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Intonation and Meaning$
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Daniel Büring

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199226269

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226269.001.0001

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Focus and givenness theories

Focus and givenness theories

(p.36) 3 Focus and givenness theories
Intonation and Meaning

Daniel Büring

Oxford University Press

The influential theories of Rooth, Selkirk, and Schwarzschild are presented and compared. While these theories emphasize different aspects of the factors that determine pitch accent placement, and certainly differ in some of their definitions and terminology, they are largely compatible, and often converge on the same predictions. In many respects, Schwarzschild’s theory can be seen as the synthesis of two of Rooth’s proposals and Selkirk’s general strategy of dividing the~work between a theory of (sentential) focussing and (constituent-level) anaphoric deaccenting; once it is realized that being contextually given, as well as being focussed, are limiting cases of being a focus(–background) domain, all the work can be done by a single Rooth-like condition on focus domains, applied to every constituent in a sentence. Lastly, the concept of ‘minimal focussing’, introduced in the previous chapter, receives a formal, transderivational implementation in the form of Schwarzschild’s constraint ‘AVOIDF’.

Keywords:   alternative semantics, F-marking, givenness theory, focus, Avoid F, squiggle operator

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