Topic and Focus Markers in Spanish, Portuguese and French
Table Of Contents
- About the author
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- 1 Introduction and outline
- 2 Previous research on information structure
- 2.1 Previous research on information structure in general
- 2.2 Previous research on information structure in Spanish
- 2.3 Previous research on information structure in Portuguese
- 2.4 Previous research on information structure in French
- 2.5 Summary
- 3 The nature of topic and focus markers
- 3.1 On how to define topic and focus markers
- 3.2 The question of grammaticalization, lexicalization, pragmaticalization and constructionalization
- 4 Methodology and aims of the study
- 4.1 Aims of the study
- 4.2 Methodology
- 4.3 The notion of procedural meaning
- 5 Topic and focus markers in Spanish
- 5.1 The topic marker con respecto a/de
- 5.1.1 Quantitative analysis
- 5.1.2 Qualitative analysis
- 5.1.3 Summary
- 5.2 The topic marker con respecto a/de
- 5.2.1 Quantitative analysis
- 5.2.2 Qualitative analysis
- 5.2.3 Summary
- 5.3 The focus marker lo que
- 5.3.1 Quantitative analysis
- 5.3.2 Qualitative analysis
- 5.3.3 Summary
- 5.4 Other Spanish topic markers
- 5.4.1 acerca de
- 5.4.2 referente a
- 5.4.3 en torno a
- 5.5 Other Spanish focus markers
- 5.5.1 Clefts and pseudo-clefts
- 5.5.2 Other strategies of ‘focusing’
- 5.6 Summary on topic and focus markers in Spanish
- 6 Topic and focus markers in Portuguese
- 6.1 The topic marker quanto a
- 6.2 The topic markers a respeito de and com respeito a
- 6.3 The topic marker a propósito de
- 6.4 Clefts and pseudo-clefts
- 6.5 Summary on topic and focus markers in Portuguese
- 7 Topic and focus markers in French
- 7.1 The topic marker quant à
- 7.2 The topic markers au niveau de and à propos de
- 7.3 Clefts and pseudo-clefts
- 7.4 Summary on topic and focus markers in French
- 8 Conclusion and outlook
- 8.1 General considerations
- 8.2 Results of the study
- 8.3 Outlook
- 9 References
- Series index
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E-ISBN 978-3-631-82394-1 (MOBI)
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About the author
Anja Hennemann has been a research associate at the Department of Romance Studies in the Field of Romance Linguistics in the University of Potsdam, Germany since 2009. She did her PhD in 2012 and habilitated in 2019.
About the book
Topic and Focus Markers in Spanish,
Portuguese and French
This book is concerned with the diachronic development of selected topic and focus markers in Spanish, Portuguese and French. On the one hand, it focuses on the development of these structures from their relational meaning to their topic-/ focus-marking meaning, and on the other hand, it is concerned with their current form und use. Thus, Romance topic and focus markers – such as sp. en cuanto a, pt. a propósito de, fr. au niveau de or sentence-initial sp. Lo que as well as clefts and pseudo-clefts – are investigated from a quantitative and qualitative perspective. The author argues that topic markers have procedural meaning and that their function is bound to their syntactic position. An important contribution of this study is the fact that real linguistic evidence (in the form of data from various corpora) is analyzed instead of operating with constructed examples.
This eBook can be cited
This edition of the eBook can be cited. To enable this we have marked the start and end of a page. In cases where a word straddles a page break, the marker is placed inside the word at exactly the same position as in the physical book. This means that occasionally a word might be bifurcated by this marker.
This book is a revised version of my habilitation thesis, which I submitted in May 2018. The work is – no doubt – still not perfect, but it contains interesting observations on lexical topic and focus markers. I have tried to “process” all critical comments and remarks both internally and in writing.
Berlin, March 2020
In the published version of my PhD thesis I began by expressing my deep gratitude to my “scientific mom” Prof. Dr. Gerda Haßler. I said that I appreciate her expertise, her helpfulness and especially her sometimes very critical but helpful comments she gave me during and after the whole writing process. And here, in these “Acknowledgments” I shall begin in the same vein. So many, many thanks (again), Gerda! I really appreciate what you have done for me during all these years of working together.
Furthermore, I would like to express my gratitude to Prof. Dr. Carsten Sinner, Prof. Dr. Ralph Ludwig and Prof. Dr. Daniel Jacob. I have benefited greatly from their insightful comments and even more from their criticisms.
