The interpretation of clefting (a)symmetries between Italian and German

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This paper proposes a comparative investigation of clefts in German and Italian. Assuming a specificational copular analysis, the properties of clefts in these languages are argued to rely on independent properties of relative clauses and nominal predicates. The major morpho-syntactic (a)symmetries are therefore discussed, and semantic, discourse and prosodic evidence supports a derivational analysis in which the clefted Focus is a predicate and the relative DP is a right-hand Topic connected with a non-expletive resumptive pronoun. As for post-copular agreement, the conditions on null subject licensing are considered: though they are very restricted in German and combine with V2 requirements, clefts represent a type of impersonal construction in which this option applies. Finally, data concerning quantifier scope and connectedness are discussed, providing further support for the present analysis.


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