Objects and Information Structure

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1 A brief introduction to Akan focus construction

Enables you to change how objects are displayed within the structure. The following actions are available in the drop-down menu:. Objects that are not expanded and visible in the structure are not selected. Choose the number of levels from the sub menu, or choose All Levels. Specify a custom level using n Levels.

Select one to open it in the tab. The top object is selected when the refresh is complete. An object selection within the structure is not retained. The following actions are provided in the Filter action set:. Edit Filter. Enables you to define a new structure filter. For more information, see Editing a Structure Filter. Current Filter. Enables you to display the Current Filter window with a full description of applied filters. Hover your pointer over the Current Filter icon to see a summary of the structure filters currently applied to the structure.

Saved Filters. Enables you to select a saved structure filter for use in the structure pane. The following actions are also available in the drop-down menu:. For more information, see Saving a Structure Filter. For more information, see Managing Filters in a Structure. The information structure pane shows a read-only view of the information structure for the current context. An information structure is a product-centric hierarchical structure that organizes information related to servicing a product. For more information about information structures, see About Information Structures.

You can open and close the content of the groups and other information structures included in the structure by clicking on the small triangle to the left of that content in the structure. Above the tree hierarchy is the Find in Structure text box. You can enter search terms to locate objects in the structure. Use the arrows next to the Find in Structure text box to find the matches for your search in the structure. An information structure can contain many different types of content.

However, you can only insert the following types of content into a publication structure:. You can use the shortcut menu right click to perform actions on a selected object. The following actions are available from the shortcut menu:. Refer to About the Clipboard for information. Pasting information groups from the information structure tab into a publication structure is not supported.

Open in Information Structure Tab. Opens the selected object in the tab, replacing the primary information structure. Display Parent Information Structure. Opens the parent information structure of the information structure or information object that is currently open or selected in the tab. Expands the hierarchy by the number of levels you specify. If you wish to create a publication structure from an information structure, refer to Generating a Publication Structure. Click a column header to sort the information structure shown in the pane in ascending or descending order based on the values in that column, for example you can sort by Name.

Secondly, information structure also involves the highlighting of information that the speaker wants to come back to, or wants to contrast with implicit or explicit other information. Traditionally, finiteness and inflection have been associated with the three notions of tense, aspect and modality TAM , that is, the grammatical ized expression of, respectively, time, the flow of time, and the necessity, obligatoriness, or probability of the event.

Crosslinguistically, not all languages have a grammaticalized expression of information structure or TAM or evidentiality , but sometimes the morphosyntax is clearly affected by information structure. This section presents three cases of morphological markings that combine focus and TAM in Bantu. Additional evidence for the role of information structure in the syntax of this language comes from the interaction of focus marking with TAM inflection. Firstly, the occurrence of the focus marker is restricted to certain tenses.

These are the present perfect tense, and the future. On the other hand, the present progressive requires FOC. A similar instance of morphological marking of informational status are the so-called tone-cases found in western Bantu languages cf. Blanchon, , ; Kavari et al. It should be made clear that, as minimal form-meaning correspondences, tones are taken to be part of morphology here. When a DP is the first object after the verb, the tonal form is generally determined by the tense of the verb; for example, it is always default case in the present tense and complement case in the Remote Past Perfective.

However, following a verb in the Negative Factive Habitual, either case is possible. The choice here depends on information structure: the complement case triggers a focus reading of the object 6a , which is absent for the default case 6b. The Otjiherero tone cases again show us that morphology can be dependent on the interaction of TAM and information structure. Some eastern and southern Bantu languages have an alternation of verbal conjugations that differ in their relation with what follows the verb.

Kirundi JD62, Ndayiragije : The conjoint form cannot appear at the end of a main clause, whereas the disjoint form can but need not. When some element follows the verb, the choice between these verb forms is related to focus. The use of the conjoint verb form is associated with a focus interpretation of the postverbal element, which is absent for the disjoint form. Northern Sotho S32, Poulos and Louwrens, : What is important to note here is that this alternation is only present in a subset of tenses e. Furthermore, the morphological marking of this alternation is close to, or even merged with, the TAM morphology on the verb.

