Expression of narrow focus in spontaneous Estonian dialogues

Heete Sahkai
2017 Eesti ja Soome-ugri Keeleteaduse Ajakiri  
Estonian offers several means for expressing narrow focus, including a choice between a syntactic strategy resulting in marked constituent order, and a prosodic strategy resulting in marked nuclear accent placement. The present study examines the usage of the different focus-marking strategies in spontaneous dialogues, with the primary aim of verifying the hypothesis that when either the syntactic or the prosodic strategy must be used, the prosodic strategy is preferred. The results show an
more » ... results show an overwhelming preference for keeping both the constituent order and the accent placement unmarked. In the relatively small number of cases where either the syntactic or the prosodic strategy must be chosen, a slight preference for the prosodic strategy can be observed. There also exists a minor strategy of focus fronting, whereby both the constituent order and the nuclear accent placement are marked; the role of this strategy requires further study.
doi:10.12697/jeful.2017.8.2.12 fatcat:ehpqgynkd5a3zmftdbi2arpmee