Re: Clefts and Pseudoclefts (longish)
|From:||Matt Pearson <jmpearson@...>|
|Date:||Friday, May 26, 2000, 17:54|
Roger Mills wrote, on producing clefts and pseudoclefts in Kash:
>It was Erek whom I saw: Fairly formal: ereken, yan matikas
> More colloquial: erek(en), na, matikas-- The acc. could be dropped
>here, since context & verb form clarify, not so in case both subj. and obj.
>were 3d person. _na_ is actually a hesitation form, sort of "well" or
>It was Erek whom Sani saw: Formal: ereken, sani yan yatikas ~ ereken, yan
>yatikas Sani. Colloq: ereken, na, sani yatikas ~ yatikas sani (and if the
>context were not clear, even the colloq. would keep the _yan_)
>I can't eat cheese: ta (ma)pole manahan keso
>It's cheese I can't eat: Formal: keso, ta yu mapole manahan (_yu_ is
>3s-acc/inanim. referring to Keso) Colloq. keso, na, ta pole manahan
>In these cases, the commas indicate breaks in the intonation.
Although they are perfectly reasonable focus constructions, these
are not actually clefts, but left-dislocation constructions. The
"formal" constructions I would call clitic left-dislocation constructions,
on analogy with Romance constructions like the French "Jean, je l'aime"
("Jean, I him-love") where the focussed noun phrase is dislocated to
the front of the sentence and replaced/'resumed' with a clitic pronoun.
Your "colloquial" constructions are regular old left-dislocations with
no clitic replacement.
Your choice of the element "na" to separate the focussed constituent
from the rest of the sentence is highly interesting. In Malagasy, left-
dislocated constituents are separated from the rest of the sentence
by an element "dia", which, though it is usually analysed as a focus
particle in this construction, is actually a conjunction meaning "then"
or "and then" (used frequently in "if... then..." constructions).
The use of conjunction/complementiser-type elements like "but"
and "then" as focus markers has been documented for other languages
as well, such as Bengali.
Although your punctuation seems to indicate that "na" is just a little
filler word, one might be tempted to (re)analyse it as a focus particle
analogous to "dia" in Malagasy. I'd encourage you to play around with
this some more and see what develops.