In Makhuwa, for example, it is difficult to separate a particular morpheme in the inflected verb that relates directly to either conjoint or disjoint 9. The picture is more complex than just sketched, and we will get back to it partly in section 3 , but the key point here is that focus can influence verbal morphology and affect the TAM marking.

In a canonical sentence, the subject appears in preverbal position and determines obligatory subject agreement on the verb. But many Bantu languages have one or more constructions in which the logical subject appears postverbally, and, in some of these constructions, subject agreement is not with the logical subject but with a preverbal element. In the locative inversion construction in 10b , the subject marker agrees with the preverbal locative in class Chichewa N31, Bresnan and Kanerva, : 2.

In all subject inversion constructions, the postverbal subject is non-topical either presented as new information or in narrow focus. Which element is in the preverbal position is in turn determined by topicality. She argues that the preverbal theme in 11b is not the syntactic subject of the sentence, nor is the postverbal agent the object—there is no real role reversal. The theme nevertheless triggers agreement on the verb, which is explained if agreement is sensitive to topicality: the preverbal theme is indeed the topic just as the subject is the topic in an SVO sentence.

Kirundi JD62, Ndayiragije, : There is, however, more cross-Bantu variation in inversion constructions see among others Bokamba, ; Creissels, ; Demuth and Mmusi, ; Diercks, ; Khumalo, ; Marten, , ; Marten and van der Wal, ; van der Wal, , ; Whaley, ; Zeller, a ; Zerbian, b. For locative inversion, it has been established that the preverbal locative behaves like a true syntactic subject in many ways see the overviews in Salzmann, and Diercks, Unlike subject marking, object marking in Bantu languages is not always obligatory. The presence or absence of object marking has also been shown to correlate with information structure in some Bantu languages.

This is again the case in a direct and indirect way. Direct influence of information structure is reported, for example, by Seidl and Dimitriadis , Bax and Diercks , Diercks and Sikuku The influence of information structure can be seen in so-called doubling, which concerns the co-occurrence of an object marker with a co-referential lexical object which is not dislocated , 3 as in 12a. This can be contrasted with 12b , where the object marker appears by itself, without doubling a lexical object resulting in a pronominal reading.

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On the basis of corpus research, Seidl and Dimitriadis show that, in Swahili, hearer-old referents are significantly more often object marked than hearer-new referents, and that this factor correlates more strongly with object marking than definiteness. Similarly, Bax and Diercks show that in Manyika, object marking triggers a non-focus interpretation of the doubled object DP. This is illustrated in 13 , where a is felicitous when the verb, the object, or the VP is in focus as diagnosed by a contextualising question , whereas b is only felicitous when the object is not included in the focus.

Object marking is in these cases directly dependent on the information-structural status of the object. Manyika S10, Bax and Diercks, : Object marking can also relate to information structure in an indirect way. If the object marker functions as a pronoun, 4 similar to 12b , it is required when the coreferring DP is dislocated. Dislocation is in turn triggered by information structure, as has been argued for Zulu and other Southern Bantu languages.

Van der Spuy shows that dislocated objects in Zulu require an object marker on the verb, as in Zulu S42, Cheng and Downing, : Whether direct or indirect, these cases show a clear influence of information structure, without which we cannot properly understand the restrictions on object marking.

In summary, we have seen that various aspects of Bantu inflectional morphosyntax are influenced or even determined by information structure. This holds for TAM marking as well as for subject and object marking. As mentioned in the introduction, Bantu languages are characterized by extensive verbal morphology, not just for inflection but also for derivation.

Verb-verb derivation productively happens by means of suffixation, in which the derived verb is typically associated with an increased or decreased valency, as will be shown in section 3. Section 3. Various suffixes can be added between a verb stem and the final suffix for verbal derivation, the most productive of which are the passive as in 1 above , causative, and applicative see Schadeberg for an overview. The passive is valency-decreasing, removing the agent of the underived verb, whereas the causative and applicative are valency-increasing.

