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The Contrastive Topic as a Focus Inducer

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Abstract. There are three different -nun phrases in Korean: topic, contrastive, and matching. The contrastive and the matching differ in that the matching is always followed by a focus phrase, while the former never is. Following J.-R. Kim (2004b) and Y.-B. Kim (2004), this article shows that the contrastive -nun phrase can be analyzed as a focus phrase, which is incompatible with the traditional belief that -nun is a topic marker. However, it is found that there are good reasons to believe there is a hidden focus AFFIRMATION/DENIAL following the -nun phrase in the contrastive sentence. Then, the foremost difference between the matching and the contrastive disappears: both of them are always followed by a focus phrase. We can collapse them, then, into the single category the contras-tive topic. The same LF structure involved in contrastive and the matching sentences suggests that one way to look at the contrastive topic is as a focus inducer, in the sense that the contrastive topic is always followed by a focus structure.

Keywords: contrastive; contrastive topic; focus; focus inducer; matching; topic

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006


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