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A Dynamic Syntax modelling of Japanese and Rangi clefts: parsing incrementality and the growth of interpretation

Seraku, T and Gibson, H (2016) 'A Dynamic Syntax modelling of Japanese and Rangi clefts: parsing incrementality and the growth of interpretation.' Language Sciences, 56. pp. 45-67. ISSN 0388-0001

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Japanese and Rangi (a Bantu language) employ cleft constructions to encode pragmatic functions relating to discourse salience. In Japanese, a cleft is formed through the nominaliser ‘no,’ the topic marker ‘wa,’ and the copula ‘da.’ In Rangi, a cleft is formed through the copula ‘ní’ which appears before the focus. This article provides a description of clefts in these two unrelated languages; in particular, Rangi clefts have been understudied, and our description represents a first systematic treatment. The article also develops an account from the new perspective of how a cleft string is parsed left-toright in an online manner (Dynamic Syntax; Cann, R. et al. 2005. The Dynamics of Language. Elsevier). We propose that a number of seemingly idiosyncratic syntactic properties of clefts in these languages (including new data on case-marking patterns of foci in Japanese clefts and the auxiliary placement in Rangi clefts) can be accounted for by reference to left-to-right, online parsing, and the restriction on structural underspecification that is an integral part of the framework. Our account also models parallelisms and differences in Japanese and Rangi clefts in terms of parsing-dynamics.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cleft construction; Japanese; Rangi; Dynamic Syntax; Incrementality
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2018 11:32
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:45

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