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Polarity fronting in Romanian and Sardinian

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Abstract

We argue that some word order phenomena in Romanian and Sardinian are the result of a checking operation in the left periphery involving verum focus (i.e., focus on the polarity component of the sentence). In particular, this operation accounts for some word order patterns found in polar questions. In Romanian, polarity fronting is realized as head-movement of (V+)T+Σ to a higher peripheral head which bears a Focus-probe, which we identify as Fin. This licenses VS orders for predications in which VS is not allowed as a neutral order (i-level predicates, iteratives, generics). In Sardinian, an entire phrase headed by the lexical predicate (verbal non-finite form or non-verbal predicate) is fronted before the auxiliary. We argue that this order is obtained by two movement operations, head-raising of (V+)T+Σ to Foc and movement of the predicate phrase to SpecFoc. We also present the semantics of polarity focus, distinguishing several types of focus (informational, emphatic, contrastive).

References

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