A conspiracy theory for clefts : the syntax and interpretation of cleft constructionsReportar como inadecuado




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(2016) Mark abstract The main goal of this thesis is to contribute to the discussion about the degree to which semantic and discourse related concepts are syntactically encoded. More particularly, I investigate whether there are consistent correlations between the interpretative and syntactic properties of four European Portuguese cleft constructions, and how these potential correlations should be accounted for theoretically. The cleft constructions taken into consideration are it-clefts, pseudoclefts, é que-clefts and SER-clefts. Syntactically we can distinguish between biclausal clefts (it-clefts and pseudoclefts) and monoclausal clefts (é que-clefts and SER-clefts). All cleft constructions have a focalized cleft constituent that can both constitute information focus and contrastive focus, and an existentially presupposed cleft clause. Additionally, the cleft constituent exhaustively identifies an open position in the cleft clause.The alternative semantics for focus (Rooth 1985) is adopted, according to which intonational focus uniformly contributes a set of alternatives in LF. Pragmatic rules operating on this set give rise to two suspendable implicatures: existential presupposition and exhaustivity. Given that both é que-clefts and SER-clefts have the same interpretation as non-cleft sentences with intonational focus when it comes to existential presupposition and exhaustivity, I conclude that their particular syntactic structure does not contribute anything to these interpretive aspects. The biclausal clefts on the other hand, argued to be specificational sentences, have a non-suspendable existential presupposition and exhaustive interpretation, on a par with non-cleft specificational sentences. I argue that this is because in these structures, the cleft constituent identifies a variable introduced by a definite description. The cleft clause, a headed relative clause in complement position of a definite determiner in it-clefts and a free relative in pseudoclefts, are shown to have the same semantic denotation as definite DPs, which are inherently presupposed. The strongly exhaustive interpretation arises because of the identification relation between the cleft constituent and the definite description.Furthermore, I argue that focus features do not trigger A’-movement to a dedicated FocP in European Portuguese: when focalized constituents move, they do so for focus-independent reasons. This is confirmed by the fact that only the cleft constituent of é que-clefts has properties of A’-movement, the other ones seem to be in situ. I propose that the cleft constituent of é que-clefts is a topic with a focus feature that moves to a TopP. This account straightforwardly captures the similar discourse restrictions that exist for non-focalized topics and for the cleft constituent of é que-clefts. The quantificational focus feature pied-piped by topicalization gives rise to intervention effects, causing left-peripheral focus not to be recursive and to be incompatible with movement of constituents with quantificational features. The account predicts the observed embedding restrictions of é que-clefts. Finally, I develop an account for the syntax of SER-clefts that approximates it to structures with focus particles. I argue that the copula is a focus-sensitive operator that is merged together with the cleft constituent. Distributional restrictions of the copula are due to selectional requirements of higher heads.

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication: http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-7181973



Autor: Aleksandra Vercauteren

Fuente: https://biblio.ugent.be/publication/7181973



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