Edited by Lena Karssenberg, Karen Lahousse, Béatrice Lamiroy, Stefania Marzo and Ana Drobnjakovic
[Belgian Journal of Linguistics 32] 2018
► pp. 1–20
In this article we present an overview of current debates in the analysis of cleft sentences. The types of sentences that are often seen as prototypical examples of the cleft category are introduced by it is or a cross-linguistic equivalent; in addition, they have specificational semantics and a focus-background information structure articulation. We argue here that other, less prototypical types of constructions, which have received less attention, also belong to the cleft category: sentences that are introduced by expressions such as there is and you’ve got (and their cross-linguistic equivalents), as well as sentences introduced by it is which do not have specificational semantics and which express other types of information structure articulations (e.g. all-focus or topic-comment). We argue that it is fruitful to analyse these ‘non-prototypical’ clefts in more depth, not only to come to a better understanding about these sentence types in their own right, but also to arrive at insights in the phenomenon of ‘clefts’ in general.