Does prosody meet syntax? A case study on standard Italian cleft sentences and left peripheral focus. The linguistic review

In this work we deal with two structures that have a very similar pragmatic function in Italian and have been claimed to have similar semanticand syntactic properties, namely clefts and left peripheral focus. Since Chomsky(1977. On wh-movement. In Peter W. Culicover, Thomas Wasow & AdrianAkmajian (eds.), Formal Syntax, 71-132. New York: Academic Press.) they have been both considered as instances of A'-movement and should therefore behave alike. Here we investigate their prosody and their syntax on the basis of three experimental studies and show that while the prosodic patterns found areindeed very similar, their syntax is less homogenous than expected if we apply general tests that have been traditionally used to distinguish A- from A'- movement. In particular, we will discuss three of these tests, namely parasitic gaps, weak crossover and anaphoric binding and show that the two constructions yield quite different results. We analyse the differences within the framework of featural relativized minimality originally proposed in Rizzi (2004. Locality and the left periphery. In Adriana Belletti (ed.), Structures and Beyond: The Cartography of Syntactic Structures 3, 223-251. Oxford: Oxford University Press.) and subsequent work. On this basis, we conclude that there is no one to one match between prosodic and syntactic properties, since we observe differences in the syntactic behaviour of the two constructions that do notsurface in the prosodic patterns. Indirectly, this study sheds new light on the interface between prosody and syntax and is a confirmation of a modular theory of the components of grammar: some specific syntacticproperties have no reflex in other components of grammar and can only be detected through purely
syntactic tests.

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Maria Cristina Pinelli
Cecilia Poletto
Cinzia Avesani
Mouton de Gruyter., New York, Germania
The linguistic review (Internet) (2019): 1–22. doi:10.1515/tlr-2019-2045
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