In this paper I present some descriptive generalisations based on medieval Romance as a contribution to the outline first proposed by Rizzi (1997) on the ‘fine structure of CP’. I will try to show that these languages allow us to draw a more precise picture of the functional structure of the CP area and get further evidence in favour of the proposals made in Benincà (2001). The general assumptions and the procedure I adopt are inspired by Cinque’s (1996, 1999) extensive investigation of IP functional structure: no variation is assumed to be allowed by Universal Grammar in the number and type of functional projections and their relative order in natural languages; to determine the hypothetical hierarchy is a matter of empirical investigation, based on observed order restrictions between the occupants of the functional projections (heads and/or specifiers). The generalisations are based on data from medieval Romance varieties, including medieval dialects of Italy, going from the 12th to the early 14th Century. Some of the phenomena are well known to Romance philologists, some are even part of the knowledge of 19th century Romanists. Syntactic theory gives us a way to see in all of them some new and interesting regularities, which confirm or further precise the conclusions reached so far on CP structure. The whole of medieval Romance languages share important features of sentence structure and properties of the lexical constituents and functional elements, so that they can be considered a set of variants of an abstract ‘Medieval Romance’. On the basis of these common characteristics, we can at least try to exploit what is clear and evident in one variety in order to enlighten what is more obscure or elusive in another. The paper has the following structure. First, the general framework sketched in Rizzi’s (1997) work on the left periphery is briefly summed up, together with the revisions that have been suggested in Benincà (2001) and further developed in Benincà & Poletto (2004), mainly on the basis of modern Italian and Italian dialects (section 2). In sect. 3, the main properties of medieval Romance languages are presented, and the first generalisations are presented. Sect. 4 concentrates on the rich articulation of the left periphery that appears in the medieval Romance varieties spoken in Italy. The fact that CP is open to more than one constituent in these varieties permits us to observe ordering constraints, and make hypotheses on the organisation of the functional structure. The generalisations can be formulated adopting the theory of an articulated series of functional projections, thus supporting the structure proposed in Benincà (2001). The focus of the analysis will be the position of complement clitics in main clauses. It is possible to state a set of generalisations that are valid for all medieval Romance if we make reference not to surface positions or roughly to a CP/IP distinction, but to specific functional positions in an articulated CP structure. In particular, the following generalizations concerning the position of the clitic with respect to the verb are motivated: 1. enclisis and proclisis are sensitive to verb movement and the content of CP; 2. when the verb moves to C, we have enclisis if and only if the Focus field is empty. Finally, sect. 5 illustrates further details about the processes we assume to happen in CP, giving rise to the data we have been observing. Topic and Focus refer to syntactic objects, putting aside their precise pragmatic values. It appears that the relation between syntactic phenomena of the left periphery and their pragmatic interpretation is not obvious. Unfortunately, these phenomena have inherited labels that seem to refer to pragmatics more than to syntax, and misleadingly suggest an overlapping of these two levels. These labels are only used as a way of referring to syntactic positions, bearing in mind that their pragmatic and semantic interpretation is in certain respects language specific (or depends on other language specific characteristics).

A Detailed Map of the Left Periphery of Medieval Romance

BENINCA', PAOLA
2006

Abstract

In this paper I present some descriptive generalisations based on medieval Romance as a contribution to the outline first proposed by Rizzi (1997) on the ‘fine structure of CP’. I will try to show that these languages allow us to draw a more precise picture of the functional structure of the CP area and get further evidence in favour of the proposals made in Benincà (2001). The general assumptions and the procedure I adopt are inspired by Cinque’s (1996, 1999) extensive investigation of IP functional structure: no variation is assumed to be allowed by Universal Grammar in the number and type of functional projections and their relative order in natural languages; to determine the hypothetical hierarchy is a matter of empirical investigation, based on observed order restrictions between the occupants of the functional projections (heads and/or specifiers). The generalisations are based on data from medieval Romance varieties, including medieval dialects of Italy, going from the 12th to the early 14th Century. Some of the phenomena are well known to Romance philologists, some are even part of the knowledge of 19th century Romanists. Syntactic theory gives us a way to see in all of them some new and interesting regularities, which confirm or further precise the conclusions reached so far on CP structure. The whole of medieval Romance languages share important features of sentence structure and properties of the lexical constituents and functional elements, so that they can be considered a set of variants of an abstract ‘Medieval Romance’. On the basis of these common characteristics, we can at least try to exploit what is clear and evident in one variety in order to enlighten what is more obscure or elusive in another. The paper has the following structure. First, the general framework sketched in Rizzi’s (1997) work on the left periphery is briefly summed up, together with the revisions that have been suggested in Benincà (2001) and further developed in Benincà & Poletto (2004), mainly on the basis of modern Italian and Italian dialects (section 2). In sect. 3, the main properties of medieval Romance languages are presented, and the first generalisations are presented. Sect. 4 concentrates on the rich articulation of the left periphery that appears in the medieval Romance varieties spoken in Italy. The fact that CP is open to more than one constituent in these varieties permits us to observe ordering constraints, and make hypotheses on the organisation of the functional structure. The generalisations can be formulated adopting the theory of an articulated series of functional projections, thus supporting the structure proposed in Benincà (2001). The focus of the analysis will be the position of complement clitics in main clauses. It is possible to state a set of generalisations that are valid for all medieval Romance if we make reference not to surface positions or roughly to a CP/IP distinction, but to specific functional positions in an articulated CP structure. In particular, the following generalizations concerning the position of the clitic with respect to the verb are motivated: 1. enclisis and proclisis are sensitive to verb movement and the content of CP; 2. when the verb moves to C, we have enclisis if and only if the Focus field is empty. Finally, sect. 5 illustrates further details about the processes we assume to happen in CP, giving rise to the data we have been observing. Topic and Focus refer to syntactic objects, putting aside their precise pragmatic values. It appears that the relation between syntactic phenomena of the left periphery and their pragmatic interpretation is not obvious. Unfortunately, these phenomena have inherited labels that seem to refer to pragmatics more than to syntax, and misleadingly suggest an overlapping of these two levels. These labels are only used as a way of referring to syntactic positions, bearing in mind that their pragmatic and semantic interpretation is in certain respects language specific (or depends on other language specific characteristics).
2006
Cross-linguistic rESEARCH IN sYNTAX AND sEMANTICS. Negation, Tense and Clausal Architecture
9781589010802
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/1558823
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