For the causative, the added thematic role is the causer 15 , but for the applicative, the role is rather unspecified. Lucazi K13, Fleisch, : Tswana S31, Creissels : 13, adapted. Interestingly, the derived verbs can also be used without changing the valency. These non-canonical applicatives have been shown to influence the pragmatic interpretation. Bemba M40, Marten, : Tswana S31, Creissels, : Both object arguments appear without linker or preposition, and, in some languages, both DPs show object properties.

There are three well-known tests to establish whether a DP functions as a primary object: 1. Applying these and further tests, Bresnan and Moshi discuss two types of Bantu languages: symmetrical ones, in which either object passes the tests; and asymmetrical ones, in which only one can simultaneously function as the primary object.

Haya is a symmetrical language, as either order of objects is allowed 19 , either object can be the subject of a passive 20 , and either subject can be object-marked on the verb Haya JE22, Riedel, : Sambaa, on the other hand, is an asymmetrical language: the beneficiary is the primary object, as it must be closest to the verb 22 , it is the only object that can promote to subject of a passive 23 , and it is the first to be object-marked on the verb—only if the beneficiary is object-marked can the patient also be object-marked Sambaa G23, Riedel : That various syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic forces are in play is supported by the observation that the situation is not as simple as just sketched: in some languages, the tests show contradictory results Marten et al.

Information structure and word order. Bantu languages have been claimed to display flexible word order. That is, although the basic word order can still be given as SVO, permutations of word order are generally allowed by the syntax. Unsurprisingly, these different word orders are associated with a difference in information structure.

In this section, we will look at the ban on focus in the preverbal domain, dedicated postverbal focus positions, wh question formation, and the relation with the passive. Henderson b : notes that.


Objects and Information Structure

On the other hand, preverbal elements such as subjects tend to be interpreted as old information and function as topics. The prototypical topic is the subject Chafe, , which appears preverbally in the canonical Bantu word order. However, objects can also move to a preverbal position when they are topical, as illustrated in Tsonga S Kisseberth, : Instead, focused subjects should appear either in a postverbal and VP-internal position, as in the inversion construction in 26b , or in a cleft, as in 26c.

Northern Sotho S32, Zerbian, a : , adapted. Making the link between word order and information structure explicit, Yoneda argues that word order in Matengo is largely determined by information structure and proposes the following linear template:. One of the questions this brings up is whether the preverbal domain should be specified positively as [topical] or negatively as [non-focal].

This is particularly relevant when preverbal elements are allowed that are not prototypical topics and that cannot be dislocated topics, either. For example, the sole argument of an intransitive verb in Matengo should appear postverbally when it is indefinite and presented as new information , as illustrated in 28c,d. In a similar context, when both arguments of a transitive predicate are presented as new, the indefinite subject appears preverbally 28a,b. Matengo N13, Yoneda, : This can be taken as evidence that it is possible to have a non-topic reading in the preverbal domain, which would argue for an underspecified characterization of this domain as [non-focus] rather than [topic].

Alternatively, we could say that, in the absence of a clear topic as is the case in presentational or thetic sentences; see below , the subject is the most topic-like and will appear in the preverbal domain in this situation. The fact that this happens at all shows that there must be some syntactic constraint on word order in Matengo, according to Yoneda A similar question is whether the postverbal domain should be characterized as [focal] or [non-topical].

An argument in favor of the latter is the underspecified interpretation of the postverbal subject: it can be the narrow possibly exclusive focus of the sentence, as in 29a , or it can be part of a thetic sentence, the main characteristic of which is the detopicalization of the subject Lambrecht, ; Sasse, , illustrated in 29b.

Zulu S42, Buell, : It has been proposed for various Bantu languages that there is a dedicated position for the focus of the sentence, which can be sentence-final or directly adjacent to the verb. The same applies to focused subjects, which cannot appear in any other than IAV position either Aghem Watters, : Watters, : Interestingly, Mbuun has been claimed to exhibit a focus position immediately before the verb Bostoen and Mundeke, , whereas Kirundi has a sentence-final focus position Sabimana, ; Ndayiragije Nevertheless, we know that the conjoint verb form is only licensed in the presence of a following element, which is naturally in IAV position.

