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Share Paper 2144

Evaluating the Immediate Postverbal Position as a Focus Position in Zulu
Leston Buell
166-172 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


It has been claimed that in Bantu languages a focused element must occur in the IAV (Immediately After the Verb) linear position, which in turn has been argued by some to constitute a syntactic focus position below IP. This paper examines the extent to which the IAV linear position is obligatory for focalised elements in Zulu. The correlation is found to be strong but not absolute for narrow focus, while the correlation is found not to hold for presentational focus. Other syntactic properties of narrow focus are also identified. It is argued that equating the IAV linear position with a hierarchical syntactic position does not adequately account for the data. Building on Hyman and Polinsky (2007) for Aghem and Cheng and Downing (2006) for Zulu, it is argued that focused elements receive their focal interpretation in situ in the verb phrase, but that focus drives the extraposition of elements that are given.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference on African Linguistics: Linguistic Theory and African Language Documentation
edited by Masangu Matondo, Fiona Mc Laughlin, and Eric Potsdam
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Printed edition: $280.00