Book section Open Access

Focus marking in Kuria

Meredith Landman; Rodrigo Ranero

This paper examines focus marking in Kuria. We propose an account of the syntax/semantics
of the prefix /ne-/. This prefix displays a varied syntactic distribution, posing a puzzle as to
what semantically unifies all of its uses. In focus constructions, /ne-/ obligatorily appears
on a fronted (i.e. focused) phrase, whereas in simple declaratives, /ne-/ obligatorily appears
pre-verbally. Following previous analyses of similar markers in Bantu (Schwarz 2007 for
Kikuyu and Abels & Muriungi 2008 for Kiitharaka), we analyze /ne-/ uniformly as a focus
marker that arises in a focus phrase in the left periphery. We support this account of /ne-
/ by presenting novel data that suggest that even when /ne-/ occurs pre-verbally, it still
marks focus (VP focus or sentential focus.) We also show how /ne-/ differs syntactically
from similar markers in other languages. For example, Kuria allows for the focus marker to
appear internal to the focused constituent, in contrast with data from Kiitharaka (Abels &
Muriungi 2008) and other languages (see Hartmann & Zimmermann 2009 for Guruntum).
This paper thus discusses a range of data patterns relating to the Kuria prefix /ne-/, offering
insight into a syntax/semantic puzzle as well as cross-linguistic variation in the realization
of focus.


Files (194.6 kB)
Name Size
194.6 kB Download
All versions This version
Views 115115
Downloads 5151
Data volume 9.9 MB9.9 MB
Unique views 106106
Unique downloads 5050


Cite as