O'Hagan defends dissertation

November 20, 2020

Congratulations to Zach O'Hagan, who will defend his dissertation, "Focus in Caquinte," on Tuesday, November 24, 9am-12pm (with a celebration at 5pm). Everyone is warmly invited: https://berkeley.zoom.us/j/93235048189

9:10-9:15 Introductory words
9:15-9:45 Candidate's presentation
9:45-10:35 Dissertation committee's questions and candidate's responses
10:35-10:45 Break
10:45-11:10 Dissertation committee's questions and candidate's responses
11:10-11:30 Audience questions and candidate's responses
11:30 End of public part of defense
11:30-12:00 Candidate and committee debriefing

5pm: Celebration https://berkeley.zoom.us/j/95596376015

Focus in Caquinte
Caquinte (Arawak, Peru) distinguishes information focus (nonsalient alternatives) from contrastive focus (salient alternatives), the former expressed by word order, the latter by two series of preverbal markers that differ in whether they evoke referential or polar alternatives (“genti” v. “ro” forms, respectively). Different members of each series target arguments versus non-arguments (the latter including a proposition). The “genti” forms occur only in positive declarative clauses. Negative and/or interrogative clauses, or those containing other markers that evoke polar alternatives (e.g., counterfactual =me), are realized only with “ro” forms.

I analyze salient alternatives as daughters of a Question under Discussion (QUD): “genti” forms resolve constituent QUDs, “ro” forms polar ones. Constituent and polar QUDs combine in the expression of subtypes of contrastive focus (e.g., corrections). I also review exclusive focus (cf. only), expressed by aparo 'one,' and two kinds of marking of verum focus (emphasis on the truth or falsity of a proposition).