Information structure in Caucasian Urum. An empirical investigation on the effect of focus and topic on word order

Schröter S (2019)
Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.

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Bielefelder E-Dissertation | Englisch
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This thesis investigates the interaction of syntax and information structure in Caucasian Urum. Caucasian Urum (henceforth: Urum) is a little document and severely endangered variety of Anatolian Turkish, which is spoken by a minority of ethnic Greeks in the Small Caucasus in Georgia. Although Urum is an Anatolian variety of Turkish and shares a lot of similarities with Standard Turkish, previous studies have shown that the language reveals several influences from Russian, especially in the lexicon and in the grammar (cf. Skopeteas2013). A particular characteristic of Urum is the free position of the verb within the verb phrase, i.e., both OV and VO orders frequently occur in the same discourse contexts (Skopeteas2014). The main objectives of this dissertation are to analyze whether there is an interaction of focus/topic and word order in Urum and to answer the research question to what extend the observed change in the word order from OV to a language with a free position of the verb affects the information structural possibilities of Urum.

In order to answer the research questions I conducted two elicitation studies and two acceptability judgment tasks on the interaction of (a) focus and word order and (b) topic and word order in the three object languages Turkish (=substrate language), Russian (=contact language) and Urum. The results of the empirical studies revealed that Urum shows a lot more flexibility with regard to its information structural possibilities than Turkish, which does for instance not allow postverbal foci. By contrast, the results of the elicitation study indicated that foci in Russian are most likely to occur either in-situ or clause-finally. Furthermore, the results of the acceptability judgment task revealed that Russian speakers also accept preverbal foci. Quite similar results were also found for Urum. However, the position of both topics and foci in Urum seems to be even more flexible than in Russian. These findings suggest that the change in the word order of Urum from OV to a language with a free position of the verb within the VP led to an extension of the information structural possibilities of the language.
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Schröter S. Information structure in Caucasian Urum. An empirical investigation on the effect of focus and topic on word order. Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld; 2019.
Schröter, S. (2019). Information structure in Caucasian Urum. An empirical investigation on the effect of focus and topic on word order. Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.
Schröter, S. (2019). Information structure in Caucasian Urum. An empirical investigation on the effect of focus and topic on word order. Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.
Schröter, S., 2019. Information structure in Caucasian Urum. An empirical investigation on the effect of focus and topic on word order, Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.
S. Schröter, Information structure in Caucasian Urum. An empirical investigation on the effect of focus and topic on word order, Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld, 2019.
Schröter, S.: Information structure in Caucasian Urum. An empirical investigation on the effect of focus and topic on word order. Universität Bielefeld, Bielefeld (2019).
Schröter, Stefanie. Information structure in Caucasian Urum. An empirical investigation on the effect of focus and topic on word order. Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld, 2019.
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2019-01-24T08:56:12Z

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