Project B7 (Güldemann)

Predicate-centered focus types: A sample-based typological study in African languages


The project "Predicate-centered focus types: A sample-based typological study in African languages" is a continuation of the project B7 which started in September 2009. It investigates predicate-centered focus types from a typological perspective, sampling more than 20 diverse African languages. This sample will be partly extended in the present application phase. Based on the results obtained so far, we will focus in this phase on the following topics:

(1) Encoding of predicate-centered focus in affirmative main clauses: Our previous research will be continued and extended concerning the investigation of the formal and functional relationships between predicate-centered focus types and other focus types, the functions of predicate-centered focus types in discourse, the organization of TA systems in single languages with respect to predicate-centered focus,and the syntactic properties of focus structures.

(2) Predicate-centered focus in clause types other than affirmative main clauses including clause linkage: We extend the questions developed in phase 1 for affirmative main clauses to other clause types, especially relevant for predicate-centered focus, such as (i) negative main clauses, (ii) selected subordinate clauses, and (iii) yes-no interrogatives.

(3) Synchronic variation and diachronic development of predicate-centered focus: We aim to deepen our investigation by researching its dynamics in terms of (i) possible influence of language contact, namely among languages of eastern Mali, and (ii) its stability and variation within a genealogical language group, viz. the Bantu family.

An overarching goal of the 2nd phase is the development of a cross-linguistic data base on predicate-centered focus which will bring the data of the project and other sources into a unified format and annotation scheme and will be searchable for different parameters.

Website of project B7 hosted by Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin link

Full description 3rd phase SFB 632 / B7 (extract from the proposal) pdficon small


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