The Syntax-Focus Structure Interface

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Focus structure (f-structure) theory is a model of informational structure. It provides a natural account of a wide range of linguistic phenomena, usually ac-counted for by syntactic constraints and rules of logical form (LF), including quantifier scope, interpretations of wh-questions, anaphora, and extraction. A model of grammar necessarily includes f-structure since it determines intonation. F-structure theory allows for a large part of syntax, including LF syntax, to be handled by f-structure principles. The model I propose is therefore maximally simple in that it enables interpretation off-structures directly without the mediation of LF. Constraints on f-structure take two forms: those that are only loosely deter-mined by syntax rendering marked and unmarked sequences (quantifier scope), and others which pertain to a well-defined class of dependencies which require isomorphism between f-structure and syntactic structure. This chapter aims to illustrate these claims with a selection of such dependencies (wh-movement, negation)
Original languageEnglish GB
Title of host publicationThe Limits of Syntax
EditorsPeter Culicover , Louise McNally
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
StatePublished - 1998

Publication series

NameSyntax and Semantics


  • Grammar
  • Comparative and general -- Syntax


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