On the nature of preverbal Focus in Greek
A theoretical and experimental approach
This dissertation investigates the semantic and phonetic properties of object foci in Greek, employing theoretical and experimental tools. The added value of such a combination is that we achieve a better understanding of the phenomenon under consideration. The main research question that is addressed in this dissertation is: do preverbal object foci in Greek differ from their postverbal counterparts?
In the first part of the thesis, Greek preverbal object foci are compared to their postverbal counterparts with respect to exhaustivity, contrast and discourse topichood. For this purpose, a number of tests are applied to the Greek data. On the basis of the results of the tests, it is argued that preverbal and postverbal object foci do not differ with respect to exhaustivity and contrast. It is also argued that the two differ with respect to discourse topichood. In this sense, it is shown that Greek preverbal object foci are actually fronted discourse topics.
In the second part of the thesis, a production and two perception (one using natural stimuli and one using manipulated stimuli) experiments were carried out to investigate the phonetic properties of preverbal and postverbal object foci in Greek. Moreover, a production and a perception experiment were carried out to investigate the phonetic realization of contrast in Greek.
This study is of relevance to anyone interested in the semantic and phonetic properties of object foci, in tests for identifying foci and topics or in approaches that combine theoretical and experimental means.