Before discussing the two types of systems regarding the conjoint verb form and IAV focus, note that the relation with IAV holds for tone cases as well, 5 as only the first element after the verb can receive complement case Otjiherero R30, Kavari et al. Makhuwa is a language that shows a direct relation between the use of the conjoint form and the interpretation of the IAV element as focus van der Wal, What immediately follows the conjoint verb form is interpreted as exclusive focus: the proposition is true for this referent, excluding other referents.

One argument in favor of this analysis is the behavior of DPs modified by a focus particle. Makhuwa P31, Van der Wal, : In Zulu, on the other hand, the alternation seems to be determined by constituency, and only indirectly connected to focus. The conjoint form appears when some element follows within the relevant constituent Buell, , , whereas the disjoint form is always final in this constituent. This can be seen in the phonological phrasing penultimate lengthening indicating the right boundary , which Cheng and Downing show to correlate with vP and CP constituents.

The difference between the two systems is illustrated in the contrast between 35 and Hence, the link between the alternation and information structure is indirect, unlike in Makhuwa, in which constituency alone cannot account for the distribution of the verb forms. A rather important aside is that all languages have an alternative focus strategy, which is a biclausal cleft construction.

This is in some languages the only available strategy to focus or question a subject, as in 36b. See also Wasike and Cheng and Downing Luganda JE15, Hyman and Katamba, : 92, Wh phrases are often said to be inherently focused, as they ask for new information. There is indeed a large overlap between the distribution of wh phrases and focus phrases, especially in languages with a dedicated focus position. This was illustrated earlier for Aghem 31 , where wh words must appear in IAV position. In other languages we find optional wh-movement, as for example in Duala Duala A24, Sabel and Zeller, : A third type of language leaves wh words in their canonical position.

In Chichewa, objects are questioned in postverbal 38b and subjects in preverbal position 38c. Chichewa N31, Mchombo, : 45, Objects are questioned in situ: postverbal 39b,c but crucially not necessarily in IAV position 39c. Subjects, on the other hand, cannot be questioned preverbally, as was illustrated in 26 earlier. Instead, they must appear in an inversion construction or a cleft. Northern Sotho S32, Zerbian, a : These different types of languages with respect to wh questions show three points.

First, there is interesting microvariation within Bantu. Second, not all wh phrases are necessarily focused; wh and focus are frequently co-occurring but independent features. And third, the strategy that is used for wh questioning can be determined or restricted by information structure. Where a language displays a biclausal cleft construction, it necessarily forms a relative clause to encode the given information. One formal property is the morphosyntactic marking of the relative clause—an area in which Bantu languages again show great variation.

Three types of relative marking are discussed directly below; see further the extensive overview in Nsuka Nkutsi , and also the theoretical comparative work in Henderson b , and Zeller A first type of relative clause is formed by a relative complementiser, followed by a clause with canonical word order and subject marking, as illustrated for Lingala, where the relative complementizer oyo introduces subject and object relative clauses.

Lingala C30b, Meeuwis, : A second type found in many Bantu languages shows a relative marker on the verb, instead of, or in addition to, the normal subject marker. The relative marker can be initial bi- in 41 , pre-stem — cho — in 42a , or post-cliticised to the verb 42b. Kilega D25, Carstens, : Thirdly, there are relative strategies that make use of a structure that is not entirely verbal. Shona S10, Carter and Kahari, , via Cheng, : Another example contains a participial clause, whose nominal nature causes the pronominal subject in a nonsubject relative to appear as a possessive.

This is illustrated for Makhuwa in An interesting and much-discussed phenomenon in Bantu non-subject relative clauses is the postverbal position of the subject.

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  5. This is obligatory in some languages 45 and optional in others. Bembe D54, Iorio In the case of obligatory subject inversion, this is likely a syntactic requirement unlike the information structure—driven inversion in section 2. Where there is optionality, the question is what determines the word order—for example, it could be the case that the preverbal subject in 46 is topical and the postverbal subject is not.

