MULL-lab will be meeting this Tuesday, April 11th at 3:00 pm. Meetings take place in Rm. 002 of the McGill Linguistics department, with a Zoom room open for those unable to join in person. 

This week, Yoann will be presenting a talk entitled: ‘On the syntactic reflexes of focus in Kalaallisut’. The abstract is below.

Focus in Kalaaallisut (Inuit-Yupik-Unangan) can be expressed via a cleft-like construction in which an enclitic demonstrative (=dem) surfaces on a sentence-initial focused element, while material to the right is presupposed (Fortescue 1984). We propose that (i) =dems are subjects of small clauses, and that (ii) focus triggers fronting to a clause initial Spec,FocP.

Viewing =dems not as focus markers per se, but as dems being part of a distinct syntactic construction seems to make correct predictions regarding several empirical patterns in Kalaallisut clefts. (1) Movement to a clause initial Spec,FocP gives rise to the Focus-dem-Presup. order; (2) SCs being devoid of case assigners, enclitic demonstratives surface in their unmarked abs form; (3) attested instances of feature mismatches between the focused constituent and =dem are expected, since they do not form a syntactic constituent.

In this presentation, I highlight basic morphosyntactic and semantic facts of cleft focus constructions in Kalaallisut, and consider how such an analysis could be extended to Baffin Inuktitut.

Please register in advance HERE to receive the Zoom link. You can also share this link with others who may want to join.