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Aspects of the Grammar of Focus

A Minimalist View


Przemyslaw Tajsner

The book examines the aspects of focus within the recent minimalist paradigm. Focus is viewed here as a grammar’s response to the requirements of the systems external to (narrowly defined) language. Thus, the properties of focus are explored at the two interfaces: syntax-phonology and syntax-semantics. The book surveys some recent views on the interface and left-periphery status of focus. With respect to the semantics of focus, the book argues for its tripartite division into: information, non-exhaustive identification, and exhaustive identification. It further contains a proposal of the phase-based derivation of sentences featuring focus in English, and finally, offers an account of Polish, in which focus interestingly correlates with the phenomenon of scrambling.
Contents: Focus – The Minimalist Program – Syntax – Grammar – Nuclear Stress – Syntax-phonology Interface – Syntax-semantics Interface – Left-periphery – Topic – Phases – Derivation by Phases – Scrambling – Spell Out – Cleft Sentences – Emphatic Stress – Probe-goal – Agree – Interface Condition – Last Resort – Feature Checking – Tropicalization – Functional Heads – Information Structure.