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Witness the following examples: Es ist die Michaela, die mir in dieser Geschichte am meisten Leid tut. Cleft constructions with initial, medial and final cleft constituent In line with the new classification system proposed in Calude , for English, as well as with the classification system sometimes used for Spanish cf. Van den Steen , we propose to distinguish three types of Cleft constructions: with initial, medial and with final cleft constituent.
More precisely, the difference between the three types of Cleft constructions is the following: in the first group of Cleft constructions, the cleft constituent CC in the figure below opens the construction and precedes both the copula COP and the cleft clause CCL ; in the second group of Cleft constructions, the cleft constituent is located between the copula optionally preceded by an expletive subject in non pro-drop languages, cf.
Cleft constructions: A classification system based on the position of the cleft constituent This classification proposal differs from the account mentioned above in that we consider the clefts given in as two different types. In the new classification system, a difference is made between clefts with initial cf.
The most important differences are as follows: i the labels referring to the three types of clefts mentioned in Figure 2 are much more transparent and therefore straightforward to apply in cross-linguistic descriptions; ii in contrast with what could be suggested in the traditional taxonomy of clefts, in the new classification proposal there is no hierarchy between the three types of clefts: as can be observed on the basis of their position in Figure 2, the three cleft types are independent from each other; from this it follows that the three types of clefts are considered to be equally important; iii in turn, from the previous point it follows that in the new classification system no correlation is suggested between a given cleft type and its derivation pattern and that there are no expectations concerning the reversibility of one cleft type into another; iv the classification proposed in Figure 2 is more straightforward in describing the problematic structures discussed in Section 2.
We will return to this point below. Cleft constructions with initial, medial and final cleft constituent: Cross-linguistic evidence At this point, we would like to make our classification proposal more concrete by providing examples from the five languages in which we are interested. Table 1, which also recalls the abstract formal make-up of the three main types of clefts cf. An interesting hypothesis, which should be verified in future research, is whether Italian and perhaps also French used more clefts with initial than with medial cleft constituent before the 19 th Century than today.
As we have seen on the basis of some of the examples provided by Fornaciari cf. From the data available at hand, it seems that after this date possibly as a result of language contact in a first stage with French , the cleft constituent came to preferably occupy the medial position of the syntactic structure. This formal overlap also concerns the paradigm of forms that belong to the three types of clefts.
First, it concerns the clefts constructed with a cleft clause opened by a free or WH- pronoun in particular Type C clefts. Consider Table 2, which provides the list of free pronouns that can open the cleft clause of all three types of clefts note that these forms basically correspond to interrogative pronouns and, in some cases, also to relative pronouns. Following Collins , we propose to consider for English only the lexical nouns corresponding to the list of free relatives given in Table 2 and recalled in the first column to the left of Table 3 cf.
Collins 29— In Table 3, we adopt this view for the other languages. Table 3. List of generic lexical heads opening cleft clauses in five European languages English German Italian French Spanish who one Person persona personne persona person where place Ort luogo endroit sitio posto lieu lugar what thing Ding cosa chose cosa 32 Based on its structural resemblance with Type C clefts, i. However, it should be noted that it is difficult to interpret this structure as having a contrastive focus on the initial cleft constituent the same could be said for Italian.
It should also be noted that this table does not contain all the possible WH-forms: as well as E. A slightly more detailed list of WH-forms is provided in De Cesare et al.
Moreover, although semantically related, in Table 2 we have not included the English form all cf. Calude a book is all I want; all I want is a book. Witness the following authentic example, which correspond to the forms commonly employed in Italian and French Type C clefts examples  and  repeat examples  and  I think the person I like best is the step granny.
As we highlighted in Section 3 and present in more detail in De Cesare et al. There are differences even between languages belonging to the same genetic family cf. Harris-Delisle ; Smits Another cross-linguistic difference regarding Type C clefts in the two Germanic as opposed to the two Romance languages we are dealing with cf. De Cesare et al. In his view cf. Interestingly, the list of analytical compounds is the same as the one provided by Collins While the option of using a complex pronoun is not easily available in English, it is possible in German cf.
