Contrastive topics in Paraguayan Guaraní discourse

Judith Tonhauser


The empirical basis of current formal semantic/pragmatic analyses of utterances containing contrastive topics are languages in which the expression that denotes the contrastive topic is marked prosodically, morphologically or syntactically, such as English, German, Korean, Japanese or Hungarian (e.g. Jackendoff 1972; Szabolcsi 1981; Roberts 1998; Büring 1997, 2003; Lee 1999). Such analyses do not extend to Paraguayan Guaraní, a language in which neither prosody, nor word order, nor the contrastive topic clitic =katu identify the contrastive topic. This article develops a formal pragmatic analysis of contrastive topic utterances in Paraguayan Guaraní and explores cross-linguistic similarities and differences in contrastive topic utterances.


Contrastive topic; Paraguayan Guaraní; cross-linguistic variation

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