Olga Arnaudova  


Areas of interest


  • syntax and semantics of Slavic and Balkan languages, in particular Bulgarian.

  • discourse and sentence structure; focus and prosodic movement

  • Teaching theory and pedagogy

  • My doctoral thesis deals with focus and argument selection from the perspective of the Minimalist program (Chomsky 1995) and recent work on focus assignment (Zubizarretta 1998). In one of the focus strategies, discussed in the thesis, I examine structures where pronominal clitics are found together with full nouns/full pronouns in the same clause, as in (1).

    (1) Ivan na Marija pismoto j go dade vchera.

    Ivan to Mary letterDEF she DAT he MASC givePAST.3SG yesterday

    "Ivan gave to Mary the letter yesterday."

    This dissertation examines several properties of the Bulgarian clause from a recent perspective on focus and intonation (Cinque 1993, Zubizarreta 1998, Kiss 1998, among others) and the Minimalist Program (Chomsky 1995 and later). Word orders are argued to be determined in two components of the grammar: one conditioned by the computational system and hosting also uninterpretable focus features, and one, where intonation and focus interact.

    Semantically, focus is claimed to be a predication function with two manifestations. In one, the function of subject of predication or topic (Reinhart 1995) needs to be identified; in the other, a presuppositional assertion containing a variable or a set of alternatives needs to be properly saturated. These two types of foci, respectively labeled predication focus and argument focus, are shown to have various manifestations in Bulgarian clause structures.

    Discourse operators in the CP-part of the clause can host topics ("subjects of predication") realized as subjects, objects, and prepositional phrases, while the clause 'proper' (VP (IP)) contains the clitics (argument variables). The domain of predication focus is the VP (IP). Based on work by Baker 1996 and Jelinek 1984 for Amerindian languages, and incorporating ideas from Iatridou 1991 and Rudin 1997, my analysis for Bulgarian assumes that predication is thus realized at two levels: the CP-part of the clause containing several unordered 'subjects of predication' and the predication focus domain, containing either nominals and full pronouns or clitic variables.

    Argument focus is shown to have two manifestations: information focus and contrastive focus. Information focus occurs when a presuppositional assertion contains a variable, and contrastive focus (cf. Kiss's 1998 'identificational focus') when the assertion includes a set of alternatives, restricted or otherwise. Information focus is obtained by the interaction of the Nuclear stress rule with the hierarchical order of arguments, and through the Focus Prosody rule. Instances of P(rosodic)-movement are shown to fix mismatches between the Nuclear stress rule and the Focus Prosody rule deriving subject-final orders and PP-DP restructurings.

    Contrastive focus is given an account in comparison with the split CP analysis for the Italian clause, described by Rizzi 1997. For Bulgarian declaratives and wh-questions, it is proposed that a formal focus feature triggers movement to the highest functional projection in the IP field - T/Agr or a Mood Phrase (Rivero 1994). It is also shown that dislocated topics are never found below focused items spreading in Bulgarian 'upwards' rather than 'downwards'.

    My research advisor is prof. María Luisa Rivero.

    Formal Approaches to Slavic Linguistics (FASL) 12 (University of Ottawa, May 9-11, 2003)






    2002. Clitic Left Dislocation and Argument Structure in Bulgarian. In Proceedings of FASL-10, University of Michigan.


    2002. On the Interaction between Focus and Intonation in the Bulgarian sentence. In Gerhild Zybatow, Uwe Junghanns, Grit Mehlhorn & Luka Szucsich (eds.) Current Issues in Formal Slavic Linguistics. Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang.365-376


    2001. Prosodic movement and Information Focus in Bulgarian. In Proceedings of Ninth Conference on Formal Approaches to Slavic Linguistics (FASL-9), edited by St. Franks, T. H. King and M. Yadroff, Michigan Slavic Publications.


    2000. Prosodic Movement: Why is it Necessary? Cahiers Linguistiques d’Ottawa, vol. 28: 1-15


    1999. Information Focus versus Contrastive Focus. In Proceedings from the Annual Conference of the Canadian Linguistic Association: 1-15.


    1998. The Bulgarian Noun (Adjective) Movement to D. Trondheim Working Papers in Linguistics,28: 1-28


    1996. Bulgarian DPs and Noun (Adjective) Movement to D. Toronto Working Papers in Linguistics: 1-12


    Book (as a co-editor):

    2001. The Minimalist Parameter: Selected Papers from the Open Linguistics Forum, Ottawa, 21-23 March 1997, ed. by G. M. Alexandrova and O. Arnaudova, (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory,Vol 192), John Benjamins


    Table of contents

    Conference talks


    Clitic Left Dislocation, Topicality and Argument Structure in Bulgarian. Formal Approaches to Slavic Languages (FASL-10), University of Michigan, May, 2001

    Prosody, Focus and Bulgarian Clause Structure. ACME Balkanica Conference, Concordia University,April, 2001

    Intonation, Syntax and Semantic Prominence in Slavic (with Jon Wood). Poster presented at the Linguistics Research Laboratory Day , Simard 334, April 2001

    Prosody and Focus: A study on Slavic Intonation(with Jon Wood). MOT, University of Ottawa,February, 2001

    Asymmetry in Slavic NPs: Deriving Focus from Ordered Set of Functions (with Alona Soshen).Annual Meeting of AATSEL, Washington, DC, December 2000

    Prosodic Movement in Slavic. Annual Meeting of AATSEL, Washington, DC, December 2000

    On two Focus Strategies in Bulgarian. Formal Approaches to Slavic Languages (FASL-9),
    Bloomington, Indiana, February, 2000

    On the Interaction of Focus and Intonation in the Bulgarian sentence. FDSL-3
    (Formal Description of Slavic Languages), University of Leipzig, December, 1999

    Information Focus versus Contrastive Focus. Annual Meeting of the Canadian Linguistic
    Association, Sherbrooke, May 1998

    Determiners and the Structure of the Noun Phrase. Second European Conference on Formal Approaches to South Slavic Languages (FASSL-2), Sofia, Bulgaria

    The Noun (Adjective) Movement to D. First European Conference on Formal Approaches to South Slavic Languages (FASSL-1), Plovdiv, Bulgaria

    The structure of the Bulgarian DP. Annual Meeting of the Canadian Linguistic Association, Montreal, 1995





    My photo album




    Mailing address:

    Olga Arnaudova
    Department of Linguistics
    University of Ottawa
    70 Laurier Ave E.
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1K 2Y1


    Last modified: October 7, 2002