[Lingtyp] copula as focus marker

Kofi Yakpo kofi at hku.hk
Mon Mar 13 04:40:49 UTC 2023

Dear Christian,

Focus and (identity-equative) copula interactions/isomorphy are also a
hallmark of much of Niger-Congo and has therefore been imposed in on many
(most?) Afro-European contact languages of Africa (e.g. Krio, Pichi, West
African Pidgin, Kriyol and the Americas (all English-lexifier Creoles,
Haitian, and many Spanish varieties spoken by African-descended majority

Here are two publications (and references there):

Dr Kofi Yakpo • Associate Professor
Chair of Linguistics <http://www.linguistics.hku.hk/> • University of Hong
Kong <http://arts.hku.hk/>
My publications @ zenodo
<https://zenodo.org/search?page=1&size=20&q=yakpo&sort=-publication_date> •
 My Page <http://hub.hku.hk/cris/rp/rp01715>

Recently published:
Creole prosodic systems are areal, not simple
Social entrenchment influences the amount of areal borrowing
Unidirectional multilingual convergence
Two types of language contact involving English Creoles

On Mon, Mar 13, 2023 at 4:27 AM Christian Lehmann <
christian.lehmann at uni-erfurt.de> wrote:

> Dear colleagues,
> the literature available to me adduces a Caribbean Spanish example of what
> I am looking for:
> Juan compró fue un libro.
> John bought was a book
> 'A book is what John bought.'
> The copula here separates the topical portion of the clause from the
> comment portion, including importantly the focus (to which this portion
> reduces in the example). Different sources of such a construction are
> conceivable, for instance a pseudo-cleft:
> Lo que Juan compró fue un libro.
> it that John bought was a book
> 'What John bought was a book.'
> What concerns me at the moment, however, is the bare copula in the
> function of a focus marker. I am sure I have seen or heard sentences like
> the following in Portuguese:
> O João comprou foi um livro.
> or with neutralization of tense and, thus, reduction to the default form
> of the copula:
> O João comprou é um livro.
> However, I cannot seem to find evidence for this, neither primary data nor
> linguistic treatments of it. Could you please help me out? Both references
> to the linguistic literature and examples, preferably from Portuguese, but
> also from any other language (I do have data from Mandarin!) would be
> welcome.
> Thanks in advance,
> Christian
> --
> Prof. em. Dr. Christian Lehmann
> Rudolfstr. 4
> 99092 Erfurt
> Deutschland
> Tel.: +49/361/2113417
> E-Post: christianw_lehmann at arcor.de
> Web: https://www.christianlehmann.eu
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