Volume 16, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1566-5852
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9854
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This paper reports an empirical study of the discourse-pragmatic functions of subject left dislocation (LD) in Old Occitan. Data come from the complete troubadour biographies, in which the most common manifestation of subject LD is a nominal subject + sentence adverb si + verb, as in “Bertrans de Born si fo uns castellans” [Bertran de Born was a nobleman]. Whereas previous accounts fail to integrate syntax with discourse-pragmatic function, these results reveal the importance of both in explaining the occurrence of subject LD. Using recent approaches to the clausal left periphery (e.g., Benincà 2006), I distinguish LD subjects from conventional (i.e., non-dislocated) pre-verbal subjects. Next, following Fleischman’s (1991) analysis of si in Old French, I illustrate how subject LD structures the flow of information in discourse. In particular, subject LD marks a constituent as a discourse topic and can also introduce a new referent into the discourse and thereby mark it as topical.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): discourse; dislocation; information structure; Occitan; syntax; word order
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