The Topic-Comment Structure in Copular Sentences: Evidence from Wolof

Martina Martinović

Abstract


This paper investigates the syntax of information structure of Double-DP copular sentences in Wolof, a Niger-Congo language spoken primarily in Senegal. English copular sentences of the structure DP be DP are classified into several types. The most discussed distinction is the one between predicational sentences and specificational sentences. The two sentences differ in several ways. First, while the post-copular DP (DP2) in a predicational sentence predicates a certain property of a discourse referent es-tablished by the pre-copular DP (DP1), in a specificational sentence DP2 provides a value for a variable introduced by DP1. Furthermore, it is proposed that different copular sentences are associated with different information-structural properties. In particular, specificational sentences are claimed to obligatorily focus the post-copular constituent (Higgins 1979; Declerck 1988; Mikkelsen 2005, etc.), while predicational sentences carry no such requirements.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/bls.v39i1.3875