Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Stephen A. Marlett


This thesis is a study of focus structure in Somali within the framework of Role and Reference Grammar (RRG). Focus is an important phenomenon in Somali, and this thesis investigates the different types of focus which occur in Somali, the effects of the focus markers on other features in the language, and the interaction between syntax and focus structure. Data on Somali focus structure was collected in consultation with three native speakers of Somali, and also gathered from previous research on the Somali Language. Although word order in Somali is relatively free, focus structure is correspondingly rigid, a finding which supports the RRG hypothesis that syntax and focus structure adapt to each other as necessary.

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