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. 121–143
A focus analysis of apparent predicational clefts
This paper discusses a specific subclass of English it-clefts posited in the theoretical literature, so-called predicational clefts. The main point of the paper is to show that there is no need to postulate such a separate class. Predicational clefts look special because of the narrow focus on the adjective within an indefinite pivot, but their special properties can all be derived from this narrow focus in a focus analysis in which it-clefts express contrasting focus. Contrasting focus means that besides the assertion of the proposition expressed in the cleft, there is one contrasting proposition which is excluded. The focus on the adjective in apparent predicational clefts gives rise to a narrow set of relevant alternatives, all of which differ only in the adjectival property within the pivot. The analysis developed here can account for many of the observations for apparent predicational clefts. Other properties are shown to be not conclusive. Thus, predicational clefts need not be considered a special subclass beyond their special focus characteristics.
- 2.Contrastive it-clefts in English
- 3.A focus analysis of apparent predicational clefts
- 3.2Contrasting focus with a predicative focus exponent
- 3.3Accounting for the focus-related properties of apparent predicational clefts
- 3.3.2Negation and contrast
- 3.3.3Focus on indefinite plurals
- 3.3.4Predicational questions and paraphrases
- 4.Other criteria for apparent predicational clefts
- 4.1Embedding in small clauses
- 4.2Negation with no
- 4.3 No inversion with pseudocleft equivalent
- 4.4Coordination of predicational and specificational clefts
- 4.5Modification by graded elements
- 4.6Specificity of the pivot
Published online: 21 January 2019
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