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Issues in the Left Periphery

A Typological Approach to Topic and Focus Constructions

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Sonja Ermisch

The study aims at examining current linguistic theories on information structure such as Rizzi‘s cartographic approach and modifications thereof in the light of empirical data. The author provides a preliminary overview on topic and focus constructions in a number of mostly European languages and then concentrates on two languages from West Africa, Akan and Ewe, in which focussed and topicalized constituents are overtly marked. On the basis of the data from these African languages the author modifies the preliminary topic and focus typology, discusses cases which cannot be accounted for by the theoretical assumptions put forward in the cartographic approach and challenges the interchangeability of the concepts of «concord» and «agreement».
Contents: Information Structure – Cartographic Approach – Topic Constructions – Focus Constructions – African Languages – Concord – Agreement.