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date: 18 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Japanese is known to have rich encoding of information structure in its grammar. Focus and givenness can be prosodically marked, and there are syntactic structures that are sensitive to information structure, such as cleft sentences, right dislocation, and a variety of phonologically silent structures. This chapter introduces core empirical facts surrounding Japanese information structure, which form the basis of numerous theoretical endeavours. Special attention is paid to the properties of wa-marked phrases. While the particle wa is closely tied to the notion of ‘aboutness’ topic, it has other uses that are not obviously connected to aboutness. The grammar of wa-marking also figures prominently in the discussion of a few additional issues that the chapter addresses, namely contrastiveness and its possible link to scalar implicature, and the recursively/embeddability of topicality in the context of ‘embedded root phenomena’.

Keywords: information structure, Japanese, grammar, focus, givenness, topicality, wa, recursivity, embedded root phenomena, wa-marking

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