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A PHONOLOGICAL ACCOUNT OF CONTRASTIVE TOPICS (A PILOT-STUDY) A: Mario ha invitato i suoi fratelli al matrimonio? (Did Mario invite his brothers to the.

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1 A PHONOLOGICAL ACCOUNT OF CONTRASTIVE TOPICS (A PILOT-STUDY) A: Mario ha invitato i suoi fratelli al matrimonio? (Did Mario invite his brothers to the wedding?) B: Francesco, lha invitato, ma Giovanni, ha deciso di non chiamarlo. (Francesco, he invited, but Giovanni, he decided not to call him). Background. The discourse function of a Contrastive Topic (CT) consists in: evoking alternatives with respect to other topics, such as both the CT and the alternatives are members of a contextually given set; selecting the referred object to the exclusion of at least some other members of the relevant set. Across the literature, different criteria have been proposed for the identification of CTs: Büring (1997) relies on prosodic features (i.e., the fall-rise intonation pattern), while the cartographic program to syntactic parameters (i.e., the existence of a specific functional projection). Research question: The analysis assumes that contrast is an autonomous informational notion on a par with topic and focus. The aim of the study is to disentangle CTs into their basic informational categories, i.e., topic and contrast, and to investigate which linguistic means are used to express each of them. It is well-known that topicalization is marked by syntactic A-bar movement to some left-peripheral projection (see Rizzi 1997 as a main reference). Which linguistic features express contrast? INTRODUCTION Jacopo Torregrossa Department of Linguistics, Verona University Task Reading Materials 4 main sentences: i) left-dislocated constituent in a contrast-inducing context; ii) in-situ constituent in a contrast-inducing context; iii) left-dislocated constituent in a non contrast-inducing context; iv) in-situ constituent in a non contrast-inducing context (see Reading materials) + fillers. Participants Five Italian speakers (3F, 2M), all students aged 21-28, 4 from the North-East of Italy and only one speaking a central variety. Analysis: F0 contour of each sector in the test utterances range (i.e., the difference between the maximal and the minimal F0-value) of the left-dislocated constituents length of the syllable corresponding to the highest F0-value in the left-dislocated sectors METHODS + TOPIC-TOPIC + CONTRAST (Dobbiamo tenere sotto controllo la nostra alimentazione) I formaggi, li mangiamo di frequente, ma le verdure, non riusciamo proprio ad apprezzarle. Mangiamo i formaggi di frequente, ma le verdure, non riusciamo proprio ad apprezzarle. - CONTRAST (La mamma ha comprato lo stracchino e la ricotta) I formaggi, li mangiamo di frequente. Mangiamo i formaggi di frequente. READING MATERIALS The speakers rely on two different strategies to express contrast: phonetic (Strategy I – 3 speakers) or phonological (Strategy II – 2 speakers). STRATEGY I THE SAME TONAL EVENT CORRESPONDS TO THE SAME SYNTACTIC POSITION RESULTS THE TONAL EVENTS DIFFER IN THE WAY THEY ARE REALIZED PHONETICALLY STRATEGY II THE SAME TONAL EVENT IN BOTH SYNTACTIC POSITIONS ( EXAMPLE OF A CONTRASTIVE INTERPRETATION) DISCUSSION AND FURTHER RESEARCH Contrast is expressed by means of specific prosodic features, either phonetic (Strategy I) or phonological (Strategy II). Contrast is a suprasegmental phenomenon which appears in association with phrasal constituents in different syntactic positions (as shown in (2)). (2) [ TopP TOPIC* [FocP [TopP TOPIC* [IP [VP… CONTRAST How does contrast interact with focus? What are the implications of the present study for the general architecture of grammar? Frascarelli M./Hinterhölzl R. 2007, Types of topics in German and Italian, in Winkler/Schwabe (eds.), On information structure, meaning and form (pp ), Amsterdam/Philadelphia, John Benjamins; Krifka M. 2007, Basic notions of information structure, in Fery/Krifka (eds.), Interdisciplinary Studies of Information Structure 6, Potsdam; Rizzi L. 1997, The Fine Structure of the Left Periphery, in Haegeman (ed.), Elements of Grammar, Kluwer, Dordrecht; Tomioka, S. (to appear), Contrastive Topics operate on Speech-Acts, in Féry/Zimmermann (eds.), Information Structure from Different Perspectives, OUP. Many thanks to: Birgit Alber, Valentina Bambini, Kristine Bentzen, Denis Delfitto, Barbara Gili Fivela, Chiara Melloni, Stefan Rabanus, Peter Svenonius and to Anna, Francesco, Ilaria, Maria, Riccardo, Sara, Vera. SELECTED REFERENCES AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The syllable associated with the highest F0- values in the left-dislocated constituent tends to be longer in contrastive contexts. Left-dislocated constituents with a contrastive interpretation are realized through a higher pitch range. RESULTS


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