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Italian Constituent Order in a Contrastive Perspective (ICOCP)

English title Italian Constituent Order in a Contrastive Perspective (ICOCP)
Applicant De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria
Number 133716
Funding scheme SNSF Professorships
Research institution
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Romance languages and literature
Start/End 01.09.2011 - 31.08.2015
Approved amount 1'321'120.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Romance languages and literature
German and English languages and literature

Keywords (10)

Contrastive linguistics; Italian in a contrastive perspective; Italian-French; Italian-English; Italian-German; Constituent order; Canonical and non canonical constituent order; Functional perspective; Language Typology; Clefts sentences and dislocations

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Italian is an SVO language generally assumed to have free or semi-free constituent order. Yet, at the same time, typical syntactic features of contemporary Italian include dislocations (la Traviata, la canta Stella) and cleft sentences (e' Stella che canta la Traviata), which are traditionally explained as a compensation mechanism to a rigid constituent order. In respect to constituent order variability Italian thus resembles both languages with relatively free constituent order, such as Spanish, Portoghese and to some extent German, and languages with relatively rigid constituent order, such as French and English, which compensate a fixed order with the use of special syntactic constructions.The goal of the ICOCP Project is to better understand the complexity and contradictions of constituent order in contemporary Italian and to highlight its distinctive properties by adopting a contrastive perspective. Italian will be compared to three other major European languages: English, French and German. Specifically, the study will provide an in-depth account of two sets of non-canonical marked syntactic constructions in Italian - English/French/German: constructions based on clause-internal rearrangement of basic sentence constituents (VS, SOV, OVS etc.) and more complex constructions, which involve additional morphosyntactic material (cleft sentences and dislocations). In contrast to much of the research currently available on these syntactic constructions, which favor spoken over written communication, the ICOCP research will focus on written texts. The data will be drawn from both authentic original and translated written texts belonging to different registers and genres. In addition, while current contrastive studies tend to focus on either the formal or functional properties of these syntactic constructions, the ICOCP Project will provide a comprehensive account of both their formal and functional properties as well as of their distribution and frequency across different written text types. Special attention will be given to constituent order in main declarative clauses.A contrastive study of Italian constituent order has many relevant theoretical and descriptive benefits. It will lead to a better understanding of phenomena which are unclear and which are difficult to analyze if we look at the Italian language alone. In particular, it will provide (a) an account of the raison d'etre of typical syntactic constructions of contemporary Italian; (b) a thorough description of the main similarities and differences between Italian and English, French and German and an integrated account of non-canonical sentence patterns in the four languages (while to date we have some good accounts of specific syntactic constructions in Italian, English, French and German individually, we lack a detailed cross-linguistic description); (c) a description and explanation of the unique specificities of constituent order in contemporary (written) Italian; (d) a deeper knowledge of the mechanisms underlying constituent ordering across the four languages compared; (e) a consideration of the influence of English on Italian syntactic structures and (f) a reconsideration of a widely held linguistic theory about the existence of special syntactic constructions, in particular cleft sentences. In addition to providing an important contribution to both Italian Linguistics, Romance Linguistics and General Linguistics, the ICOCP Project’s results will be relevant to a number of practical-oriented linguistic disciplines as well (in particular translation and interpreting and teaching Italian as a first and second language) and will provide a sufficiently detailed descriptive foundation to foster a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the acquisition of canonical and non-canonical syntactic structures in Italian as a foreign language. The ICOCP work-corpus of texts and examples will be made available at the end of the project for future research and to train future translators and interpreters.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Sintassi marcata dell’italiano dell’uso medio in prospettiva contrastiva con il francese, lo spagnolo, il tedesco e l’inglese. Uno studio basato sulla scrittura dei quotidiani online
De Cesare Anna-Maria, Garassino Davide, Agar Marco Rocío, Albom Ana, Cimmino Doriana (2016), Sintassi marcata dell’italiano dell’uso medio in prospettiva contrastiva con il francese, lo spagnolo, il tedesco e l’inglese. Uno studio basato sulla scrittura dei quotidiani online, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main.
