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Subject canonicality and definiteness effects in Romance there-sentences

From: Language
Volume 89, Number 4, December 2013
pp. 675-712 | 10.1353/lan.2013.0062



Evidence from main and lesser-known Romance languages indicates that the morphosyntactic properties of existential pivots correlate with semantic and pragmatic properties of noun phrases that count toward subjecthood to different degrees crosslinguistically. While fully supporting Beaver and colleagues’ (2005) theory of the definiteness effects, the findings of this research also suggest that the effects cannot be fully explained in a nonconstructional way.

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