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Bookmark and Share Paper 3245

Topicalization as Predication: The Syntax-Semantics Interface of Low Topics in Brazilian Portuguese
Renato Lacerda
256-265 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The comparison between topics located in the left periphery of CP (see e.g. Rizzi 1997) and topics located in the left periphery of vP (see e.g. Belletti 2004) in Brazilian Portuguese reveal a number of interpretive idiosyncrasies of low topics. The paper shows that low topicalization is significantly different from high topicalization, in the sense that the former only allows for a subset of the interpretations possible in the latter and crucially has a stricter discursive articulation of topic and comment. Whereas a high topic disregards the informational composition of its comment (with respect to what within the comment must be new or old information), the comment of a low topic has two well-defined parts: the ground-comment must be entirely composed of given information, whereas new information must appear in the focus-comment. The main argument of the paper comes from a more specific, previously unobserved asymmetry: while a high topic does not impose any constraints on the scopal behavior of quantifiers generated within its comment, a quantifier generated under a (clause-mate) low topic cannot be interpreted in a position lower than the low TopP. In order to account for this observation, it is proposed that contrary to high topicalization, which operates over complete propositions (of type t), low topicalization (in Brazilian Portuguese at least) operates over unsaturated verbal predicates (of type e,t).

Published in

Proceedings of the 33rd West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Kyeong-min Kim, Pocholo Umbal, Trevor Block, Queenie Chan, Tanie Cheng, Kelli Finney, Mara Katz, Sophie Nickel-Thompson, and Lisa Shorten
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00