Special Issue "Narrow Focus and Fronting Strategies"

A special issue of Languages (ISSN 2226-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 September 2022 | Viewed by 841

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Mara Frascarelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Roma Tre, 00146 Rome, Italy
Interests: interface analysis of discourse-related categories (esp. Focus, Topic, Correction, Mirativity); interpretation of null subjects in consistent, partial and radical languages; experiment-based comparative analysis of typologically different languages; acquisition of discourse-related phenomena;
Dr. Giorgio Carella
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Roma Tre, 00146 Rome, Italy
Interests: generative grammar; discourse grammar; interface phenomena; prosody; experimental-data collection; competence assessment; item analysis;

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Focus is a discourse category which has been given great attention by scholars in the last 50 years and is traditionally described as “that part of information that is assumed by the speaker not to be shared by the hearer” (Jackendoff 1972), while the unfocused part of the sentence provides background information. However, several works have shown the necessity to distinguish different Focus types for their formal, semantic and pragmatic properties (cf. Kiss 1998, Krifka 2007, Bianchi 2013, Bianchi et al. 2015, among others).

From a structural viewpoint, Focus can be realized in situ in a great number of languages. Nevertheless, Focus Fronting (FF) is also a major strategy, especially for some specific Focus types (cf., among many others, Alboiu 2004, Hartmann and Zimmermann 2007). However, its specific realization shows diverse patterns and seems to be prominently optional in a number of languages, calling into question the assumption that movement operations are driven by narrow syntax requirements (i.e., the interpretation of formal features in dedicated functional projections). Since such requirements should not be flexible, FF stands up as a vexed question.        

Given this scenario, this Special Issue aims to offer a fine-grained analysis of FF (and related marked strategies, such as clefting) across natural languages, concentrating in particular on Corrective Focus (cf. Neeleman et al. 2006; Bianchi and Bocci 2012, among others) and Mirative Focus (cf. Bianchi et al 2016).

We strongly encourage interested scholars and researchers to contribute to this Special Issue, submitting a paper on marked Focus strategies, preferably comparing typologically different languages. Contributions addressing the thematics of fronting optionality and investigating Slavic and non-Indo-European languages will be prioritized.

Interested authors are requested to submit a title and an abstract of 400–600 words. Relevant deadlines are given in the completion schedule below.

Abstracts should be sent to the Languages editorial office ([email protected]). They will be reviewed by the guest editors for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue.

Notification of acceptance will be given by the end of February. Full manuscripts will then undergo double-blind peer-review.

Tentative completion schedule:

  • Abstract submission deadline: 15 January 2022
  • Notification of abstract acceptance: 28 February 2022
  • Full manuscript deadline: 15 September 2022

Invited contributors:

  • Silvio Cruschina
  • Àngel Jiménez-Fernandez
  • Victor Junnan Pan


Alboiu, Gabriela. 2004. Optionality at the interface: Triggering focus in Romanian. In Triggers, ed. by Henk van Riemsdijk NS Anne Breitbath, 49–75. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Bianchi, Valentina. 2013. On ‘focus movement’ in Italian. In Information structure and agreement, ed. by Maria Victoria Camacho Taboada, Ángel L. Jiménez-Fernández, Javier Martín-González, and Mariano Reyes-Tejedor, 193-216. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Bianchi, Valentina, and Giuliano Bocci. 2012. Should I stay or should I go? Optional focus movement in Italian. In Empirical issues in syntax and semantics 9, ed. Christopher Piñon, 1–16. Paris: EISS.

Bianchi, Valentina, Giuliano Bocci and Silvio Cruschina. 2015. Focus fronting and its implicatures. In Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory 2013, ed. by Aboh Enoch, Jeannette Schaeffer and Petra Sleeman, 3-20. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Bianchi, Valentina, Giuliano Bocci and Silvio Cruschina. 2016. Focus fronting, unexpectedness, and evaluative implicatures. Semantic and Pragmatics 9 (3).

Hartmann, Katharina and Malte Zimmermann. 2007. In place – out of place: Focus in Hausa. In On information structure, meaning and form: Generalizatons across languages, ed. by Schwabe Kerstin and Susanne Winkler, 365–403. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Jackendoff, Ray. 1972. Semantic Interpretation in Generative Grammar. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Kiss, Katalin É. 1998. Identificational focus versus information focus. Language 74: 245-273.

Krifka, Manfred. 2007. Basic notions of information structure. In Interdisciplinary studies on information structure, ed. by Féry Caroline and Manfred Krifka, 13–55. ISIS: Universitätverlag Potsdam.

Neeleman, Ad, Elena Titov, Hans van de Koot, and Reiko Vermeulen. 2007. A syntactic typology of topic, focus and contrast. In Alternatives to Cartography, ed. by van Craenenbroek Jeroen, 15-52. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Prof. Dr. Mara Frascarelli
Dr. Giorgio Carella
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Languages is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • informative focus
  • corrective focus
  • mirative focus
  • focus strategies
  • fronting
  • optionality
  • discourse grammar
  • narrow syntax

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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