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What's in a Narrative? Variation in Storytelling at the Interface Between Language and Literacy

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Edited By Christiane Bongartz and Jacopo Torregrossa

Research on narrative production plays a central role in linguistics, psycholinguistics and language acquisition. Narrative elicitation allows researchers to investigate specific linguistic structures and the processes involved in their acquisition in an ecological way. This book provides methodological remarks on how to approach research on narratives, identifying factors that underlie variation in narrative production, including the type of narrative task, cross-linguistic differences, learners’ literacy and cognitive development and the narrative practices in society. The volume features contributions on theoretical and methodological aspects of research on narratives from 16 researchers in linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics and developmental psychology.

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Elisa Di Domenico: Clausal types and syntactic subjects in narratives

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Elisa Di Domenico

Clausal types and syntactic subjects in narratives

Abstract: In this work I analyze the narrative productions of a group of Italian native speakers and a group of near-native L2 speakers of Italian with L1 Greek. The aim is to investigate whether the Position of Antecedent Hypothesis (PAH), proposed by Carminati (2002) for the resolution of intra-sentential pro in Italian, can be maintained also at the discourse level. The analysis shows that things work in part differently. In nearly one third of the clauses in both corpora the subject is syntactically constrained: hence it must be chosen at the Information Structure level, when that particular clausal type is chosen. The analysis also shows that in the Italian natives’ corpus new Discourse Referents are almost never introduced pre-verbally. They are however restated in subject position (through a pseudo-relative, a subject relative or an accusative+infinitive construction) for subsequent resumption with a pro. This in turn suggests that the PAH works at the discourse level as well. The same strategy is only in part attested in the L2 speakers’ corpus, suggesting that it is possibly different from the strategy in their L1, and not yet acquired.

Keywords: Clausal types, pro, Discourse Referents, Italian natives, Italian near-natives anaphoric devices

1. Introduction

In this work I will analyze the clausal types that characterize the narrative productions in Italian of two groups of speakers: a group of native speakers and a group of near-native...

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