Gutzmann, Daniel. 2012. Verum – Fokus – Verum-Fokus? Fokus-basierte und lexikalische Ansätze. In: Blühdorn, Hardarik & Horst Lohnstein (ed.): Wahrheit – Fokus – Negation. Hamburg: Buske. 67–103.


The accent pattern known as verum focus is, as the term coined by Höhle (1992) suggests, commonly understood as a focus accent on a covert operator VERU that resides in the C-domain of the clause and whose function is to mark a proposition as true. This widespread analysis, which I call the focus accent thesis or FAT, is however not explicitly spelled out. The FAT can be contrasted with the lexical operator thesis or LOT, which gets support from languages in which the marking of verum differs crucially from other focus marking and according to which the verum accent is not related to focus, but the accent itself is the realization of a lexical verum operator. To compare these two competing views on verum marking, I will first work out the FAT in more detail and present a specific version of the LOT. The comparison shows that for simple contexts, both theories make the same predictions. When it comes to verum accents in embedded contexts, to association with focus, and to non-declarative sentence moods, they show different strength and weaknesses. In its current versions, the FAT seems to fare better with respect to the first two cases, while the LAT has fewer problems with the latter and with typological variation.