At 10:17 pm -0500 15/2/00, Roger Mills wrote:
>    Au contraire.  I may have caused confusion-- the subtleties of syntax
>have never been one of my favorite topics,

Yep - I always prefer phonology  :)

>so I could well be using terms
>interchangeably where I oughtn't.  That said, for me "focus", "fronting" and
>"topicalization" are pretty much the same thing,

Yes, I was guilty of this till someone (I forget who but I'm pretty sure it
was a member of this list) took the trouble to point out the difference
between 'topic' & 'focus'. I've got it now :)

Now I find the distinction useful.

Fronting is a fifferent, tho allied, phenomenon.  From what I see, fronting
of topic (as in german) seems to be more common than fronting of focus (as
in Welsh).

>at least as I've encountered
>them in the Malayo-Polynesian field.  They do of course depend on context,
>stylistics, speaker's intention etc., so isolated examples are difficult.

I could well imagine that stylistic differences in a language might cause
different types of fronting.  Presumably there'd be other pointers (e.g.
intonation and/or use of particles) to signal what was being fronted.

>(Possibly a British vs. American difference in terminology/analytical

I doubt it.  If there is, then I'm out of step because it was most
certainly an American who put me right on this   :)

> Of course from Keolah's three sentences taken out of context, it's not
> possible to tell whether we have focus fronting or topic fronting.  But the
> English translations suggested the latter to me.

Yes, I agree.  They suggested topic fronting to me also - and Keolah's
other remarks seem to bear this out.


A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
                   [J.G. Hamann 1760]