Edited by Christine Meklenborg Salvesen
[Linguistic Variation 19:1] 2019
► pp. 82–117
On the left periphery of three languages of Northern Italy
New insights into the typology of relaxed V2
Through a focus on the properties of subject-finite verb inversion and XP fronting in three relaxed V2 languages, namely Cimbrian, Ladin and Mòcheno, this paper aims to widen and refine our understanding of relaxed V2 languages, i.e. languages in which the V2 property should be understood in a technical sense as obligatory V-to-C movement, not as a simple description referring to linearisation (Benincà 2006, 2013; Ledgeway 2016). It will be shown that inversion differs across relaxed V2 languages in two ways. In a first subtype, inversion is not associated with any marked pragmatic interpretation of the lexical subject and the subject appears in an A position in the IP area: this type is instantiated by Old Italian (Benincà 2006, Poletto 2014). A second option, instantiated by the languages considered in this paper, is that the lexical subject receives a pragmatically marked interpretation which is encoded in a Functional Projection (FP) in the vP periphery (Belletti 2004, Poletto 2006). This paper confirms that V3/V4 word orders involve the presence of a double articulation for foci and wh-elements, which appear in different positions in the CP layer in relaxed V2 languages (Poletto 2002, Wolfe 2015 a,b). It also contributes to our understanding of the syntax of topics in relaxed V2 languages by showing that (i) topics can be moved to CP and (ii) the movement option is not restricted to main clauses lacking an XP in the left periphery; it also occurs in interrogative clauses (unlike in the relaxed V2 varieties considered in Walkden 2014, 2015).