Additive focus adverbs in canonical word orders: A corpus-based study of It. anche, Fr. aussi and E. also in written news
De Cesare Anna-Maria (2015), Additive focus adverbs in canonical word orders: A corpus-based study of It. anche, Fr. aussi and E. also in written news, in Linguistik online, 71(2), 31-56.
On the status of exhaustiveness in cleft sentences: An empirical and cross-linguistic study of English 'also'- / 'only'-clefts and Italian 'anche'- / 'solo'-clefts
De Cesare Anna-Maria, Garassino Davide (2015), On the status of exhaustiveness in cleft sentences: An empirical and cross-linguistic study of English 'also'- / 'only'-clefts and Italian 'anche'- / 'solo'-clefts, in Folia Linguistica, 49(1), 1-56.
Between Romance and Germanic: language, text, cognition and culture
Korzen Iørn Angela Ferrari & Anna-Maria De Cesare (ed.) (2014), Between Romance and Germanic: language, text, cognition and culture, Peter Lang, Bern, etc..
Cleft constructions in a contrastive perspective: towards an operational taxonomy
De Cesare Anna-Maria (2014), Cleft constructions in a contrastive perspective: towards an operational taxonomy, in De Cesare Anna-Maria (ed.), Mouton de Gruyter [Trends in linguistics], Berlin-New York, 9-48.
Cleft sentences. Italian-English in Contrast
Garassino Davide (2014), Cleft sentences. Italian-English in Contrast, in De Cesare Anna-Maria (ed.), Mouton de Gruyter [Trends in linguistics], Berlin-New York, 101-138.
Form and frequency of Italian Cleft constructions in a corpus of electronic news. A contrastive Perspective with French, Spanish, German and English
De Cesare Anna-Maria et al. (2014), Form and frequency of Italian Cleft constructions in a corpus of electronic news. A contrastive Perspective with French, Spanish, German and English, in De Cesare Anna-Maria (ed.), Mouton de Gruyter [Trends in linguistics], Berlin-New York, 49-99.
Frequency, forms and functions of Cleft Constructions in Romance and Germanic. Contrastive, corpus-based studies
De Cesare Anna-Maria (ed.) (2014), Frequency, forms and functions of Cleft Constructions in Romance and Germanic. Contrastive, corpus-based studies, Mouton de Gruyter [Trends in linguistics], Berlin-New York.
Fronting constructions and discursive antecedents. An Italian-English contrastive analysis
Cimmino Doriana (2014), Fronting constructions and discursive antecedents. An Italian-English contrastive analysis, in Korzen Iørn Angela Ferrari & Anna-Maria De Cesare (ed.), Peter Lang, Bern etc., 139-158.
Introduction
De Cesare Anna-Maria (2014), Introduction, in De Cesare Anna-Maria (ed.), Mouton de Gruyter [Trends in linguistics], Berlin-New York, 1-6.
L’italiano come lingua pluricentrica? Riflessioni sull’uso delle frasi sintatticamente marcate nella scrittura giornalistica online
De Cesare Anna-Maria, Garassino Davide, Agar Marco Rocio, Albom Ana, Cimmino Doriana (2014), L’italiano come lingua pluricentrica? Riflessioni sull’uso delle frasi sintatticamente marcate nella scrittura giornalistica online, in Studi di grammatica italiana, XXXIII, 295-363.
La dislocazione a sinistra nell’italiano d’Italia e a confronto con quello della Svizzera italiana: forma, frequenza e funzioni
Cimmino Doriana (2014), La dislocazione a sinistra nell’italiano d’Italia e a confronto con quello della Svizzera italiana: forma, frequenza e funzioni, Centro di studi filologici e linguistici siciliani, Palermo.
Le frasi pseudoscisse nei testi giornalistici online : italiano e francese a confronto
Baranzini Laura (2014), Le frasi pseudoscisse nei testi giornalistici online : italiano e francese a confronto, in Garavelli Enrico & Suomela Härmä Elina (ed.), Franco Cesati, Firenze, 567-574.
