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Discourse new, focused, and given

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Abstract

Mandatory phrasal prominence on a constituent in English is often attributed to the presence of a focus interpretation for that constituent, be it focus as discourse new or as selection among discourse relevant alternatives. It is argued here that these two functions of focus should be empirically distinguished and use of the notion “focus” restricted to the latter function alone. Phrasal prosodic prominence in discourse new constituents is attributed to default prosody, namely the focus-insensitive mapping between syntactic and prosodic structures. Evidence is garnered to support the notion of default prosodic prominence. This proposal is then briefly applied to Hungarian.

References

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