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Research Article

Scrambling as verum focus

German ‘Scrambling’ meets Romance ‘Anaphoric Anteposition’

Federica Cognola    Ca' Foscari, Venezia, Italia    



In this paper I demonstrate that in Mòcheno, a German dialect spoken in Northern Italy, scrambling, i.e. the movement of any constituent above sentential adverbs and below the finite verb, is permitted like in Continental Germanic languages. Unlike in these languages, however, leftward movement is not triggered by specificity or scope-fixing (A-scrambling) or by the need to check any topic or contrastive/new-information focus discourse-features (A’-scrambling). By relying on information structure, the syntax of modal particles and the distribution of scrambling in sentences with fronted operators, I provide evidence that scrambling in Mòcheno triggers a verum focus reading on the truth value of the sentence and involves a type of focus movement to a FocusP in CP. That scrambling can be associated with verum focus is a unicum among Continental Germanic languages, which I show follows from a reanalyis of the properties of Germanic focus scrambling under the influence of Romance anaphoric anteposition.

Keywords: Emphatic focus. Modal particles. Verb Second. Information structure.

Language: en

Submitted: April 12, 2016   Accepted: July 11, 2016   Published: Sept. 28, 2017  

permalink: http://doi.org/10.14277/2499-1562/AnnOc-51-17-12

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License