Chapter published in:Focus Realization in Romance and Beyond
Edited by Marco García García and Melanie Uth
[Studies in Language Companion Series 201] 2018
► pp. 99–128
Chapter 4Acceptability and frequency in Spanish focus marking
In this paper, we analyze the status and relevance of three syntactic positions for focus marking in Spanish: sentence-initial, sentence-internal, and sentence-final position (as we will only consider constituents with an unmarked linear position that is postverbal and non-final, initial position is the result of fronting and final position is the result of p-movement). Although all three positions are options for both information and contrastive focus, we will show that the positions do not have the same status. Based on frequency and acceptability data from several experimental studies, we will argue that final and internal position are the preferred positions for information focus and that internal position is the preferred position for contrastive focus. Concerning the relation between frequency and acceptability, we will demonstrate that the two sources of data generally show a matching pattern: Options that are more acceptable are also more frequent (and vice versa). Nevertheless, acceptability does not imply frequency, as contrastive focus in initial position is an option that is acceptable but very rare in frequency data. Hence, acceptability is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for usage.
- 2.Two types of focus and three syntactic positions
- 2.1Two types of focus
- 2.2Initial position
- 2.2.1Contrastive focus and initial position
- 2.2.2Information focus and initial position
- 2.3Final position
- 2.3.1Information focus and final position
- 2.3.2Contrastive focus and final position
- 2.4Internal position
- 2.4.1Information focus and internal position
- 2.4.2Contrastive focus and internal position
- 2.5Interim conclusion
- 3.1Data sources
- 3.2Positions for contrastive focus
- 3.2.3Frequency and acceptability
- 3.3Positions for information focus
- 3.3.3Frequency and acceptability
- 4.Summary and conclusion
Published online: 28 November 2018
Bermel, Neil & Knittl, Luděk
Bolinger, Dwight L.
2016 The relation between prosody and syntax: The case of different types of Left-Dislocations in Spanish. In Intonational Grammar in Ibero-Romance: Approaches across Linguistic Subfields [Issues in Hispanic and Lusohone Linguistics 6], Meghan E. Armstrong, Nicholas Henriksen & Vanrell, Maria del Mar (eds), 153–180. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Feldhausen, Ingo & Vanrell, Maria del Mar
2014b Fronting and contrastively focused secondary predicates in Spanish. In Left Sentence Peripheries in Spanish: Diachronic, Variationist and Comparative Perspectives [Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 214], Andreas Dufter & Álvaro S. de Octavio Toledo (eds), 125–153. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Langacker, Ronald W.
Leonetti, Manuel & Escandell-Vidal, Victoria
Martín Butragueño, Pedro
Muntendam, Antje G.
Real Academia Española & Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española
Revert Sanz, Vicente
Cited by 3 other publications
Garassino, Davide & Daniel Jacob
Uth, Melanie & Marco García García
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