Italian clefts and the licensing of infinitival subject relatives

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This paper investigates the licensing of infinitival subject relative clauses by clefted constituents. It is claimed that in Italian clefted constituents license infinitival subject relatives because in this language clefts function as contrastive foci. This claim is supported by the syntactic analysis of the position of clefted constituents that license infinitival subject relatives in Italian. It is argued that they occupy a left-peripheral Focus position in the clause. On the basis of extraction data, it is argued that the infinitival subject relative itself is a complement. Keywords: cleft; infinitival relative clause; contrastive focus; Italian; left-periphery


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