Le frasi pseudoscisse nei testi giornalistici online: italiano e spagnolo a confronto
Agar Marco Rocio (2014), Le frasi pseudoscisse nei testi giornalistici online: italiano e spagnolo a confronto, in Garvelli Enrico & Suomela Härmä Elina (ed.), Franco Cesati, Firenze, 557-565.
Le frasi scisse nei testi giornalistici online: italiano e inglese a confronto
Garassino Davide (2014), Le frasi scisse nei testi giornalistici online: italiano e inglese a confronto, in Garavelli Enrico & Suomela Härmä Elina (ed.), Franco Cesati, Firenze, 631-640.
Les phrases clivées en italien contemporain. Quelle caractérisation dans les volumes de référence de l’italien et quelle description à partir de corpus ?
De Cesare Anna-Maria (2014), Les phrases clivées en italien contemporain. Quelle caractérisation dans les volumes de référence de l’italien et quelle description à partir de corpus ?, in Veldre-Gerner Georgia & Thiele Sylvia (eds.) (ed.), ibidem-Verlag, Hannover, 201-216.
Pseudo-cleft sentences. Italian-French in contrast
Baranzini Laura (2014), Pseudo-cleft sentences. Italian-French in contrast, in De Cesare Anna-Maria (ed.), de Gruyter Mouton [Trends in linguistics], Berlin-New York, 139-176.
Pseudo-cleft sentences. Italian-Spanish in contrast
Agar Marco Rocío (2014), Pseudo-cleft sentences. Italian-Spanish in contrast, in De Cesare Anna-Maria (ed.), Mouton de Gruyter [Trends in linguistics], Berlin-New York, 177-215.
Reverse pseudo-cleft sentences in Italian and English: A contrastive analysis
Garassino Davide (2014), Reverse pseudo-cleft sentences in Italian and English: A contrastive analysis, in Korzen Iørn Angela Ferrari & Anna-Maria De Cesare (ed.), Peter Lang, Bern, 55-74.
Right-dislocation in Italian and Spanish. A contrastive analysis
Albom Ana (2014), Right-dislocation in Italian and Spanish. A contrastive analysis, in Korzen Iørn Angela Ferrari & Anna-Maria De Cesare (ed.), Peter Lang, Bern etc., 15-34.
Subject dislocations in contemporary Italian and in a contrastive perspective with French
De Cesare Anna-Maria (2014), Subject dislocations in contemporary Italian and in a contrastive perspective with French, in Korzen Iørn Angela Ferrari & Anna-Maria De Cesare (ed.), Lang, Bern etc., 35-54.
Sui lanci di agenzia online in italiano e in francese. Costruzioni scisse a confronto
De Cesare Anna-Maria (2014), Sui lanci di agenzia online in italiano e in francese. Costruzioni scisse a confronto, in Enrico Garavelli & Elina Suomela-Härmä (ed.), Franco Cesati, Firenze, 619-629.
Riflessioni sulla diffusione delle costruzioni scisse nell’italiano giornalistico odierno a partire dalla loro manifestazione nei lanci di agenzia in italiano e in inglese
De Cesare Anna-Maria (2012), Riflessioni sulla diffusione delle costruzioni scisse nell’italiano giornalistico odierno a partire dalla loro manifestazione nei lanci di agenzia in italiano e in inglese, in Cuadernos de filología italiana , 19, 11-39.
La variété syntaxique des dépêches d’agence publiées en ligne. Réflexions à partir d’un corpus de langue italienne
De Cesare Anna-Maria, Baranzini Laura (2011), La variété syntaxique des dépêches d’agence publiées en ligne. Réflexions à partir d’un corpus de langue italienne, in Ferrari Angela & Lala Letizia (ed.), Presses universitaires de Nancy, Nancy, 247-302.
Le frasi scisse inverse nell’italiano giornalistico d’Italia e della Svizzera italiana. Frequenza, forma, funzioni
De Cesare Anna-Maria, Le frasi scisse inverse nell’italiano giornalistico d’Italia e della Svizzera italiana. Frequenza, forma, funzioni, in Ruffino Giovanni (ed.), Cesati, Firenze, 1-10.
