Deixis, information structure and clause linkage in Yafi’ Arabic (Yemen)

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Several particles in the Arabic variety spoken in the area of Yafi&#8217; (Yemen) show tight recurring links between deixis, informational hierarchy, and syntactic hierarchy, both diachronically and synchronically. In the light of Robert&#8217;s (1993, 2000) findings on focusing strategies, these links are discussed in detail for two polyfunctional particles, <i>ra&#661;</i>, and <i>ta</i>, which can be used, among other things, as deictics, topic markers, focusing particles and clause-linking devices (see Vanhove 1996 &#38; 2004). The present paper shows how, in a language where subordinating constructions and markers are also available, topicalisation and focusing strategies may become the preferred strategies for clause-linking, especially in causal, relative and complement clauses.


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