Edited by Anna-Maria De Cesare and Cecilia Andorno
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 278] 2017
► pp. 79–106
The present contribution aims to investigate the distribution of the Italian adverbs addiritura and perfino/persino using authentic linguistic data. Different structural, semantic and argumentative factors that are said to correlate with, or influence the distribution of these adverbs, shall be examined. The current scientific state of knowledge regarding the specificities of addirittura and perfino/persino shall be compared with data from Repubblica Corpus and C-Oral-Rom. Such comparison will show that the distribution of addirittura and perfino/persino is influenced by the syntactic function of the element in the focus, its semantics in the specific context (in particular the existence of focus alternatives), as well as the type of argumentative reinforcement marked by the adverb. Addirittura tends to refer to the predicate or the sentence as a whole. It is mainly used for direct argumentative reinforcement and may occur in non-additive contexts. In contrast, perfino/persino tends to create a local focus, is far less common in non-additive contexts and can be used for direct, as well as indirect argumentative reinforcement. These differences in use confirm the overall results of previous research and may be due to the diachronic evolution of the two adverbs.