Le frasi scisse nell’italiano d’Italia e della Svizzera italiana. Alcune considerazioni a partire da un corpus di testi giornalistici online
Garassino Giovanni, Le frasi scisse nell’italiano d’Italia e della Svizzera italiana. Alcune considerazioni a partire da un corpus di testi giornalistici online, in Ruffino Giovanni (ed.), Cesati, Firenze, 1-10.

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Deutscher Hispanistentag. Sektion: Spaltsätze in der hispanophonen Welt: strukturelle und variationelle Probleme Talk given at a conference Rethinking the taxonomy of clefts based on Spanish, Italian and French data 19.03.2015 Heidelberg, Germany De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;
Kontrastive Grammatikschreibung im europäischen Vergleich: Theorie, Methoden und Anwendung Talk given at a conference Relevant outputs of theoretical and descriptive contrastive linguistics for foreign language grammar writing 02.10.2014 Univ. Santiago de Compostela, Spain De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;
13th SILFI Meeting - La lingua variabile nei testi letterari, artistici e funzionali contemporanei (1915-2014): analisi, interpretazione, traduzione Talk given at a conference Le frasi scisse nell’italiano d’Italia e a confronto con quello della Svizzera italiana: forma, frequenza e funzioni 22.09.2014 Università degli Studi di Palermo, Italy Garassino Davide;
13th SILFI Meeting - La lingua variabile nei testi letterari, artistici e funzionali contemporanei (1915-2014): analisi, interpretazione, traduzione Talk given at a conference Le frasi scisse inverse nell’italiano d’Italia e a confronto con quello della Svizzera italiana: forma, frequenza e funzioni 22.09.2014 Università degli Studi di Palermo, Italy De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;
L’ordine dei costituenti in italiano e in prospettiva contrastiva Talk given at a conference Le costruzioni VS in italiano e in francese come banco di prova del principio di compensazione 26.06.2014 Université de Bâle, Switzerland De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;
L’ordine dei costituenti in italiano e in prospettiva contrastiva Talk given at a conference L’uso delle frasi scisse in italiano e inglese: un solo “principio di compensazione” o più fattori in interazione? 26.06.2014 Université de Bâle, Switzerland Garassino Davide;
L’ordine dei costituenti in italiano e in prospettiva contrastiva Talk given at a conference Il principio di compensazione in italiano e in inglese. La dislocazione a sinistra e a destra 26.06.2014 Université de Bâle, Switzerland Albom Ana Marlene;
L’ordine dei costituenti in italiano e in prospettiva contrastiva Talk given at a conference Il principio di compensazione in italiano e in tedesco. Riflessioni a partire dalla frase pseudoscissa 26.06.2014 Université de Bâle, Switzerland Agar Marco Rocío;
L’ordine dei costituenti in italiano e in prospettiva contrastiva Talk given at a conference Il principio di compensazione in italiano e in inglese. Riflessioni a partire dai costrutti con anteposizione 26.06.2014 Université de Bâle, Switzerland Cimmino Doriana;
VALS, Norms in context Talk given at a conference Le dislocazioni a destra nell’italiano della Svizzera italiana 12.02.2014 Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland Albom Ana Marlene;
VALS, Norms in context Talk given at a conference Le frasi pseudoscisse nell’italiano della Svizzera italiana 12.02.2014 Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland Agar Marco Rocío;
VALS, Norms in context Talk given at a conference Le dislocazioni a sinistra nell’italiano della Svizzera italiana 12.02.2014 Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland Cimmino Doriana;
VALS, Norms in context Talk given at a conference Le frasi scisse nell’italiano della Svizzera italiana 12.02.2014 Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland Garassino Davide;
VALS, Norms in context Talk given at a conference Le frasi scisse inverse nell’italiano della Svizzera italiana 12.02.2014 Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;
Focus realization and interpretation in Romance and beyond Talk given at a conference Discourse hot spots: Clefts with focus adverbs in Italian, French and English 31.01.2014 Universität Köln, Germany De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;
