'Czech' the alternatives: A probe recognition study of focus and word order


  • Radim Lacina
  • Radek Šimík
  • Nicole Gotzner




Comprehenders have been found to activate, select, and represent plausible alternatives to focused elements when processing incoming sentences (see Gotzner & Spalek, 2019 for an overview). This is consistent with Rooth’s (1992) theory of focus interpretation, which claims that the function of focus is to create an additional level of meaning consisting of a set of propositions derived by replacing the focused element with its contextually appropriate alternatives of the same semantic type. However, the psycholinguistic research on the processing of focus has mostly been done on a small sample of Germanic languages which mostly use prosody to mark focus. We tested whether the current results generalise to Czech, which can use word order to mark narrow focus. We report on a probe recognition study aiming to test whether Czech comprehenders represent alternatives to focused subjects. The results provide preliminary evidence in favour of this claim.




How to Cite

Lacina, R., Šimík, R., & Gotzner, N. (2023). ’Czech’ the alternatives: A probe recognition study of focus and word order. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 27, 365–380. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2023.v27.1075

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