I also thank my friend and colleague Dr. Verónica Böhm. She always had an ear (as well as eyes) for my (linguistic) problems and was always willing to discuss examples with me. Another big Thank You goes to Prof. Dr. Claudia Schlaak, Dr. Hans-Jörg Döhla and Dr. Felix Tacke. I thank them for their help, (moral) support and, above all, for simply being somehow at my side.
Just as during my work on my dissertation, now during the writing process for my habilitation I have received a great deal of support from certain other people. Among these people are my parents and Marcus Neuß. I remain grateful to be surrounded by the people close to me, and I am now surrounded by even more people: my three sons Pepe, Jesper and Piet.
2 Previous research on information structure
2.1 Previous research on information structure in general
2.2 Previous research on information structure in Spanish
2.3 Previous research on information structure in Portuguese
2.4 Previous research on information structure in French
3 The nature of topic and focus markers
3.1 On how to define topic and focus markers
3.2 The question of grammaticalization, lexicalization, pragmaticalization and constructionalization
4 Methodology and aims of the study
4.3 The notion of procedural meaning
5 Topic and focus markers in Spanish
5.1 The topic marker en cuanto a
5.2 The topic marker con respecto a/de
5.4 Other Spanish topic markers
5.5 Other Spanish focus markers
5.5.1 Clefts and pseudo-clefts
5.5.2 Other strategies of ‘focusing’
5.6 Summary on topic and focus markers in Spanish
6 Topic and focus markers in Portuguese
6.2 The topic markers a respeito de and com respeito a
6.3 The topic marker a propósito de
6.5 Summary on topic and focus markers in Portuguese
7 Topic and focus markers in French
7.2 The topic markers au niveau de and à propos de
7.4 Summary on topic and focus markers in French
1 Introduction and outline
This study is concerned with one aspect of information structure, i.e. the packaging of information in both oral and written conversation (cf. Féry/Krifka 2008, Chafe 1976 or Vallduví/Engdahl 1996), and in particular with explicit lexical topic and focus markers.
The study’s focus is primarily on the diachronic development of selected topic and focus markers in Spanish, Portuguese and French. More precisely, the present study deals with the procedural meaning of certain expressions that can also function as topic- and focus-marking structures. On the one hand, the study concentrates on the development of these structures from their relational meaning1 to their topic-/focus-marking meaning, and on the other hand, it is concerned with the current form and use of some selected topic and focus markers.
The aims of the study are diverse: On the one hand, Romance topic and focus markers, such as sp. en cuanto a, pt. a propósito de, fr. au niveau de or sentence-initial sp. Lo que, are investigated from a quantitative and qualitative perspective. In particular, the topic markers are described at the formal level, also showing their characteristics, their use, their restrictions of use and their syntactic behavior. The study argues that topic markers have procedural meaning (to a certain extent) and that their meaning/function is bound to their syntactic position. On the other hand, the insights of other studies are critically surveyed and summarized, whereby some quantitative and qualitative analyses are added in order to verify, refute or sometimes simply enrich the discussed studies and data. Hence, at the theoretical level, this study combines syntactic and pragmatic/functional analyses, and at the methodological level, it combines quantitative and qualitative analyses.
The study’s overall theoretical aim is to contribute to the synchronic and diachronic investigation of information-structural phenomena in the Romance languages Spanish, Portuguese and French. The information-structural means dealt with are selected topic and focus markers as well as focus constructions such as clefts and pseudo-clefts. It is not my intention to investigate the information structure as a complex and multi-layered phenomenon (including word ←15 | 16→order and prosodic markings). Rather, I concentrate on the question of how certain lexical elements, which can also have other functions, became topic and focus markers and how they fulfill this function.
This study is structured as follows: In the first part, after giving an overview of previous research on information structure as well as related information-structural concepts (2–2.5), a brief discussion of the nature of topic and focus markers (3–3.1) and the development of topic and focus markers as a case of grammaticalization, lexicalization or pragmaticalization (3.2) is provided. In Chapter 4, I formulate the aims of the present study (4.1) and clarify my methodological approach to the topic and focus markers (4.2), which are the object of study. In this context the procedural-meaning hypothesis is presented (Chapter 4.3) because I start out from the assumption that especially topic markers have different meanings according to their syntactic position. Thus, Chapter 4.3 concludes the introductory and theoretical part of the present study.
- ISBN (PDF)
- ISBN (ePUB)
- ISBN (MOBI)
- ISBN (Hardcover)
- Publication date
- 2020 (July)
- Corpus analysis Quantitative analysis Qualitative analysis Procedural meaning Synchronic perspective Diachronic perspective
- Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 310 pp., 2 fig. b/w, 32 tables