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On Tuesday, October 12, 2004, at 08:15 , H. S. Teoh wrote:

> On Tue, Oct 12, 2004 at 06:54:38PM +0100, Ray Brown wrote:
>> On Monday, October 11, 2004, at 08:44 , Mark J. Reed wrote:
> [...]
>> Not as far as I am aware. I dare say some odd linguistic school may use
>> one or other term in an esoteric way. But 'topic' is used as a
>> conventional label in the Philippine languages for an overtly marked NP
>> that exhibits some, but not all, of the typical properties of subjects.
>> As
>> H. S. Teoh writes only of NPs, I wonder if he has that usage in mind.
>> However, by making 'topic' and 'focus' synonymous, I'm not at all sure
>> what he does mean.
>
> Yes, I guess what I meant was this usage: i.e., exhibiting some of the
> typical properties of subjects. I was trying to avoid using "subject"
> because the case system of the conlang doesn't really have that
> concept,

In that case it might be worth investigating the use of 'topic' for the
overtly marked NP in Philippine languages. I'm afraid I have little
knowledge of these languages, but I think some on the list do know of
these languages.

But if 'topic' in your conlang is analogous to Philippine use then as long
you make it clear you are using 'topic' this way & don't mention focus, it
should be OK, I think.

>  being essentially a reduced form of the EbisÚdian case
> system. But in retrospect "subject" is probably more appropriate than
> "topic" or "focus".
>
> [...]
>>> I *believe*,
>>> however, that a "focus" is a new element in the conversation, appearing
>>> for the first time in the sentence in question, while a "topic"
>>> is an already-established element that may not even be explicit
>>> in the sentence under discussion.
>>
>> That's basically it.
>
> I see. Now the NP in question, although it's sorta like a subject, can
> sometimes behave a bit like a focus. For example:
>
> 	san tse ka  hamra huu na  aram.
> 	man you ORG see   I   RCP see-COMPL
> 	"I see you, sir." Lit. "You sir, I see."
>
> Another example:
>
> 	tse nei     haara sa  dutan?
> 	you RCP-fem noise CVY hear
> 	"Do you hear that noise?"
>
> 	haara sa  tse nei     dutan?
> 	noise CVY you RCP-fem hear
> 	"That noise: did you hear it?"
>
> This looks like the fronting mechanism you describe later in your
> post.

Yes, but bear in mind that fronting is more commonly used IME for
_topicalization_. Welsh is unusual in fronting the focus. The sort of
topic fronting that we have in German is the more common use of fronting.

[snip]
> I guess it should be "subject" then. Perhaps I should just accept that
> subjects in this conlang necessarily behaves in odd ways sometimes,
> because of the fact that it uses an EbisÚdian-like case system. :-)

well, as I say, it may well be worth checking out 'topic' in the Philipine
langs before just plumping for "subject".

[snip]
> --
> INTEL = Only half of "intelligence".

    :-D

Ray
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