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Italian adverbs and discourse particles

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Abstract

In Italian and its dialects, there is no evidence that lexical items functioning as discourse particle correspond to specialized functional heads, or that they have a truncated internal structure, making them into weak categories. Rather they have the syntactic distribution of adverbs, with which they coincide lexically. Therefore ‘discourse particle’ is the name of a special interpretation of adverbs, which also have a conventional temporal/aspectual/manner interpretation – to be captured by a scope(-like) mechanism at the LF interface. Temporal/aspectual/manner modifiers take events as their arguments – while discourse particles take the entire assertion (or command, question) as their argument, relating it to the store of propositional contents shared by speaker and hearer.

References

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