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Focus Fronting Between Declaratives and Exclamatives

Publication: Revue roumaine de linguistique, LX (2-3), p. 257-275
Variation syntaxique / Syntactic Variation
Edited by Jenneke van der Wal, Adina Dragomirescu and Alexandru Nicolae
Publisher:Editura Academiei
Abstract:In many languages, including Romance and German, Focus Fronting (FF) is generally associated with an emphatic intonation and interpretation, so that sentences hosting FF are often indiscriminately mistaken for exclamative clauses. In this paper we demonstrate that, despite its special interpretive and prosodic properties, FF is a syntactic construction that is independent from illocutionary force and from clause-typing since it typically marks declaratives, but may also be found in interrogative and exclamative clauses. An interpretation of surprise and unexpectedness is present in these structures with FF, which we thus call Mirative Focus Fronting (MFF). On the basis of criteria such as presuppositionality and the position of the prosodic main prominence, we show, on the one hand, that in non-interrogative contexts, sentences featuring MFF have in fact an assertive force and are therefore genuine declaratives; on the other, a special type of Focus Fronting must be identified which occurs in genuine exclamatives (hence the name Exclamative Focus Fronting, EFF), but which is associated with a special prosodic pattern and is limited to specific types of constituents (mostly, scalar adjectives and adverbs).
Key words:focus fronting, declaratives, exclamatives, mirative focus, scalarity
Language: English

Citations to this publication: 5

References in this publication: 4

2Irene Tirado CamarenaVaya como cuantificador en expresiones nominalesCILPR2013/4, 463-4762016pdf
5Ion GiurgeaTypes of Exclamative Clauses in RomanianRRL, LX (1)2015pdf
5Ion GiurgeaExclamativele în română și alte limbi romaniceSIL5, 2642015pdf
5Ion Giurgea, Eva-Maria RembergerVerum focus and polar questionsBWPL, XIV (2)2012pdf

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