Edited by Jacopo Garzonio and Silvia Rossi
[Linguistic Variation 18:2] 2018
► pp. 336–358
Speaker-oriented syntax and root clause complementizers
The object of study of this paper is a Romance construction characterized by the presence of the complementizer in root clauses and by an evidential or epistemic meaning (i.e. C-constructions). In these structures, the complementizer is preceded by a functional element that morphologically coincides with an adjective or an adverb. From a morphosyntactic viewpoint, we show that these structures are monoclausal and that the epistemic or evidential item preceding the complementizer has undergone a process of grammaticalization becoming a functional element. As for their use and interpretation, we describe their primary semantic meaning, as well as their pragmatic extensions and functions, which involve subjectification and intersubjectivity. We finally propose a syntactic configuration that can account for C-constructions and their properties in the syntax representation. This configuration involves the assumption of a projection – in fact, a set of projections – above ForceP which encode speaker-oriented and pragmatic features (e.g. evaluative, evidential, epistemic values).