Existentials and Locatives in Romance Dialects of Italy
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Existentials and Locatives in Romance Dialects of Italy

By Delia Bentley
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Book Description

This volume provides the first ever large-scale comparative treatment of there sentences (there copula NP), reporting the results of a survey of Italo-Romance and Sardinian dialects of Italy. The volume comprises detailed discussions of focus structure, predication and argument realization, the definiteness effects, and the linking from semantics to syntax in there sentences, advancing novel proposals in each case. The testing of influential hypotheses on existential constructions against first-hand dialect evidence leads the book to argue that existential and locative there sentences differ in focus structure and semantics, although their not being predicate focus constructions and the non-canonicality of the predicate—which is typically referential—is reflected in their shared morphosyntactic features. The hypothesis that the pivot is the predicate of the existential construction is adopted in the analysis, although a distinction is drawn between referential and non-referential pivots, which explains variation in pivot behaviour in morphosyntax. The volume also provides the historical background of Romance there sentences, relying on the findings of the analysis of a substantial corpus of early Italo-Romance vernacular texts.

Table of Contents
  • Cover
  • Existentials and Locatives in Romance Dialects of Italy
  • Copyright
  • Contents
  • List of figures and tables
    • Figures
    • Tables
  • List of abbreviations
  • Dialect maps
  • 1: Existentials and locatives in Romance dialects of Italy
    • 1.1 An overview of existentials and other there sentences
      • 1.1.1 Existentials: Romance and beyond
    • 1.2 Scope and objectives of the volume
    • 1.3 Authorship, methodology, theoretical underpinnings of the research
      • 1.3.1 The Manchester projects on existential constructions
      • 1.3.2 Role and Reference Grammar
    • 1.4 Acknowledgements
    • 1.5 Outline of the volume
  • 2: Focus structure
    • 2.1 Introduction
      • 2.1.1 The notions of focus and topic
      • 2.1.2 Focus structure types
    • 2.2 Sentence-focus existentials with no overt topic
      • 2.2.1 Morphosyntactic properties
      • 2.2.2 Stage-level topics and contextual domain
    • 2.3 Existentials with an overt topic
      • 2.3.1 Locative aboutness topics
      • 2.3.2 Partitive topics and the split-focus structure
    • 2.4 Argument-focus there sentences
      • 2.4.1 Inverse locatives
      • 2.4.2 Deictic locatives
    • 2.5 Presentational there sentences
    • 2.6 Conclusion
  • 3: Predication and argument realization
    • 3.1 Introduction
    • 3.2 The locative hypothesis
      • 3.2.1 The correspondence of copulas and proforms
      • 3.2.2 The definiteness effect on word order
    • 3.3 The pivot-as-predicate hypothesis
      • 3.3.1 Finite agreement
      • 3.3.2 Supporting evidence
      • 3.3.3 Challenges
      • 3.3.4 Synopsis
    • 3.4 Predication and argument realization in there sentences
      • 3.4.1 Two types of existential construction
      • 3.4.2 The correspondence of copulas and proforms revisited
      • 3.4.3 Argument structure and predication in other there sentences
      • 3.4.4 Synopsis
    • 3.5 Conclusion
  • 4: Definiteness effects and linking
    • 4.1 Definiteness effects: the Romance puzzle
    • 4.2 Subject canonicality and word order
    • 4.3 Subject canonicality and agreement
      • 4.3.1 The differential marking of the post-copular noun phrase
      • 4.3.2 The case of pivots with inde-cliticization
      • 4.3.3 Specificity effects
      • 4.3.4 Beyond existential sentences
      • 4.3.5 Agreement and the impersonal hypothesis
      • 4.3.6 Synopsis
    • 4.4 Semantics-syntax linking in there sentences
      • 4.4.1 Linking in existential there sentences
      • 4.4.2 Linking in other there sentences
    • 4.5 Conclusion
  • 5: Historical context
    • 5.1 Introduction
    • 5.2 There sentences in Latin
      • 5.2.1 Classical Latin
      • 5.2.2 Existential vs. attributive and locative constructions
      • 5.2.3 Late Latin
    • 5.3 There sentences in early Italo-Romance
      • 5.3.1 Typology of there sentences in early Italo-Romance
      • 5.3.2 The emergence of the proform
      • 5.3.3 Evidence from early Tuscan
      • 5.3.4 The reanalysis of the proform
      • 5.3.5 Copulas and agreement
      • 5.3.6 Expletives
    • 5.4 Conclusion
  • 6: Conclusion
  • Appendix 1: Early Romance sources
  • Appendix 2: Latin sourcesFrancesco Maria Ciconte
  • References
  • Index of languages
  • Index of names
  • Index of subjects
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