SFB 632-III: Predicate-centered focus types: A sample-based typological study in African languages (Teilprojekt B 07)

The present project 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 partly be extended in the present application phase. It is the only remai¬ning project with a typological approach in the SFB. Based on the results obtained so far, we will focus in the new phase on the following topics, for which not all the languages in our sample will be relevant: Topic 1: Phase-1 continuation - Encoding of predicate-centered focus in affirmative main clauses Our previous research will be continued and extended concerning the investigation of: - the functions of predicate-centered focus types in discourse; - the organization of tense/aspect (TA) systems in individual languages with respect to predicate-centered focus; - complex predicate structures; - syntactic properties of focus structures. Topic 2: Predicate-centered focus in clause types other than affirmative main clauses (I. Fiedler) 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 and alternative questions. Topic 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 (here among languages of eastern Mali, K. Prokhorov) and (ii) its stability and variation within a genealogical language group (here Bantu languages, Y. Morimoto). An overarching goal of the 2nd phase is the development of a cross-linguistic data base on predicate-centered focus. This data base is designed to bring the data of the project and other sources into a unified format and annotation scheme, being searchable for different parameters and ensuring the sustainability of the data.

Principal Investigators
Güldemann, Tom Prof. Dr. phil. (Details) (Collaborative Research Centres, Participations)

Duration of Project
Start date: 07/2011
End date: 06/2015

Chiarcos, Christian, Fiedler, Ines, Grubic, Mira, Haida, Andreas, Hartmann, Katharina, Ritz, Julia, Schwarz, Anne, Zeldes, Amir and Malte Zimmermann. 2011. Information structure in African Languages: Corpora and Tools. In Language Ressources and Evaluation 45,3: 361-374 (Special issue on African language technology), DOI: 10.1007/s10579-011-9153-0.
Fiedler, Ines and Anne Schwarz. 2009. Focal aspects of the verb system of Lelemi. Journal of West African Languages 36,1-2: 57-74.
Fiedler, Ines and Anne Schwarz (eds.). 2010. The Expression of Information Structure. A documentation of its diversity across Africa. (Typological Studies in Language 91). Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Güldemann, Tom. 2010. The relation between focus and theticity in the Tuu family. In Fiedler and Schwarz (eds.), 69-94.
Schwarz, Anne. 2010. Verb- and- predication focus markers in Gur. In Fiedler and Schwarz (eds.), 287-314.
Fiedler, Ines. in press. Verb Focus in Aja. Proceedings of the 26th West African Linguistics Congress (WALC), July 28 - August 3, 2008, Winneba, Ghana.
Fiedler, Ines. accepted. Predication focus in Gbe. Proceedings of the 6th World Congress on African Linguistics (WOCAL), August 17-21, 2009, Cologne, Germany.
Schwarz, Anne. in press. What is it about? The TOPIC in Buli. Proceedings of the 26th West African Linguistics Congress (WALC), July 28 - August 3, 2008, Winneba, Ghana.

Last updated on 2020-21-03 at 23:21