International Congress of Linguists 19 Talk given at a conference Focus adverbs in noncanonical word order: information patterns and discourse functions in Italian and in a contrastive perspective 26.07.2013 Université de Genève, Switzerland De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;
Workshop Basel-TYPOlex, Between Romance and Germanic: language, text, cognition and culture Talk given at a conference Le dislocazioni nell'italiano e nel francese giornalistici online: il caso del discorso riportato 06.06.2013 Basel, Switzerland Baranzini Laura;
Workshop Basel-TYPOlex, Between Romance and Germanic: language, text, cognition and culture Talk given at a conference Anteposizioni e antecedenti difficili in prospettiva contrastiva italiano-inglese 06.06.2013 Basel, Switzerland Cimmino Doriana;
Workshop Basel-TYPOlex, Between Romance and Germanic: language, text, cognition and culture Talk given at a conference Dislocazione a destra. Uno studio contrastivo italiano-spagnolo 06.06.2013 Basel, Switzerland Albom Ana Marlene;
Workshop Basel-TYPOlex, Between Romance and Germanic: language, text, cognition and culture Talk given at a conference Subject dislocations in Italian and in a contrastive perspective 06.06.2013 Basel, Switzerland De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;
Workshop Basel-TYPOlex, Between Romance and Germanic: language, text, cognition and culture Talk given at a conference Reverse pseudo-clefts in Italian and English. A contrastive analysis 06.06.2013 Basel, Switzerland Garassino Davide;
Workshop Studi e Ricerche: Letteratura, Linguistica e Filologia italiana Talk given at a conference Le frasi pseudoscisse nei testi giornalistici online: italiano e tedesco a confronto 17.05.2013 Basel, Switzerland Agar Marco Rocío;
Workshop Studi e Ricerche: Letteratura, Linguistica e Filologia italiana Talk given at a conference Le dislocazioni nell’italiano e nel francese giornalistici online: il caso del discorso riportato 17.05.2013 Basel, Switzerland Baranzini Laura;
Going Romance 2012 Talk given at a conference On the so-called compensation mechanism principle. A discussion based on Italian, French, English and German cleft sentences 08.12.2012 Leuven, Belgium De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;
Settime Giornate svizzere della linguistica Talk given at a conference Réflexions sur les outils et les méthodes de recherche de la linguistique contrastive. Une discussion basée sur l’étude des constructions clivées 14.09.2012 Lugano, Switzerland De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;
VII. Internationale Arbeitstagung Romanisch-deutscher und innerromanischer Sprachvergleich Talk given at a conference Le frasi scisse inverse in italiano e in francese 05.09.2012 Innsbruck, Austria De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;
Multilingual corpora in cross-linguistic research Talk given at a conference Italian Constituent Order in a Contrastive Perspective (SNSF-Project PP00P1_133716/1): goals, methods, corpus, problems 22.06.2012 Bern, Switzerland De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;
12th SILFI Meeting (Società Internazionale di Linguistica e Filologia Italiana), Dal manoscritto al web: canali e modalità di trasmissione dell’italiano – tecniche, materiali e usi nella storia della lingua Poster Le frasi pseudoscisse nei testi giornalistici online: italiano e spagnolo a confronto 18.06.2012 Helsinki, Finland Agar Marco Rocío;
12th SILFI Meeting (Società Internazionale di Linguistica e Filologia Italiana), Dal manoscritto al web: canali e modalità di trasmissione dell’italiano – tecniche, materiali e usi nella storia della lingua Talk given at a conference Le frasi pseudoscisse nei testi giornalistici online: italiano e francese a confronto 18.06.2012 Helsinki, Finland Baranzini Laura;
12th SILFI Meeting (Società Internazionale di Linguistica e Filologia Italiana), Dal manoscritto al web: canali e modalità di trasmissione dell’italiano – tecniche, materiali e usi nella storia della lingua Talk given at a conference Le frasi scisse nei testi giornalistici online: italiano e inglese a confronto 18.06.2012 Helsinki, Finland Garassino Davide;
12th SILFI Meeting (Società Internazionale di Linguistica e Filologia Italiana), Dal manoscritto al web: canali e modalità di trasmissione dell’italiano – tecniche, materiali e usi nella storia della lingua" Talk given at a conference Le costruzioni scisse nei lanci di agenzia online: italiano, francese e inglese a confronto 18.06.2012 Helsinki, Finland De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;
