Volume 32, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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Constructions that are typically used to introduce a new referent into the discourse may extend this function so as to introduce a new event or situation. In this paper, I examine the case of presentational -sentences in Italian, which have developed exactly this new function out of existential sentences. Despite being superficially similar to existential sentences, as well as to clefts, presentational -sentences must be kept separate from both sentence types, and must be treated as an independent construction with distinct structural and functional properties. Unlike existentials, presentational -sentences assert the existence of an event or situation and involve a predicational structure characterized by a CP (the relative clause) that functions as the predicate of the DP. Unlike clefts, which are typically used to mark narrow focus, presentational -sentences display a sentence-focus structure whereby the event is presented as all new. A contrastive analysis of presentational -sentences against existentials and clefts will thus allow us not only to understand the exact boundaries between these constructions, but also to identify more precisely the distinctive characteristic properties of each sentence type.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): cleft; existential; focus; Italian; locative; presentational
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