ISSN 1754-5366


The purpose of this paper is to enumerate the most salient cross-linguistic attributes of focusing, identifying key characteristics to be addressed by theoretical models. Such characteristics include positional restrictions, the adjacency requirement between focus and verb, directionality effects, parallels between the syntactic behaviour of wh-phrases and foci and prosodic phenomena.  In addition, based on our conclusions, we will assess the explanatory power of the three most influential models, each representing one of the main trends within linguistic research.  Since discourse functions are more conspicuously encoded in the syntax of so called discourse configurational languages the examples presented during the discussion will primarily be taken from this group. Linguistic data drawn from focus-in-situ languages will be presented for the sake of contrastive arguments whenever necessary.  Our conclusion will be that a stress-based approach accounts for a wider range of focus-related phenomena than the feature based models.  

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