The architecture of it-clefts

Liliane Haegeman, Andre Meinunger, Aleksandra Vercauteren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper examines quasi-monoclausal left-peripheral analyses of English it-clefts. Though attractive because such analyses bring out commonalities between it-clefts on the one hand and focus fronting and wh-questions on the other, the range of word order variations available in English it-clefts reveals that such monoclausal analyses of it-clefts lead to considerable complications of implementation, ultimately undoing the gain in terms of economy that initially would seem to justify them. In particular, we will show that, on closer inspection, the presumed focus fronting in it-clefts cannot be targeting the position deployed for regular' left-peripheral focus fronting. Moreover, both implementations of the monoclausal analysis discussed make the wrong predictions with respect to the distribution of it-clefts. In particular, as already argued by Hooper & Thompson (1973) and Emonds (1976), English it-clefting, unlike regular' focus fronting, is not a main clause phenomenon. Given these objections, we conclude that the left-peripheral analyses of it-clefts are ill-founded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-296
Number of pages28
JournalJournal Of Linguistics
Volume50
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014

Keywords

  • SYNTACTIC STRUCTURE
  • OPERATOR MOVEMENT
  • FOCUS
  • ENGLISH
  • SENTENCES

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