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International Journal of Romance Linguistics

Editor-in-Chief: Wetzels, W. Leo

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Volume 25, Issue 1


Notes on cartography and further explanation

Luigi Rizzi
Published Online: 2013-05-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/probus-2013-0010


This article addresses one particular aspect of the cartographic enterprise, the cartographic study of the left periphery of the clause, the system of criteria, and the “syntacticisation” of scope-discourse semantics that rich and detailed syntactic maps make possible. I will compare this theoretical option with the conceivable alternative, the “pragmaticization” of a radically impoverished syntax, and will discuss some simple kinds of empirical evidence bearing on the choice between these alternative perspectives. I will then turn to the issue of whether the properties of the functional sequence (ordering, cooccurrence restrictions) are amenable to “further explanations” in terms of more basic principles constraining linguistic computations. I will argue that the search for deeper explanations is an integral part of the cartographic endeavour: it presupposes the establishment of reliable maps, and nourishes the pursuit of further cartographic questions. I will conclude by illustrating the issue of further explanation by comparing certain properties of topicalization in English and Italian, in particular the fact that DP topics are fundamentally unique in English, while they can be freely reiterated in Italian. This pattern can be plausibly traced back to intervention locality, once certain independent properties distinguishing Italian and English topicalization are taken into account.

Keywords: syntax; cartography; left periphery; criteria; locality

About the article

University of Siena, Italy and University of Geneva, Switzerland

Published Online: 2013-05-01

Published in Print: 2013-05-02

Citation Information: International Journal of Latin and Romance Linguistics, Volume 25, Issue 1, Pages 197–226, ISSN (Online) 1613-4079, ISSN (Print) 0921-4771, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/probus-2013-0010.

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©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

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