Focus operators (even, sogar, incluso…) are a subclass of discourse particles that act upon the information structure of utterances: they highlight an element within an utterance and present it as more informative than the (implicit or explicit) set of alternatives they evoke (Dimroth 2004; Gast 2006). As a result, the highlighted element – the focus of the utterance – is added to its alternative/s, thus building an informative scale:
Diane drinks [beer, wine]alternative and [even]focus operator [sherry]focus
The research group “Discourse particles and cognition” resorts to reading experiments and to the Visual World Paradigm (VWP), as well as to comprehension tests, to analyze how additive scalar focus operators condition information processing in different experimental conditions and in several languages.
Projects in this area:
Dr. Iria Bello Viruega: Focus particles and information structure in English
Adriana Cruz Rubio: Focus particles and information structure in Spanish: an experimental study to analyze the cognitive processing of scalarity
Martha Rudka: Information structure and experimental pragmatics: processing patterns of focusing with discourse particles in German
Lourdes Torres: The additive scalar focus particle hasta. An experimental study to analyze the information processing in Spanish