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A constructional perspective on clefting in Persian

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Abstract

The goal of this chapter is to provide a Role and Reference Grammar (RRG henceforth) analysis of cleft sentences in Persian with respect to the role of interaction over the domains of syntax, semantics and information structure. Clefting is functionally motivated by thematically marked expression of a single proposition via bi-partition syntax in the sense that a sequence of two clauses including a matrix and a cleft clause is employed in order to bring into focus an element that can be otherwise expressed as a non-focal element in the unmarked predicate-focus structure. This deviation from the unmarked predicate-focus structure feeds cleft sentences with a non-isomorphic/non-compositional feature that can be accounted for in terms of a constructional framework that encompasses the morphosyntactic, semantic and informational properties that a cleft construction has. RRG is equipped with a bi-lateral syntax-semantics representation that is enriched with discourse-pragmatic considerations which enables it to facilitate processing of linguistic properties of cleft constructions by means of constructional schemas. Non-compositionality in a cleft construction implies that the semantic composition of the whole cleft construction is not the &#8220;computable sum of the meaning of its parts&#8221; (Lambrecht 1994: 230). That is why a construction-based scrutiny will be necessary to explain how the mapping between semantics and information structure in clefting can be elucidated with respect to the syntactic juxtaposition of the constituents. It will be also discussed that there should be a necessity to distinguish between emphatic <i>in</i> in clefting and anaphoric <i>in</i> in extraposition in the Persian language with regard to the role of information structure that is distinctively formalized in the syntactic templates of the two constructions on the basis of the RRG constructional framework.

References

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