Chapter published in:Boundaries, Phases and Interfaces: Case studies in honor of Violeta Demonte
Edited by Olga Fernández-Soriano, Elena Castroviejo Miró and Isabel Pérez-Jiménez
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 239] 2017
► pp. 224–254
Subextraction at the Discourse-Grammar interface
A featural approach to island effects
In this paper we carry out an interface investigation of subject islands in Italian and Spanish, in which subextraction in the form of focus fronting is connected with the type of Focus implemented by the subextracted PP (Corrective vs. Mirative) and the D-properties of the subextraction site. Adopting a featural approach, we claim that subjects are not ‘absolute’ islands and variation is not idiosyncratic: subextraction is possible in the two languages under examination provided specific properties are met in the relevant D-domain and depending on the information-structural properties of the subextracted PP. More precisely, subextraction of a Corrective Focus in Italian is fully accepted from [−spec] DPs, whereas Spanish needs a [−def] feature in the same context. Subextraction to obtain a mirative interpretation, on the other hand, is only (marginally) allowed from [+def, −spec] DPs: this is attributed to the compatibility between D-features and the discourse-semantics properties of a Mirative Focus.
Keywords: focus fronting, subextraction, specificity, Aboutness-shift Topic, interfaces
Published online: 14 June 2017
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