The Syntax of Mirative Focus Fronting: Evidence from French

  • J.-Marc AuthierEmail author
  • Liliane Haegeman
Part of the Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory book series (SNLT, volume 95)


Cruschina (2009, 2011) argues against the general claim (cf. Rizzi 1997) that focus fronting is possible only when associated with contrast and proposes, based on data from Sicilian and Sardinian, that corrective focus (CFoc) fronting and mirative focus (MFoc) fronting target distinct left periphery projections. One of the goals of this paper will be to provide independent evidence for this claim drawn from French, a language which we will show only allows MFoc fronting. A second goal will be to provide a much-needed semantic characterization of MFoc. We will show that while MFoc fronting constructions and wh-exclamatives pattern alike in terms of information structure, the former differ semantically from the latter in having what Nouwen and Chernilovskaya (2015) call an e-level rather than an i-level expressive content.


e-level interpretation Expressive content Focus fronting i-level interpretation Left periphery Mirative focus 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of French and Francophone StudiesPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of LinguisticsGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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