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Structural Topic and Focus without Movement (Urdu, Turkish)

Miriam Butt (University of Stuttgart) and Tracy Holloway King (Stanford University)

We propose to analyze the free word order in Urdu and Turkish as base-generated possibilities which reflect differing information structures of a sentence. We propose that the varied word orders are optional from a purely syntactic point of view: they are not motivated by case or agreement. Instead, they are motivated both by semantic factors, such as specific vs. non-specific interpretations and discourse considerations, such as topic and focus. In particular, we investigate an intriguing interaction between preverbal structural focus and the nonspecific interpretation of preverbal objects in Urdu and Turkish.

Rajesh Bhatt
Tue Jan 21 17:38:40 EST 1997