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date: 17 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the semantics and pragmatics of contrastive topics vis-à-vis focus. A semi-formal characterization of its main properties is given, using the techniques of alternative semantics and questions under discussion. This treatment is compared to various analyses proposed in the literature for contrastive topics and arguably related constructions, such as the English rise–fall–rise contour. Finally a brief discussion of non-contrastive topics is provided.

Keywords: topic, contrastive topic, alternative semantics, question under discussion, rise–fall–rise

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