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  • The Left Periphery: The Interaction of Syntax, Pragmatics, and Prosody in Czech
  • Ivona Kučerová
Anne Sturgeon. The Left Periphery: The interaction of syntax, pragmatics, and prosody in Czech. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2008. 143 pp. [Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today, 129.]

This monograph, based on the author's doctoral dissertation, provides a novel investigation of various types of left dislocation strategies in Czech, in particular Contrastive Left Dislocation (CLD) and two varieties of Hanging Topic Left Dislocation (HTLD). The aim is to fill a gap in the description of this phenomenon in the West Slavic languages. While left dislocation has been widely discussed in the Chomskyan generative tradition for the Romance and Germanic languages, relatively little has been written about Czech. The author provides an exhaustive description of the data and shows how the data may be analyzed within the current state-of-the-art approaches to Germanic left dislocation. Even though Czech left dislocation strategies have not been the subject of much Chomskyan generative investigation, they have not gone unnoticed in the Czech functionalist tradition of the Prague linguistic circle. One of the main virtues of the monograph, apart from its empirical contribution, is the fact that it brings the results of functionalist approaches to the attention of the Chomskyan reader.

Chapter 1 opens the monograph by sketching the phenomenon and the analysis to be proposed. The structure of the left periphery in Czech, a necessary background for the proposal, is investigated in chapter 2. Sturgeon closely follows the analysis of Czech sentential structure that is proposed in Veselovská 1995. Veselovská's analysis was developed within the GB framework, and her treatment of Czech is rather conservative in the sense that Czech sentential structure does not crucially differ from the sentential structure of English. Sturgeon recasts Veselovská's result within the Minimalist Program and examines the validity of Veselovská's assumptions. Interestingly, Sturgeon disagrees with Veselovská's analysis with respect to the relative height of elements in the left periphery. While for Veselovská a significant number of dislocations related to information structure target the CP area, Sturgeon argues that there is no empirical need to posit an expanded [End Page 143] CP domain. An analysis that puts the landing site of Focus, Contrastive Topic, and Topic elements within an expanded IP will do as well.

  1. 1. The proposed structure of the left periphery (p. 20, sturgeon's (25)):

Two assumptions are crucial here: (i) movement to Spec IP may be triggered by the EPP, and (ii) A-bar movement may be discourse motivated, and therefore does not need to target a feature-specific A-bar position, such as Topic Phrase or Focus Phrase, Consequently, the specifier of IP may be either an A- or an A-bar position. In showing that (1) is an appropriate analysis of Czech, Sturgeon relies on Lenertová (2001), who noticed that in Czech multiple wh-movement does not target the CP area, since clitics and adverbials may appear between the wh-elements, as witnessed by (2) (p, 26, Sturgeon's (39)). The data lend further support to the analysis of multiple wh-movement in West Slavic as proposed in Meyer 2003, 2004. [End Page 144]

  1. 2. Kde      jsi        (včera večer) koho      (včera večer) komu

           where AUX2sg   last    night   whoacc     last    night   whodat



           'Where did you introduce who to whom last night?'

           Lit: 'Where (last night) who (last night) to who introduced?'

Chapter 3 investigates the syntax of left dislocation. In her analysis, Sturgeon closely follows the proposal of Grohmann (2003) for German. Sturgeon argues that Czech, like German, has three distinct left dislocation strategies: Contrastive Left Dislocation (CLD), as in (3), and two varieties of Hanging Topic Left Dislocation (HTLD), as exemplified in (4) and (5).

  1. 3. Ostatně   toho  draka,        toho    by          si        mohl    jedině

           besides   that   dragoruacc  thatacc  cond3sg  REFL could   so only



           'Besides, that dragon, he would only be able to draw it…'

                                                                     (Czech National Corpus)

  2. 4. Anička?      Té       se       nic         nestalo.

           Aničkanom   thatdat  REFL nothing  NEG-happened

           'Anička? Nothing happened to her.'

                                                                     (Czech National Corpus)

  3. 5...


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pp. 143-152
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