Focus marking and size in some Mande and Atlantic languages

Jordanoska, I. (2023). Focus marking and size in some Mande and Atlantic languages. In N. Sumbatova, I. Kapitonov, M. Khachaturyan, S. Oskolskaya, & V. Verhees (Eds.), Songs and Trees: Papers in Memory of Sasha Vydrina (pp. 311-343). St. Petersburg: Institute for Linguistic Studies and Russian Academy of Sciences.
This paper compares the focus marking systems and the focus size that can be expressed by the different focus markings in four Mande and three Atlantic languages and varieties, namely: Bambara, Dyula, Kakabe, Soninke (Mande), Wolof, Jóola Foñy and Jóola Karon (Atlantic). All of these languages are known to mark focus morphosyntactically, rather than prosodically, as the more well-studied Germanic languages do. However, the Mande languages under discussion use only morphology, in the form of a particle that follows the focus, while the Atlantic ones use a more complex morphosyntactic system in which focus is marked by morphology in the verbal complex and movement of the focused term. It is shown that while there are some syntactic restrictions to how many different focus sizes can be marked in a distinct way, there is also a certain degree of arbitrariness as to which focus sizes are marked in the same way as each other.
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