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Research Article

Epistemic Predicative Clauses and the IL/SL Distinction

A View from Romance

Nicola Munaro    Università Ca' Foscari     ORCID iD



In this article I explore the internal structure of predicative clauses selected by an epistemic main verb exploiting the notion of ‘predicate inversion’ and the distinction between Individual Level and Stage Level predicates. On the basis of evidence from Romance, I argue that epistemic predicative clauses are made up by at least three different layers of structure: the predicative link between subject and predicate can be expressed either in lowest head P°, which can be lexicalized as a prepositional element, or in the higher heads V° and T°, which can be lexicalized as infinitival copulas. The attested restrictions on the relative order of subject, copular verb and predicate inside the copular clause complement in Italian are accounted for by postulating with SL predicates the need for the copula to raise to the head T° in order to license an abstract spatio-temporal topic which contextualizes the property denoted by the predicate.

Keywords: Epistemic verb. Copular clause. Predicate inversion. Individual level predicate. Stage level predicate.

Language: en

Submitted: March 13, 2017   Accepted: March 28, 2017   Published: Sept. 28, 2017  

permalink: http://doi.org/10.14277/2499-1562/AnnOc-51-17-16

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