Strategies for argument and adjunct focalization in Basque

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In this chapter, I provide an overview of the different strategies employed for Wh-questions and focalizations across Basque dialects. I argue that a core property of Basque syntax is the fact that both Wh- and focus phrases undergo syntactic (A′-type) displacements, and that they exhibit the main characteristics of syntactic displacements (locality, successive cyclicity, sensitivity to islands, etc.). After analysing the “standard strategy”, which is available across all dialects, I provide an overview of the new in situ Wh-question strategy of the young speakers of Navarro-Labourdin and two different strategies that are employed across different dialects to generate reinforced foci: the highly contrastive rightward focus constructions (specific to Southern dialects, and particularly common in High Navarrese), and the ‘reinforced movement’ strategy of Navarro-Labourdin (a Northern variety). I finish with a brief description of some other constructions involving foci: the mirative focus constructions of substandard Basque, and the dialectal distribution of different types of split interrogatives.


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