How do you differentiate phrases which are topics, focalized, or just plain subjects? What tests can you use?

I am looking at the data below-- the capitalized Hawaiian phrases have been claimed to be focalized (emphasized).

  • (1) KE HĀ’AWI AKU NEI au I kēia iā’oe.

  • PRES give away PRES 1s ACC this to you

  • ‘I give this to you.’

  • (2) ‘O WAU ke hā’awi aku nei i kēia iā’oe.

  • I give this to you.’

  • (3) ‘O ‘OE ka mea a’u e hā’awi aku nei i kēia.

  • ‘I give this to you.’

  • (4) ‘O KĒIA ka’u e hā’awi aku nei iā’oe.

  • ‘I give this to you.’

Please send help. I am looking for how to distinguish (in general) between "topic," "focalized," or just vanilla subjects.

  • 2
    Topic and focus are terms that are used in different ways by different linguists, and often have special senses when they refer to traditions in the analysis of specific languages or language families. In the case of Austronesian languages, there are a number of phenomena that can use the term, and they vary a lot from language to language. You would need to consult a specialist on Hawai'ian, or a native speaker. Failing that, you could start by looking at Austronesian alignment systems. – jlawler Aug 4 '20 at 2:04

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