The Syntax and Prosody of Focus: the Bantu-Italian Connection


  • M Luisa Zubizarreta University of Southern California


prosodic phrasing, strong prosodic boundary, weak prosodic boundary, focus, high focus position, low focus position, functional domain, lexical domain, prosodic emargination, right-dislocation


This paper provides an overview of the literature on the syntax and prosody of focus in some of the Bantu languages (Kimatuumbi, Chimwiini, Chichewa) and in Italian, and it argues that. despite their typological distance, they share much in common with respect to both the syntax and prosody of focus: 1) both language types have an active low Focus position (Belletti 2004, Aboh 2007) 2) the Focus position triggers the insertion of a strong prosodic boundary, which gives rise to a “ripple effect” in that phrases to the right of Foc are similarly flanked by a comparable prosodic boundary. The view outlined here argues in favor of a stronger syntax-prosody connection than is generally recognized in current approaches


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Author Biography

M Luisa Zubizarreta, University of Southern California

Professor of Linguistics Department of Linguistics Grace Ford Salvatori 301, University Park University of Southern California Los Angeles, California 90089-1693 USA



How to Cite

Zubizarreta, M. L. (2010). The Syntax and Prosody of Focus: the Bantu-Italian Connection. IBERIA: An International Journal of Theoretical Linguistics, 2(1). Retrieved from



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