Article published in:Non-prototypical clefts
Edited by Lena Karssenberg, Karen Lahousse, Béatrice Lamiroy, Stefania Marzo and Ana Drobnjakovic
[Belgian Journal of Linguistics 32] 2018
► pp. 53–85
Setting the boundaries
Presentational ci-sentences in Italian
Constructions that are typically used to introduce a new referent into the discourse may extend this function so as to introduce a new event or situation. In this paper, I examine the case of presentational ci-sentences in Italian, which have developed exactly this new function out of existential sentences. Despite being superficially similar to existential sentences, as well as to clefts, presentational ci-sentences must be kept separate from both sentence types, and must be treated as an independent construction with distinct structural and functional properties. Unlike existentials, presentational ci-sentences assert the existence of an event or situation and involve a predicational structure characterized by a CP (the relative clause) that functions as the predicate of the DP. Unlike clefts, which are typically used to mark narrow focus, presentational ci-sentences display a sentence-focus structure whereby the event is presented as all new. A contrastive analysis of presentational ci-sentences against existentials and clefts will thus allow us not only to understand the exact boundaries between these constructions, but also to identify more precisely the distinctive characteristic properties of each sentence type.
Keywords: presentational, cleft, existential, locative, focus, Italian
Published online: 21 January 2019
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