The syntax of Spanish comparative correlatives

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In this paper we provide a principled account of the syntactic properties of Spanish Comparative Correlatives (CCs) within Principles and Parameters theory. CCs have lately been at the centre of the debate between Construction Theory proponents, who claim construction status for them because of their idiosyncratic syntax and semantics, and supporters of UG-based syntax.1We contribute to this debate by showing that, despite appearances, Spanish CCs have a regular internal and external syntax. Assuming a cartographic approach to the syntax of Topic and Focus, we argue that their informational properties are the clue to their macrostructure. Specifically, we propose that C1, the first clause of CCs, is a subordinate clause that sits in the specifier position of the topic Phrase of the main clause and is followed by a focus-fronted constituent which occupies the specifier position of the focus Phrase of the main clause. We also show that our analysis can be extended to other sentence-initial adverbial adjunct clauses.


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