On polarity particles in Italian varieties

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This article considers some constructions related with polarity emphasis in standard Italian and Italian dialects. In particular, the authors examine two constructions where the polarity particle is accompanied by a repetition of the whole propositional content of the stimulus assertion or question. The analysis of these cases is based on the idea that emphasis requires the syntactic presence of the proposition that has to be denied or confirmed. It is argued that the two constructions are not derivationally related, but are the two possible syntactic realizations of the same discourse context. The internal structure of emphatic constructions is also taken into consideration and compared with cases attested in the dialectal domain where polarity emphasis is marked by a special form of the polarity particle. All the examined cases suggest that polarity emphasis is a root phenomenon and the authors argue that this is explained by the presence of some ‘speaker oriented’ features and projections only in root left peripheries.


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