On ‘focus movement’ in Italian

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In this paper I discuss optional movement of focus constituents to the left periphery of the clause in Italian. Restricting my discussion to corrective exchanges – where focus occurs in a reply that denies the preceding assertion – I show that the fronted position and the ‘low’ position are not completely equivalent, in that certain contexts disallow the former, but allow the latter. I sketch out a characterization of two distinct interpretations for the focus structure: a truly corrective interpretation, and a merely contrastive one. Finally, I briefly consider the consequences of these findings for the general view of the syntax–semantics interface. Keywords: focus movement; contrastive focus; correction; syntax-pragmatics interface


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