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How can you distinguish between "topic," "focalized," or just vanilla subjects?

Linguistics Asked by Matthew Fulton on August 16, 2020

How do you differentiate phrases which are topics, focalized, or just plain subjects? What tests can you use?

I am looking at the data below– the capitalized Hawaiian phrases have been claimed to be focalized (emphasized).

  • (1) KE HĀ’AWI AKU NEI au I kēia iā’oe.

  • PRES give away PRES 1s ACC this to you

  • ‘I give this to you.’

  • (2) ‘O WAU ke hā’awi aku nei i kēia iā’oe.

  • I give this to you.’

  • (3) ‘O ‘OE ka mea a’u e hā’awi aku nei i kēia.

  • ‘I give this to you.’

  • (4) ‘O KĒIA ka’u e hā’awi aku nei iā’oe.

  • ‘I give this to you.’

Please send help. I am looking for how to distinguish (in general) between "topic," "focalized," or just vanilla subjects.

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