Topic-strategies and the internal structure of nominal arguments in Greek and Italian

Theodora Alexopoulou, Raffaella Folli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In this paper we argue that a set of unexpected contrasts in the interpretation of Clitic Left Dislocated (CLLD-ed) indefinites in Italian and Greek derive from structural variation in the nominal syntax of the two languages. Greek resists non-referential indefinites in CLLD resorting to the Topicalisation of an often bare noun for non-referential topics. By contrast, CLLD is employed in Italian for topics irrespective of their definite/indefinite interpretation. We argue that this contrast is directly linked to the wide availability of bare nouns in Greek which stems from a structural difference in nominal syntax of the two languages.In particular, we hypothesise that Greek nominal arguments lack a D-layer. Rather, they are Number Phrases. We situate this analysis in the context of Chierchia’s typology. We argue that, on a par with Italian,Greek nouns are[-arg,+pred]. However, they do not employ a syntactic head(D) for type shifting toe. Rather, they resort to covert-typeshifting, a hypothesis that is necessary to account for the distribution and interpretations of bare nouns in Greek, vis a vis the other [-arg,+pred] languages like Italian and French.
LanguageEnglish
Pages1-80
JournalLinguistic Inquiry
Volume50
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

Fingerprint

syntax
interpretation
Italian language
French language
language
typology
lack
Language
Bare Nouns
Syntax
Layer
Topicalization
Nouns
Clitics
Type-shifting

Keywords

  • Greek
  • Italian
  • CLLD
  • bare nouns
  • DP
  • NP
  • nominal mapping parameter

Cite this

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title = "Topic-strategies and the internal structure of nominal arguments in Greek and Italian",
abstract = "In this paper we argue that a set of unexpected contrasts in the interpretation of Clitic Left Dislocated (CLLD-ed) indefinites in Italian and Greek derive from structural variation in the nominal syntax of the two languages. Greek resists non-referential indefinites in CLLD resorting to the Topicalisation of an often bare noun for non-referential topics. By contrast, CLLD is employed in Italian for topics irrespective of their definite/indefinite interpretation. We argue that this contrast is directly linked to the wide availability of bare nouns in Greek which stems from a structural difference in nominal syntax of the two languages.In particular, we hypothesise that Greek nominal arguments lack a D-layer. Rather, they are Number Phrases. We situate this analysis in the context of Chierchia’s typology. We argue that, on a par with Italian,Greek nouns are[-arg,+pred]. However, they do not employ a syntactic head(D) for type shifting toe. Rather, they resort to covert-typeshifting, a hypothesis that is necessary to account for the distribution and interpretations of bare nouns in Greek, vis a vis the other [-arg,+pred] languages like Italian and French.",
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Topic-strategies and the internal structure of nominal arguments in Greek and Italian. / Alexopoulou, Theodora; Folli, Raffaella.

In: Linguistic Inquiry, Vol. 50, No. 3, 01.06.2019, p. 1-80.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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