Focus on what's not at issue: Gestures, presuppositions, appositives under contrastive focus

  • Maria Esipova


This paper is an attempt to systematically investigate how contrastive focus interacts with various types of not-at-issue content (co-speech and post-speech gestures, lexical presuppositions, and appositives). I look, in particular, at when focus forces at-issue interpretations of typically not-at-issue content, when it does not, and when such at-issue interpretations are impossible even to satisfy focus-related requirements. I conclude that the main factors affecting how a given type of content aligns along these dimensions are its prosodic (in)dependence and level of attachment in the syntax. The two factors also interact in a non-trivial way, in particular for gestures, which I use as a basis for an analysis of gestures that does not assume that their temporal alignment directly determines their semantics (contra Ebert and Ebert, 2014; Ebert, 2017; Schlenker, 2018), but instead relies on syntax/semantics and syntax/prosody interaction.
How to Cite
Esipova, M. (2019). Focus on what’s not at issue: Gestures, presuppositions, appositives under contrastive focus. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 22(1), 385-402. Retrieved from