Chapter 13. A comparative look at Focus Fronting 
in Romance

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The aim of this paper is to describe the syntax and semantics of Focus Fronting (FF) constructions in a range of Romance languages, including both regional and diachronic varieties, in order to reclassify these constructions on the basis of a common comparative ground. I shall begin with a look at some Sardinian data, mostly already presented in earlier research literature, since this Romance language uses FF in more contexts than other Modern Romance varieties. Sardinian not only employs FF with argumental and adjunct constituents, but also with predicates. Moreover, Sardinian FF does not necessarily yield a contrastive interpretation, as FF of constituents usually does in Italian and Spanish, but it can also encode pure Information Focus, although an emphatic value is often added. Using a set of syntactic and semantic-pragmatic properties defined principally for Sardinian, I will analyze similar FF data – Quantifier Raising (QP-fronting), Stylistic Fronting (SF), Mirative Fronting, Emphatic Focus etc. – in other Romance varieties and outline the similarities and differences found between these varieties. This will result in a systematic, descriptive overview of the crosslinguistic variation of FF found across the Romance languages.


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