On the Distribution and Analysis of Italian Contrastive Focus (Syntax Colloquium)

Vieri Samek-Lodovici (University College London)
Event time: 
Monday, April 19, 2010 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Event description: 

The aim of this talk is to take a fresh look at the distribution of Italian contrastive focus and its analysis.

I will present new evidence concerning the distribution of focus in positions lower than T, showing that focus occurs in-situ, optionally triggering short-distance leftward scrambling of phrases generated lower than the focused phrase.

I will also show that the data that might appear to support the presence of an intermediate focus projection above vP, as claimed by Belletti (2004) for new-information focus, actually follow from the right-dislocation of higher generated phrases to a clause-external position. Focus remains in situ.

Finally, I will show that the constituents following left peripheral focus show all the hallmarks of right-dislocated constituents, and claim that even left-peripheral focus is determined by the independently available process of right-dislocation and does not involve any autonomous raising of focused phrases to a dedicated focus projection à la Rizzi (1997, 2004).

Once these independent processes are taken into account, the complex distribution of Italian focus allows for a unified analysis where focus always occurs rightmost in its intonational phrase (Zubizarreta 1998, Szendroi 2001, Samek-Lodovici 2005), whereas its syntactic position varies according to the presence/absence of right-dislocation.

Event Type: 
Lunch Talks