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Current Issues in Italian, Romance and Germanic Non-canonical Word Orders

Syntax – Information Structure – Discourse Organization

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Edited By Anna-Maria De Cesare and Davide Garassino

This volume aims at offering an up-to-date survey on non-canonical word orders and their interplay with information structure and discourse organization. The contributions analyze different non-canonical syntactic structures (fronting, inversion, dislocations, and cleft constructions), focusing on Italian alone or on Italian in a contrastive perspective with one or more Romance (French, Romanian, Portuguese, Spanish) and/or Germanic (English and German) languages. The authors tackle the main issue of the volume from a variety of perspectives and by relying on different theoretical frameworks. At the same time, they all offer a fine-grained description of the structures analyzed on the basis of a solid empirical foundation.
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Pseudocleft Sentences in Spoken Italian. Syntax, Semantics, Information Structure, and a Comparison with Spanish

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Abstract: The paper presents an analysis of pseudocleft sentences (PC) in spoken Italian and in contrast with Spanish. The analysis of a spontaneous spoken corpus highlights that the most frequent structures in Italian correspond to th- and NP-PC, and that they are much more frequent in formal than in informal speech. The paper specifically focuses on the informational analysis of Italian th-PC in comparison with Spanish, in the light of the Language into Act Theory. Even if this structure is much more frequent in Spanish, both languages make use of the same basic information pattern for authentic PC (Topic-Comment). Spanish also shows other configurations, mainly corresponding to semi-grammaticalized expressions, which should not be considered proper PC.

1    Perspectives on the definition of pseudocleft sentences

1.1    Pseudoclefts and cleft sentences

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