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Bibliography: Relevance and the Question Under Discussion

Section: Focus

The central work here is by Rooth, with the other papers developing, refining and revising his theory of alternative semantics. This is by no means a complete bibliography of important contemporary work on Focus, but only includes those papers which centrally involve a set of pragmatically given alternatives and/or operators sensitive to such alternatives. Several of the examples involving prosodic focus in Roberts (1996) have been discussed extensively in subsequent literature.


Beaver, David & Brady Clark (2003) Always and Only: Why not all focus sensitive operators are alike. Natural Language Semantics 11:323-62.

Beaver, David & Brady Clark (2008) Sense and Sensitivity: How focus determines meaning. Blackwell, Oxford.

Büring, Daniel (1997) The Meaning of Topic and Focus: The 59th Street Bridge accent. Routledge, London.

Büring, Daniel (2003) On D-Trees, Beans, and B-Accents. Linguistics and Philosophy 26(5):511-545.

Büring, Daniel (2006) Focus projection and default prominence. In Valéria Molnár & Susanne Winkler (eds.) The Architecture of Focus. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Büring, Daniel (2007) Intonation, semantics and information structure. In Gillian Ramchand & Charles Reiss (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Interfaces.

Büring, Daniel (2008) What’s New (and what’s Given) in the theory of focus? Talk at BLS 2008.

Büring, Daniel (2009) Towards a typology of focus realization. In Malte Zimmermann & Caroline Féry (eds.) Information Structure. Oxford University Press, 177-205.

Féry, Caroline & Vieri Samek-Lodovici (2006) Focus projection and prosodic prominence in nested foci. Language 82(1):131-150.

Grubic, Mira & Malte Zimmermann (2011) Conventional and free association with focus in Ngamo (West Chadic). In Ingo Reich et al. (eds.) Proceedings of Sinn & Bedeutung 15, Universaar – Saarland University Press, Saarbrücken, Germany, 291-305.

Kadmon, Nirit (2000) Some theories of the interpretation of accent placement. Ms, Tel Aviv University, from a talk given at the Colloque de Syntaxe et Sémantique, Université de Paris V.

Kadmon, Nirit (2001) Formal Pragmatics: Semantics, Pragmatics, Presupposition and Focus. Blackwell, London. See especially Part 3 “Focus”, Chapters 12-21.

Kadmon, Nirit & Aldo Sevi (2010) Without ‘Focus’. Talk at the 6th International Symposium of Cognition, Logic and Communication, Riga, Latvia. Formal Semantics and Pragmatics:Discourse, Context, and Models. November 20, 2010

Krifka, Manfred (1992) A compositional semantics for multiple focus constructions. In Joachim Jacobs (ed.) Informationsstruktur und Grammatik. Westdeutscher Verlag, Weisbaden, Germany, 17-53.

Onea, Edgar & David Beaver (2010) Hungarian focus is not exhausted. In S. Ito & E. Cormany (eds.) Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) XIX, 2009. Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications.

Roberts, Craige (1998) Focus, the Flow of Information, and Universal Grammar. In Peter Culicover and Louise McNally (eds.) The Limits of Syntax, Academic Press, pp.109-160

Roberts, Craige (2010b) Resolving Focus. Ms. of an invited talk at KogWiss, Pottsdam, Germany, October, 2010.

Rooth, Mats E. (1985) Association with Focus. Ph.D. dissertation, UMass/Amherst.

Rooth, Mats E. (1992) A theory of Focus Interpretation. Natural Language Semantics 1:75-16.

Rooth, Mats E. (1996) Focus. In Shalom Lappin (ed.) Handbook of Semantics. Blackwell, London.

Rooth, Mats E. (1996b) On the interface principles for intonational focus. InTeresa Galloway and Justin Spence (eds.) Proceedings of SALT VI, Ithaca, NY. Cornell University, 202–226.

Schwarzschild, Roger (1999) GIVENness, AvoidF and other Constraints on the placement of accent. Natural Language Semantics 7.2:141-177.

Selkirk, Elisabeth O. (1996) Sentence Prosody: Intonation, stress and phrasing. In J. Goldsmith (ed.) The Handbook of Phonological Theory, Blackwell, London.

Steedman, Mark (2000) Information structure and the syntax-phonology interface. Linguistic Inquiry 31.4:549-689.

Steedman, Mark (2001) The Syntactic Process (Language, Speech, and Communication). MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Szendröi, Kriszta (2001) Focus and the syntax-phonology interface. PhD dissertation, University College London

Truckenbrodt, Hubert (1995) Phonological Phrases—Their relation to syntax, focus, and prominence. Ph.D. dissertation, MIT.

Wagner, Michael (2007) Givenness and Locality. In Jonathan Howell & Masayuki Gibson (eds.) Proceedings of SALT 16. Ithaca: CLC Publications.


Embedded Contrastive Focus

This pertains to the analysis of examples like Rooth’s (1992) American farmer/Canadian farmer example.


Büring, Daniel (2008) What’s New (and what’s Given) in the theory of focus? Talk at BLS 2008.

Féry, Caroline & Vieri Samek-Lodovici (2006) Focus projection and prosodic prominence in nested foci. Language 82(1):131-150.

Krifka, Manfred (1992) A compositional semantics for multiple focus constructions. In Joachim Jacobs (ed.) Informationsstruktur und Grammatik. Westdeutscher Verlag, Weisbaden, Germany, 17-53.

Roberts, Craige (2010b) Resolving Focus. Ms. of an invited talk at KogWiss, Pottsdam, Germany, October, 2010.

Truckenbrodt, Hubert (1995) Phonological Phrases—Their relation to syntax, focus, and prominence. Ph.D. dissertation, MIT.