From copula to focus, vice versa, or neither? Information structure and non-verbal predication in Mano

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This paper studies the system of non-verbal predication of Mano, a South Mande language, based on primary data, including elicited utterances and a corpus of spontaneous speech. The main analytical question that I address concerns the relationship between non-verbal predication and focus marking. I argue that in Mano, the focus meaning arises as a pragmatic interpretation of identifying or presentative constructions with non-verbal predicators under particular contextual conditions. As a result, focus markers may not need to be distinguished as a syntactic and semantic class separate from non-verbal predicators. This discussion aims to shed light on the origin and interactional function of focus marking in Mande.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number69
Pages (from-to)87-120
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 6121 Languages
  • Mano
  • Focus
  • Interaction
  • Non-verbal predication
  • Pragmatic cooptation
  • Predicative demonstratives

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