Medieval Sardinian

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We present evidence that Old Sardinian, in contrast to other old Romance systems commonly reported to be verb-second, had a form of verb-initial syntax with optional pragmatically-driven focalisation and topicalisation into the left periphery. We argue that this verb-initial order is derived through verb movement to C. Whilst V-to-C movement is a characteristic shared by Old Sardinian and other old Romance languages, the makeup of the left periphery is partially distinct. In Old Sardinian merger of a left peripheral topic/focus is optional, whilst in other old Romance verb-second systems it is a systematic requirement due to an {+epp} feature on C. We argue that V-to-C movement is a feature inherited by all the old Romance languages from late Latin, but suggest that only Old Sardinian retains the late Latin characteristic that left peripheral topicalisation or focalisation is optional and pragmatically-driven. The {+epp} feature on C is an innovation occurring in the other old Romance verb-second systems and not present in late Latin.


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