chapter  3
28 Pages

Topic-prominence in Asian contact languages

WithSven Leuckert

This chapter considers the potential of topicalization as a contact-induced feature in Asian Englishes by analysing major contact languages of English in Hong Kong, India, the Philippines, and Singapore. Hindi, Marathi, Bangla, Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Cantonese, Mandarin, Malay, and Tagalog are analysed with regard to so-called topic-prominence. More precisely, the chapter gives an account of features that indicate that these languages structure their sentences according to what the sentence is about (topic-comment) rather than according to the subject-predicate principle. The chapter reveals that Cantonese and Mandarin are highly topic-prominent, while the other languages are both subject- and topic-prominent or are not classifiable in this sense (as is the case for Tagalog).