchanges such as this:

Will you do it? - I *would* do it if [so and so].

In my understanding, what is focused here is exactly the conditional 
modality, so what is stressed is its expression.

My attempt at a definition may seem circular until I spell out how 
constraints on the distribution of items and classes of items are 
formulated and quantified. (It has probably been done somewhere in the 
literature.) This is independent of a prior definition of 'grammar'; it 
just refers to cooccurrence of items in constructions. When I have 
spelled out some cases, I may take the liberty of sending you the URL.

Allow me to repeat that if you take grammaticalization seriously as a 
gradual phenomenon, then grammatical status, too, is not a yes-or-no 
matter, but rather one of degree. Consequently, no single binary 
criterion like focusability will suffice for its operationalization.




Prof. em. Dr. Christian Lehmann
Rudolfstr. 4
99092 Erfurt

Tel.: 	+49/361/2113417
E-Post: 	christianw_lehmann at arcor.de
Web: 	https://www.christianlehmann.eu
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/lingtyp/attachments/20230310/ba2a4d9e/attachment.htm>

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list