Focus in Italian: an experimental interface approach
University of Roma Tre
This study deals with the use of Focus in Italian, adopting an interface perspective that takes into account the interactions between the different levels of analysis involved. This research concentrates on three types of Focus (i.e., Information Focus, Corrective Focus and Mirative Focus) and is aimed at investigating (i) the syntactic and prosodic properties of the three Foci, and (ii) their behaviour in different embedded contexts.
In order to achieve these goals a written acceptability judgment test has been designed and distributed to 120 native speakers of the Italian variety spoken in Lazio. Since initial test results generated new queries, subsequent tests on production and prosodic aspects have been designed and run.
The analysis of experimental data suggests that in-situ positioning is preferred for all Focus types syntactically, with fronting being less acceptable. Prosodically, the canonical intonation linked with Focus is identified as H*+L contour, while a rising L+H* tone validates the 'discourse salience' of the focused element, marking an Intonational Boundary. These findings suggest independent Intonational Phrases for Focus constituents, aligning with previous proposals.
The study, organized across four Chapters, concludes by consolidating the diverse test outcomes and proposing a comprehensive analysis.
ISBN 9783969391914. LINCOM Studies in Romance Linguistics 87. 84pp. 2024.