Cleft constructions with initial, medial and final cleft constituent: Paradigm of forms At this point it should be highlighted that each paradigm of clefts — i. As displayed in Table 4, the Italian language is particularly adapted to illustrate the wealth of forms that could possibly be found in this language for each class of clefts. Each class of clefts, i. The first one is, again, that the three cleft types identified in Table 4 correspond only roughly to the three cleft types identified in Figure 1 and should therefore not be equated in block.
Thus, in contrast to what is traditionally considered to be a Pseudo-cleft in Italian, Cleft constructions of Type C do not only include syntactic structures opened by a free relative cf. C-2 and by a relative headed by a complex pronoun C-3 , but also by other forms C-1 and C Such a proposal has been made for instance by Monica Berretta cf. A similar proposal is found in Gil for the class of Pseudo-clefts: in his view, this category can be extended so as to cover not only the constructions opened by a free relative chi and by a relative headed by a pronoun quello che , but also the constructions opened by an implicit cleft clause our Type C In this new taxonomy, clefts like 87 and 92 , repeated below as and , are both instances of Type B clefts, as the cleft constituent is located between the copula and the cleft clause.
The latest results of corpus-based researches show very clearly that these cleft types and subtypes are strongly register and genre-specific, i. It is well known, for instance, that there are major differences in the distribution of clefts in spoken vs. Let us illustrate this point on the basis of Type C- clefts. Berretta The colloquial nature of Type C-1 clefts is evident in the example provided below, from an informal conversation, in which we can observe several oral features cf.
Concluding remarks After recalling the terminology traditionally used in the literature to refer to different types of clefts and highlighting some of the milestones reached in the research on clefts, mainly in the Romance languages, this paper presented the classic taxonomy of clefts used in the description of English as well as of other European languages and discussed the external and internal boundaries of these three classes of clefts.
In light of an important body of taxonomic shortcomings, the main contribution of this paper is to propose a new classification system of Cleft constructions based on a single factor, which coincides with the linear position of the cleft constituent within the syntactic structure. In contrast to the classic tripartite taxonomy of clefts, which is primarily rooted on the formal properties of both the cleft construction introducer as labels Cleft sentences and Pseudo-cleft sentences should be maintained only for the traditional and prototypical forms of Cleft sentences and Pseudo-cleft sentences i.
In the other cases, these labels should be avoided, in particular for languages that differ significantly from English. The main advantage of this new classification system of clefts is that it is straightforward to apply to data from different languages and allows the classificatory problems listed in the first part of the paper to be easily solved.
We believe that this new classification system of clefts offers a very good basis for contrastive studies which aim to describe the frequency, forms and functions of clefts from a cross-linguistic perspective. We also believe that this classification is especially useful when several languages are taken into account at once and when the comparison involves languages that differ structurally, not only from English but also from each other.
The papers included in the first part of the volume partly rest on this new classification system to describe the cross-linguistic similarities and differences in the frequency, forms and functions of clefts. For an overview of the distribution of Type B and C clefts in a corpus of online news articles, see in particular De Cesare et al. There are of course numerous open questions to address in future research and several pieces of data that ought to be further developed.
For instance, while the literature has mainly shown that different types of clefts in particular the traditionally labeled IT-cleft and WH-cleft encode different syntactic and semantic properties,36 we need to demonstrate more thoroughly that there are significant differences in the ways syntactic and semantic features are encoded within the same paradigm of Cleft construction types, i. Moreover, a more fine-grained account of the functional differences and similarities between Type A, Type B and Type C clefts must be provided. In our view, the main evidence showing that there is a difference between Type A and B clefts is the fact that many languages cf.
English, Spanish, German have both types of clefts in their repertoire and that in these languages, the cleft constituent of these two types of clefts does not have the same formal and pragmatic properties cf. De Cesare on German. In a functional perspective, a crucial aspect that should be taken into account in forthcoming cross-linguistic descriptions of clefts is their intonation and information patterns. This vol. Pseudo-cleft Sentences. Italian-Spanish in contrast. Ahlqvist, Anders.
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