Volume 11

Special Issue: Proceedings of the 1st SynCart Workshop “From maps to principles”

The editors of the elenventh volume are Giuseppe SAMO, Karen MARTINI and Giuliano BOCCI.



Towards A Criterial V2: Some Notes on Subject-initial clauses

Giuseppe Samo

I would like to propose an ideal mechanism for V2 adopting the guidelines of the Cartography of Syntactic Structures (Cinque & Rizzi 2010; Rizzi & Cinque 2016). I consider V2 as a sum of "residual" V2 (Rizzi 1991). Each "residual V2" targets a different functional projection in the LP in a Spec-head configuration, similar to the Wh-criterion. The inflected verb undergoes movement through all the activated LP heads until it lands in the highest one, giving raise to V2 order. After having presented Cartographic guidelines and discussed the drawbacks of mainstream analyses concerning V2, I will develop a Criterial V2. Assuming Cartographic guidelines, the natural hypothesis is to adopt the proposal in Travis (1984) and Zwart (1997), in which the “canonical” subject remains in the IP, within a Cartography of Subjects (Cardinaletti 2004). I will bring evidence from Swiss Romansh varieties and Icelandic. Finally, I propose that scrambling means movement to the LP, without a “bottleneck effect” in SpecFinP: the ungrammaticality of certain patterns may be due to standard fRM effects, as it is the case for the lacking of multiple topics in English (Haegeman 2012; Rizzi 2013).

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On Insituness and (very) low Wh-Positions. The Case of Trevigiano

Caterina Bonan

The goal of this paper is to show that in Trevigiano, a Romance dialect of the Venetan area, ‘insituness’ is actually an instance of wh-movement targeting a TP-internal focal position, whP (‘little whP’). This is true not only in matrix but also in embedded question, where wh-phrases are licensed under two specialized embedding COMPs, ‘che’ and ‘se’. These properties make ‘insituness’ in Trevigiano incompatible with remnant-IP movement à la Poletto and Pollock (2015, and previous related works) and call for a different analysis, thus raising a number of questions on the intrinsic nature of ‘optional insituness’ in Romance.

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Prosodic and syntactic properties of French interrogatives: a corpus study

Lucas Tual

This paper deals with the apparent optionality of French wh-in-situ. I present the theoretical proposal of Cheng & Rooryck (2000), in which the authors claim that in situ wh-elements in French are licensed by a special Q-morpheme that is realized at PF with a final rising intonation. This hypothesis has been tested experimentally by Déprez et al. (2012, 2013), and confirmed by the results that they obtained. The present paper presents new results from spontaneous corpus data to check Cheng and Rooryck’s (2000) hypothesis. My results differ from those of Déprez et al., and disfavor the analysis of French wh-in-situ proposed by Cheng & Rooryck (2000).

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Interrogative structures in Fiorentino

Daniele Botteri

The goal of this article is to investigate some aspects of the syntax of interrogatives in modern Fiorentino. Three major constructions are taken into account: a special type of questions introduced by the interrogative pronoun icché, polar questions introduced by the morpheme che and non canonical questions with the particle o. Fiorentino avails itself of a peculiar type of question introduced by icché (the counterpart of ‘what’) with a tag in final position as in Icché è venuto, Gianni?, ‘Who came, John?, (lit. ‘What came, John?’). Although structures of this type could be analyzed as polar questions headed by an interrogative complementizer, several tests (complementizer omission, clitic resumption, island sensitivity) suggest that they should be analyzed as split questions (i.e. wh-questions followed by a non wh-question undergoing ellipsis), modulo the possibility of realizing the wh-expression with the counterpart of what. The other issue discussed here is the syntactic and interpretative status of questions introduced by the particle o, which I have identified as biased questions.

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On Factivity: Speculations on the split-CP in Upper Southern Italian Dialects

Valentina Colasenti

Upper southern Italian dialects (USIDs) display dual complementiser systems. These varieties usually distinguish a complementiser derived from QUIA (>ca), which introduces propositional indicative complements, from a complementiser derived from QUID (>che, chə, chi), which is followed by propositional subjunctive complements (Rohlfs 1969: 190; Ledgeway 2000: 70-74; 2003b, Colasanti 2015 a.o.). In this paper it will be shown that the USID of Ferentino (Southern Lazio) presents a triple complementiser system (i.e. ca (

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Distinctness and the Structure and Size of English Relative Clauses

Jamie Douglas

This paper argues that different types of English relative clause (RC) vary in structural size, i.e. in the amount of syntactic structure in their C-domain. I present a systematic study of adverbial and argument fronting possibilities in the different types of finite and infinitival RC to determine how much structure is found in the C-domain following the approach of Haegeman (2012). Whilst Haegeman’s study of RCs was based on speakers who reject argument fronting in RCs, the present paper is based on speakers who are somewhat more liberal. These speakers accept argument fronting in some RCs but not others. Furthermore, where argument fronting is allowed, it is subject to a categorial distinctness effect, in the sense of Richards (2010), between the fronted argument and the relative pronoun or operator. I argue that this is one manifestation of a more general categorial distinctness effect holding between topics and foci in the English C-domain.

