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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2018

Freezing in it-clefts: Movement and focus

From the book Freezing

  • Jutta M. Hartmann


This paper discusses the interaction of Freezing with movement and focus on the basis of subextraction from the pivot of it-cleft sentences. It shows that subextraction is in principle possible, and that it is not sensitive to whether the pivot is related to a derived subject or real object. However, if the context induces an additional contrastive focus on the pivot, extraction is less acceptable. It is suggested that the problem is that two different sets of alternatives need to be construed on the basis of one and the same syntactically marked focus phrase, the pivot. Once the two sets of alternatives are syntactically separated, interpretation is less complex and licit.

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