Unalternative Semantics

Daniel Büring


The paper introduces a new method of calculating focus alternatives without the use of F-markers or comparable devices. Relative metrical weights are directly mapped onto restrictions on what can be a focal target, i.e. what a given structure can be used to correct, answer, or contrast with. The results are virtually identical to those achieved e.g. in the system of Rooth (1992), but differ in some crucial aspects, which allows broader empirical coverage without additional mechanisms. Among these are a non-transderivational ban on overfocusing, a treatment of second occurrence focus, a new way of incorporating contrast to non-salient targets and a natural account of discontinuous foci. The paper closes with some outlooks on applications in non-Indo-European languages.


Keywords: Focus, Alternative Semantics, Second Occurrence Focus, F-Marking, Overfocussing

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/salt.v25i0.3634