    This forms an interesting point for further research. A different word order can be used for passives in addition to the derivational passive strategy shown earlier in 1 or replacing part of this strategy if a language has lost the proto-Bantu - w - passive. This is exemplified in 47 , where the verb has its active form and agreement is with the subject; the fact that the initial object is weakly quantified shows that it cannot be dislocated.

    Mbuun B87, Bostoen and Mundeke, : Not only object preposing, but also subject inversion can be used in Matengo as the functional equivalent of the canonical passive, resulting in OVS 48 or VS order 49 with a passive interpretation van der Wal, forthcoming. The passive is traditionally described as an operation demoting the subject and promoting the object.

    This is formulated in syntactic terms, but it should also be seen in information-structural terms: demoting the subject from its canonical topic role and encoding the object as topical Bliss and Storoshenko, ; Keenan and Dryer, ; Siewierska, Again, it appears that information structure is an important—and perhaps the main—factor in determining the word order. Theoretical implications. The effect of the Immediate After Verb position suggests that linear order is relevant to information structure IS.

    A question is whether IS only operates on linear order or also on hierarchical structure. On the former standpoint, IS is only a superficial phenomenon that does not affect the syntax cf. Berwick and Chomsky However, considering that core syntactic processes like tense inflection and person agreement are sensitive to IS in various Bantu languages, IS must somehow be present in, or have access to, the syntax. How to model this is a hotly debated issue. For Bantu syntax, there are generative proposals using a formal [focus] or [topic] feature, either as heading a separate projection or as a subfeature in agreement.

    For example, Ndayiragije proposes a focus projection focP under TP to account for the focus interpretation and the disjoint morpheme in Kirundi. Zeller , on the other hand, proposes that the subject marker in Zulu starts out as part of the subject DP and has a [-foc] feature. This is motivated by the anti-agreement effect in Zulu: when the logical subject is focused, it does not have its subject marker; instead, a default ku - is inserted Zulu S42, Zeller, : , adapted. Baker, and section 2. However, if movement is triggered by the need for another element to receive a certain interpretation, it is difficult to model this with the presence of a feature on the moved constituent.

    An example of such altruistic movement is found for the IAV position in Zulu and its indirect link with focus. Anything within this constituent receives a focus interpretation. The dislocated status of the IO can be seen in its separate phonological phrasing and in the obligatory object marking on the verb see section 2.

    This movement can be captured in non-derivational analyses of the relation between IS and syntax. Optimality Theory analyses like Zerbian a and Cheng and Downing capture the relation with prosody as well as IS, arguing for an indirect relation with focus via alignment with phonological phrase boundaries, and against a cartographic account involving focP. The information-structural interpretation is in this approach a result of particular structure building choices in the parsing of, for example, a subject marker or an auxiliary Marten, , ; Gibson A related issue is the fuzzy boundary between the traditional A versus A-bar positions.

    Especially from the discussion surrounding word order section 4 , it appears that argument licensing in Bantu languages is sensitive to discourse function, perhaps even more than to syntactic function. This relates to a proposal concerning abstract Case by Harford Perez , recently revived by Diercks In generative syntax, Case is needed on every DP to license the overt appearance of that DP in a certain position and syntactic function the Case Filter. Diercks proposes that this principle does not hold across the board, and that in Bantu languages Case does not play a role.

    A straightforward argument is that Bantu nouns do not show morphological case marking. A second argument is that subject DPs can stay in a nonfinite complement clause.

    As nominative Case is assumed to only be assigned in finite clauses, a DP cannot be Case licensed in a nonfinite clause and should be ungrammatical in this lower subject position—as indeed it is in English. The fact that this is fine in a language like Digo 52b suggests that Case does not play a role in argument licensing here.

