Events

In this talk, I show that (i) there is no dedicated syntactic projection for focus and wh-items in Georgian, (ii) information structure is read off minimal syntactic structure, and (iii) information structure is determined by Georgian-specific requirements on the realization of prosodic prominence.

Georgian focus and wh-words appear in the immediately preverbal position:

(1) Gušin       dila-s      bebia        ra-s           
    yesterday   morning-dat grandma.nom  what-dat   
    alagebda?
    wash.prf.3sg
    "What did grandma clean yesterday morning?"
(2) Gušin       dila-s      bebia       samzareulo-s
    yesterday   morning-dat grandma.nom kitchen-dat         
    alagebda.
    wash.prf.3sg
    ‘Yesterday morning, grandma cleaned the kitchen.’

Lack of island effects and lack of weak crossover effects in root and relative clauses suggest that there is no evidence for operator-driven A-bar movement in Georgian. In addition, I show that Georgian does not have cross-clausal A-bar movement and uses wh-scope marking instead (Harris 1984). Using evidence from scope, binding, scalar interpretation of focused numerals, and verbal idioms I show that the focus/wh-expression stays in its base position.

Adjacency to the verb is required in order for the wh/focus item to receive prosodic prominence, which in Georgian is expressed by prosodically grouping the focus/wh-item with the verb. Since the wh/focus item does not undergo movement, focus-verb adjacency is achieved by displacement of intervening material to the right or left periphery of the clause (cf. Zubizarreta 1998, Ishihara 2001, Arregi 2002, Horvath 2010).

Using Condition C effects and epithet-binding data, I show that the material on the right periphery is always base-generated and is generally discourse-linked. The non-focal material in the left periphery can be either base-generated (typical of scene-setting expressions) or A-scrambled (Amiridze 2006).

These results support the approach to information structure (IS) according to which a particular IS status is imposed on structural positions, and does not stand in one-to-one correspondence to syntax (cf. Neeleman & Vermeulen 2012, a.o.), as opposed to the approach according to which a constituent moves to a given position to satisfy an IS criterion (Rizzi 1997, 2004).