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Contrasting Formal Features and Interfaces: Data from Finnish

Anna Hollingsworth

Horvath (2010) proposes The Strong Modularity Hypothesis for Discourse Features, according to which no purely discourse-related notions can be encoded as formal features and are available only outside the narrow syntax. Contrastive movement in Finnish poses a potential problem to Horvath’s hypothesis as contrastive topics and contrastive foci would seem to target the same position in the left periphery. While contrastive interpretation can be achieved with the contrastive phrase in situ, this interpretation is only unambiguous if the relevant phrase undergoes A’-movement, as predicted by the interface-based Domain of Contrast Marking approach to contrast (Neeleman, Titov, van de Koot, and Vermeulen, 2009; Neeleman and van de Koot 2009, 2010, 2012; Neeleman and Vermeulen, 2012). However, closer scrutiny of the Finnish data shows that such movement eliminates ambiguity only if it targets a specific position in the left periphery, spec,CP, supporting the encoding of contrast as a formal feature. This does not ultimately translate into a richly articulated left periphery given that the same position is targeted also by non-contrastive elements. These preliminary data from Finnish suggest that The Strong Modularity Hypothesis for Discourse Features does not hold for Finnish, and that there is significant variation in the ways discourse-related notions are realized cross-linguistically

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On the role of lexical restriction and intervention in production: A new angle on the subject-object relatives asymmetry

Karen Martini, Adriana Belletti, Carla Contemori, Luigi Rizzi

It has been shown that the presence of an intervening lexical subject creates difficulties in the parsing and comprehension of headed object relatives. Results from acquisition has revealed that selective difficulties with headed object relatives with a lexical preverbal subject also emerge in production. In this paper, we propose a new way of bringing out the problematic nature of these structures in production. Moreover, we point out that the emergence of the same pattern of difficulties in both comprehension and production can be captured by a grammar-based approach like featural Relativized Minimality.

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Training the comprehension and production of restrictive relative clauses

Silvia D’Ortenzio

The aim of this study is to analyse the production of relative clauses (RCs) in Italian-speaking cochlear-implanted (CI) children and adolescents, and to describe a treatment approach based on the explicit teaching of syntactic movement. As far as I know, this is the first study in which the treatment of relative clauses based on the explicit teaching of wh-movement was administered to a CI-child.
The production of both subject relative clauses (SRs) and object relative clauses (ORs) was assessed with a preference task developed by Volpato (2010), following Friedmann and Szterman (2006). The experimental group was composed of 11 Italian-speaking CI-children and adolescents (5;7-12;7). The results of the experimental group were compared with those of 11 normal hearing (NH) age-matched subjects. Results confirmed the well-known asymmetry in the production of relative clauses (SRs are more preserved than ORs), for both the experimental and the control group. Moreover, the performance of the NH-group was slightly better than the CI-group, especially in the production of ORs. In addition, the performance of CI-children with a binaural stimulation was compared with the performance of CI-children with a monaural stimulation. In this case, no significant correlation was found. Hence, the type of auditory stimulation does not seem to influence language acquisition. Since one of the CI-children (age: 8;5) showed an impaired production of ORs, characterized mostly by a huge number of ungrammatical sentences, he was given a treatment focused on the explicit teaching of verb argument structure, Theta Criterion, and wh-movement. The treatment follows the approach by Levy and Friedmann (2009) for a child with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). After treatment, the participant’s performance on the production and comprehension of SRs and ORs showed substantial improvement reaching a ceiling performance on both comprehension and production tasks. Five months after treatment, its effects have been maintained.

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Answering Particles: Findings and Perspectives

Emilio Servidio

The way a language answers a polar question may prima facie seem to be of peripheral interest, but it has recently received a considerable amount of attention by linguists. In what follows, a concise picture of the typology of answering systems will be presented, and the major theoretical approaches to this topic will be surveyed and discussed critically. Answering systems, most notably those employing particles, fall into one of two main groups, Positive-Negative and Agreement-Disagreement, which differ in how negative polar questions are answered. Recent analyses divide into syntactic approaches, which assume unpronounced syntactic structure in answers, and semantic approaches, which analyze answering particles as a peculiar type of anaphoric expressions. Predictions, as well as potential advantages and shortcomings, of both approaches are discussed. Attention will also be devoted to recent experimental research that leads us to refine and, to some extent, revise the assumptions of the previous literature.

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Annotating argument drop in the swiss whatsapp corpus

Franziska Stuntebeck

In this paper, I describe the annotation schemes used to identify the types and distribution of argument omission in a multilingual corpus of WhatsApp messages. Based on current studies on subject drop in abbreviated written registers, several annotation schemes have been developed to label every argument of sentences with a finite verb as to its semantic, pragmatic and syntactic properties. This paper aims to present the annotation schemes in detail and to give insight into the reasoning behind various decisions taken throughout the process.

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