Chapter published in:Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory 14: Selected papers from the 46th Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL), Stony Brook, NY
Edited by Lori Repetti and Francisco Ordóñez
[Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory 14] 2018
► pp. 69–84
Ma non era rosso? (But wasn’t it red?)
On counter-expectational questions in Italian
In this article I investigate the properties of counter-expectational surprise yes-no questions in Italian, introduced by the adversative particle ma. These structures minimally contrast with surprise exclamations. I provide an analysis of the left periphery able to explain the observations concerning the distribution of ma, for instance that it must precede all other items in the clause and cannot be embedded. I propose that ma is a discourse head, projecting a syntactic structure analogous to that of normal syntactic heads. Discourse heads, however, connect separate sentences, which can also be uttered by different speakers, provided that they belong to the same context. I also add some brief remarks on the so-called expletive negation appearing in these cases.
Keywords: surprise questions, counter-expectational discourse, left periphery, expletive negation
Published online: 13 August 2018
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1995 “A case study in the interaction of aspect and actionality: The imperfect in Italian.” Temporal Reference, Aspect and Actionality, vol. I, Semantic and Syntactic Perspectives, ed. by Pier Marco Bertinetto, Valentina Bianchi, James Higginbotham, and Mario Squartini, 125–142. Turin: Rosenberg & Sellier.
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Cited by 1 other publications
Cognola, Federica & Silvio Cruschina
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