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Re: Tagalog & trigger idea: I'd like comments. :)

From:Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Date:Wednesday, November 17, 2004, 23:03

Ray Brown <ray.brown@...> writes:
>... > On Tuesday, November 16, 2004, at 09:44 , Henrik Theiling wrote: > [snip] > > Hmm, I would not say this is triggerish, but I'd say the language uses > > word order to mark the focus, just like German. > > Eh? I had always understood that German fronted the _topic_, not the focus. >...
I read that, too. The reason for why I thought it was the focus rather than the topic is that the fronted part in a German sentence must be part of the normal sentence structure. Things like prototypical topic structures like 'concerning X, that stuff was good', you would have to use 'Was X betrifft, ...' in German. You could not simply put X in front like in Japanese. Hmm. Emphasis for the focus, yes. Hmm. I'm confused. Let's see your examples...
>... > Wird sie ihm zu Weihnachten ein Buch schenken? (Will she give him a > book for Christmas?) > Nein. Ein Buch hat sie ihm zum Geburtstag geschenkt. (No. She gave him a > book for his birthday). > [In the answer "Ein Buch" is the topic; the focus is "zum Geburtstag". If > the focus is to be emphasized, my understanding is that the sentence stays > in the same order thus: > > Nein! Ein Buch hat sie ihm ZUM GEBURTSTAG geschenkt.]
Ah, this makes it clear! Yes, it's the way you say. A test paraphrasing the topic with 'was das X angeht' shows that you could equivalently say: Was das Buch angeht, das hat sie ihm ZUM GEBURTSTAG geschenkt. Yes. Clearly topic-fronting. Clearly focus = ZUM GEBURTSTAG. I'm sorry. Confused by L1. :-)
> Now is Fox mistaken?
No, I don't think so.
> Could some one answer the question "Was hat sie ihm zum Geburtstag > geschenkt?" with "Ein Buch hat sie ihm zum Geburtstag geschenkt."?
Yes, but it sounds strange -- it does not seem to be the natural order. I'd certainly expect 'EIN BUCH' to be emphasised here. **Henrik