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Focus marking asymmetries in Colloquial and Standard French: A stochastic optimality-theoretic account

  • EMILIE DESTRUEL (a1)
Abstract

This article investigates the grammatical realization of the notion of focus in Colloquial French and Standard French. Based on two production experiments, the article reveals three findings: (i) focus marking is not as categorical as previously acknowledged, (ii) focus marking asymmetry for subjects vs. non-subjects is only supported in CoF and (iii) there is no strict relationship between focus realization and interpretation in either variety. I develop a stochastic optimality-theory analysis, which explains the canonical-cleft sentence alternation in terms of prosody and expands on past literature by accounting for the variation observed both within and across language variety.

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Address for correspondence: Department of French and Italian, University of Iowa, 111 Phillips Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52245 United States e-mail: e-destruel-johnson@uiowa.edu
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Journal of French Language Studies
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