4.11 The pragmatics of Udi morphosyntax: Topic and focus

Udi has at least three devices to morphologically encode pragmatic aspects of clausal organisation:

a) Marking of Topics
b) Marking of bound focus
c) Marking of free focus

a) Given topics are often encoded bythe dative2 if in O-function, cp.:

zu s/um uk-sa-zu
I:abs brad:abs eat-pres-1sg:a
'I eat some bread' [we did not talk about it before]


zu s/um-ax uk-sa-zu
I:abs bread.dat2 eat-pres-1sg:a
'I eat the bread' [which has been talked about before]

Hence, topic marking is related to the split strategies described in section 4.4.4.

New topics are often introduced by sa 'one':

evaxte s^ähär-ä ta-c-i-z sa k'ala adamar a-za-k'-e
when town-dat1 go-$:past-aor-1sg:s one lame man see-1sg:io-$-perf
'when I went to town, I saw a lame man.'

Bound focus is a kind of focus that is necessarily related to a referent in S=A function. Bound focus hence is alwas 'sympathetic' with the S=A domain; it is encoded with the help of the floating agreement clitics, see 3.3.3 for a description of bound focus. Bound focus can apply to

a) Constituents
b) Verbs [default]
c) TAM-domains
d) Modal elements

Questions, negators and other modal particles are always in focus, the same holds for the TAM domain {future1-optative-imperative}.

Free focus is marked by the element -al which is either emphatic or contrastive, or by the element gena (contrastive), cp.:

zu xe-zu u?g/-i s/um-ax-al u-zu-k-i
I:abs water-1sg:a drink-aor break-dat2-foc eat-1sg:a-$-aor
'I drank water and ate the BREAD.'

zu xe-n-ex u?-zu-g/-i s/um-ax gena te-zu uk-i
I:abs water-sa-dat2 drink-1sg:a-$-aor bread-dat2 contr neg-1sg:a eat-aor
'I drank the water, but I did not eat the BREAD.'

[to be continued]