Focus Constructions in Ǹjò̩-kóo
Focusing is a universal syntactic phenomenon. That is, there is no language in the world that does not have a means of placing prominence on constituents for focus purposes. However, the formal expression of focus differs from one language to another. Some languages express focus morphologically by using distinct morphemes or elements while others employ suprasegmentally means. The paper, therefore examines the focus strategies in Ǹjò̩-Kóo. It gives a detailed description of different constituents that may be focused in the language and the changes that are triggered in the clause as a result of the focusing. Adopting the Minimalist Program of Chomsky (1995) and Cartographic analysis of Rizzi (1997) Split-CP projections within the clausal left periphery, the study investigates how focus clauses are derived in the language and reveals that the syntax of focus in the language involves two probes: focus (foc) and emphasis (emph) each of which can provoke displacement operations. The paper employs information and clause structure evidence to motivate the constituents being focused. It is also observed among other things, that the constituents that could be focused in Ǹjò̩-kóo are subject DP, object DP or object DP of preposition, possessor DP and a whole sentence, and that the language does not distinguish between sentence and verbal focus hence the same strategy is employed for both focus types.
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