Focus is that rare topic in Linguistics which has spawned serious work in Phonology, Syntax, and Semantics. Considering a pair of sentences such as (1), Phonology must determine which words are stressed (indicted by SMALL CAPS below), Syntax must derive the unusual word order, and Semantics must distinguish what extra meaning is imparted by such devices.
(1) JOHN, I like; MARY, I love.
This seminar will examine all three of these perspectives on Focus, with a slight emphasis on Semantics. (Term papers may be on any aspect of Focus.) Subtopics to be examined include, but are certainly not limited to, the assignment of pitch accents, Focus and word order, Focus across languages, and Question-Answer Congruence.