Colloquium: Autofocus with Eneq in Menominee

April 26, 3:30-5pm, Cobb 201
Monica Macaulay, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This talk presents work in progress on an unusual construction in Menominee, in which inflected pronouns appear in focus position, creating a cleft-like construction with focus on their own pronominal content. This construction is extremely common in texts, both traditional and contemporary. I describe the construction, pointing out that it can focus on a particular element in the sentence, or it can have temporal focus, functioning to move the narrative forward. I then look at published descriptions of a construction in the related language Ojibwe, the mii construction, which shows striking parallels to theeneq construction—but also significant differences. Mii is a particle which focuses a (usually) following constituent or the whole proposition. I look at the description of mii's functions in the light of typologies of focus, and then consider the parallels to eneq. I close with a number of language-specific and more general issues which I am continuing to pursue.