The fine structure of the Topic field

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Based on interface evidence, this paper shows that the interpretation of discourse categories relies on syntactic conditions. Specifically, the existence of a systematic connection between formal properties and discourse functions shows that Topics are licensed in dedicated positions in the C-domain, which correspond to specific realizations at the PF-interface. Different types of Topics thus correspond to specific tonal events and show A’-properties which discard a movement approach. Finally, the interface properties of postverbal subjects are examined, showing that their position does not depend on the argument structure of the verb and is not <i>necessarily </i>different from the position of (referential) preverbal subjects. Though the present analysis is mainly concerned with Italian, a comparison with Bantu data is also proposed in order to show similarities, discuss (apparent) discrepancies and highlight implications for future research.


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