Left peripheral focus

Gisbert Fanselow, Denisa Lenertová
In Czech, German, and many other languages, part of the semantic focus of the utterance can be moved to the left periphery of the clause. The main generalization is that only the leftmost accented part of the semantic focus can be moved. We propose that movement to the left periphery is generally triggered by an unspecific edge feature of C (Chomsky 2008) and its restrictions can be attributed to requirements of cyclic linearization, modifying the theory of cyclic linearization developed by Fox
more » ... and Pesetsky (2005). The crucial assumption is that structural accent is a direct consequence of being linearized at merge, thus it is indirectly relevant for (locality restrictions on) movement. The absence of structural accent correlates with given-ness. Given elements may later receive (topic or contrastive) accents, which accounts for fronting in multiple focus/contrastive topic constructions. Without any additional assumptions, the model can account for movement of pragmatically unmarked elements to the left periphery ('formal fronting', Frey 2005). Crucially, the analysis makes no reference at all to concepts of information structure in the syntax, in line with the claim of Chomsky (2008) that UG specifies no direct link between syntax and information structure.
doi:10.25932/publishup-42819 fatcat:7ahxabjvjrb47hqoxz4ll3mhx4