‘Rippled’ low topics
A phonological approach to postfocal topics in Italian
This paper is concerned with low topics in the sentential left periphery. It builds on two main assumptions: (1) postfocal material is right-dislocated (Samek-Lodovici 2006); (2) fronted focus in Italian triggers a phonological process called ‘ripple effect of focus’ (Zubizarreta 2010). First, I will provide experimental evidence in favor of the second assumption and I will claim that a syntactic account of low topics is not tenable. Then, I will show that the free word order exhibited by postfocal constituents and the occurrence of low topics arise as side effects of the ripple effect of focus. This line of investigation argues in favor of a prosodic account of the phenomena at stake.
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