Complex topic-comment structures in HPSG
Based on Krifka (1992) and de Kuthy (2000), this paper develops an architecture for complex topic-comment structures in HPSG and applies it to predicate fronting in English with the goal of capturing the insights of Ward (1988) on this construction. We argue that predicate fronting is a distributed constructional form consisting of an auxiliary occurring in a predicate preposing phrase. The use of predicate preposing is a function of a combination of simultaneous constraints on its theme structure, its background-focus distribution, and its presuppositional structure. It is shown that these constraints can be made explicit within the HPSG architecture developed here.