Research Paper

The Focus-Background Articulation in Spanish Qualitative Binominal NPs

Abstract

The goal of this article is to show that, unlike recent analyses of the qualitative binominal NP construction (QBNP) that idiot of a doctor/el idiota del médico, Spanish QBNPs require an analysis with the following features: (i) the definite article preceding the subject nominal is a fully-fledged determiner, (ii) the predicate-subject final word order is the consequence of predicate focus fronting, (iii) the subject receives background interpretation, and (iv) as a consequence of its interpretation as background, the subject of the construction must be specific, which explains the apparently syntactic restrictions on the size of the nominals occurring in this position. This proposal is shown to extend straightforwardly to a kindred Spanish nominalizing construction, yielding a better understanding of the role of focus in DP structure.

How to Cite

Villalba, X., (2008) “The Focus-Background Articulation in Spanish Qualitative Binominal NPs”, Journal of Portuguese Linguistics 7(2), p.131-149. doi: https://doi.org/10.5334/jpl.131

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Xavier Villalba (Centre de Lingüística Teòrica, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Dept. de Filologia Catalana, Facultat de Lletres (edifici B), Campus UAB, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès SPAIN)

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