    Digo E73, Diercks, : , referring to Steve Nicolle. A third argument provided by Diercks is that subject agreement on the verb is not determined by nominative Case. That is, in certain inversion constructions, the agreement is default, or with a preverbal DP, such as the patient in Furthermore, the logical postverbal subject in these constructions does not seem to be Case-licensed at all, which forms another reason to suggest that Case is irrelevant here.

    The tests Diercks proposes do not yield the same results for the whole of Bantu, however: languages in which subject agreement is consistently with the subject, even in subject inversion like in 54 , can be argued to be sensitive to nominative Case Van der Wal forthcoming. Makwe G, Devos, : Even if nominative Case is inactive in several Bantu languages, Halpert , and Carstens and Mletshe show that there is a structural licensing of DPs inside vP in Zulu and Xhosa, which they argue is dependent on Case.

    These augmentless nouns can only appear in vP-internal position, whether in a subordinate clause 55a or raised to a main clause 55c. Zulu S42, Halpert, These different systems underline the importance of Bantu microvariation for the study of Bantu syntax and comparative syntax more generally.

    1 A brief introduction to Akan focus construction

    Furthermore, it may show that if Case is parameterized, it need not be present or absent for the whole language, but may be active only in a subdomain e. Finally, if, compared to European languages, Case and thereby syntactic roles do not play as big a role in the grammar of some Bantu languages, there is space for various syntactic effects such as agreement and word order to be determined by something other than whether a DP is subject or object. Kiss, The extensive verbal morphology in Bantu languages can enlighten our understanding of the relation between syntax and morphology.

    This is the basis of approaches like Distributed Morphology Halle and Marantz, and Nanosyntax see Abels and Muriungi, and Taraldsen, for applications in Bantu languages , where syntax operates on formal syntactic features, and morphological form only comes in at the end of the derivation to spell out the syntactic features. The agglutinative nature of Bantu morphology lends itself well to these approaches, as also shown by Julien , who proposes a difference in the syntactic nature of suffixation and prefixation in Shona verbs.

    Prefixes are individual inflectional heads whose features are spelled out in their base positions, whereas suffixes are attached via head-movement see Julien, , chapter 4 for arguments, and Kinyalolo , Buell , Van der Wal, for this analysis in other languages. Shona S10, Myers, : , adjusted from Julien, : This implies that the verb root only head-moves through the lower part of the derivation, picking up the applicative, causative, passive, etcetera suffixes, and stopping in a position under T.

    Relative clauses and subject inversion in relatives can also inform us on verb movement and its triggers, as Demuth and Harford argue, and about morphological adjacency requirements forcing pronunciation of a lower copy of the subject, as suggested by Henderson a and Henderson He instead argues for phrasal movement to account for both the scope and the order of suffixes. A further challenge is the influence of information structure on the inflectional morphology, as illustrated in previous sections.

    Just as for word order, a representational approach to morpheme order has also been proposed, having an independent morphology module. In any area of linguistics, it is essential to take an approach that conjoins language description and theoretically informed specific questioning. Especially now that we have started to cover a bit of ground in Bantu syntax, and because the Bantu languages form such a rich field of microvariation which was only cursorily illustrated here , I think it vital to pursue that combination of description and theory in studying Bantu syntax—only then can we hope to find new interesting phenomena while also gaining a deeper understanding of the universals and variation in human languages.

    We now know it is not the case that once you have seen one Bantu language, you have seen them all. A particular point stressed in this chapter is that information structure is indispensable in describing and analysing Bantu languages. It is relevant not just in the prosody, but also the morphology and the syntax: word order, valency, voice, tense-aspect marking, subject and object marking can all be influenced and affected by the information structure expressed in the sentence. It is therefore important to take this into account when studying Bantu languages, and it furthermore shows that Bantu languages are a valuable field for research projects dedicated to the study of information structure and its interfaces.

    To conclude, Bantu languages have substantially influenced general syntactic theory over the last decades Henderson, a , and I see every reason for it to continue that way: there is a wealth of empirical and theoretical lessons to be learned from the Bantu languages. Numbers refer to noun classes, or to persons when followed by sg or pl.

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    Information Structure and Glue

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    About Information Structures

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