Frequenza, forme e funzioni delle costruzioni scisse nelle lingue romanze e germaniche Talk given at a conference Le frasi pseudoscisse in italiano, spagnolo e tedesco in un corpus di testi giornalistici online: dati quantitativi e funzioni testuali 04.06.2012 Basel, Switzerland Agar Marco Rocío;
Frequenza, forme e funzioni delle costruzioni scisse nelle lingue romanze e germaniche Talk given at a conference Les constructions clivées dans un corpus multilingue (it, fr, all, angl) de prose journalistique online : premier bilan 04.06.2012 Basel, Switzerland De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;
Frequenza, forme e funzioni delle costruzioni scisse nelle lingue romanze e germaniche Talk given at a conference Le frasi scisse in italiano e in inglese in un corpus di testi giornalistici online: struttura informativa e funzioni testuali 04.06.2012 Basel, Switzerland Garassino Davide;
Linguistisches Forschungskolloquium Talk given at a conference Expressions additives et restrictives dans le focus des clivées : quelles conséquences pour l’interprétation de la composante exhaustive ? 08.05.2012 Freiburg, Germany Garassino Davide; De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;
Studi e Ricerche Talk given at a conference Le costruzioni scisse in un corpus di testi giornalistici online. Italiano, francese, tedesco, inglese a confronto 13.04.2012 Basel, Switzerland De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;
Sprachen und Normen im Wandel Talk given at a conference La frase scissa de l’italien : réflexions sur un trait syntaxique diagnostique du néo-italien 22.03.2012 Münster, Germany De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
L’ordine dei costituenti in italiano e in prospettiva contrastiva 26.06.2014 Université de Bâle, Switzerland
Workshop Basel-TYPOlex, Between Romance and Germanic: language, text, cognition and culture 06.06.2013 Basel, Switzerland
Frequenza, forme e funzioni delle costruzioni scisse nelle lingue romanze e germaniche 04.06.2012 Basel, Switzerland, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Le costruzioni scisse dell’italiano in prospettiva contrastiva Talk 17.11.2014 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;
Impersonal constructions in the Romance languages: contrastive analysis and translation problems Talk 12.06.2014 Universität Heidelberg, Germany De Cesare Greenwald Anna-Maria;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
The Origins and Evolution of Journalistic French: From the First Periodical (1631) to the French Revolution (1789) 08.05.2014 Universität Basel, Switzerland
Focus contrastivo e focus completivo: una ricerca cognitiva basata sulla tecnica dell’eye-tracker 27.11.2012 Universität Basel, Switzerland

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
160294 Additive and restrictive quantification in discourse. Comparative perspectives 01.05.2015 International Exploratory Workshops
159273 Italian Sentence Adverbs in a Contrastive Perspective (ISAaC) 01.09.2015 SNSF Professorships
148594 Additive and restrictive quantification in discourse. Comparative perspectives 01.06.2013 International Exploratory Workshops

Abstract

Italian is an SVO language generally assumed to have free or semi-free constituent order. Yet, at the same time, typical syntactic features of contemporary (neostandard) Italian include dislocations (la Traviata, la canta Stella) and cleft sentences (è Stella che canta la Traviata), which are traditionally explained as a compensation mechanism to a rigid constituent order. In respect to constituent order variability Italian thus resembles both languages with relatively free constituent order, such as Spanish, Portuguese and German, and languages with relatively rigid constituent order, such as French and English, which compensate a fixed order with the use of special syntactic constructions. The goal of the ICOCP Project is to better understand the complexity and contradictions of constituent order in contemporary Italian and to highlight its distinctive properties by adopting a contrastive perspective. Italian will be compared to three other major European languages: English, French and German. Specifically, the study will provide an in-depth account of two sets of non-canonical marked syntactic constructions in Italian - English/French/German: constructions based on clause-internal rearrangement of basic sentence constituents (VS, SOV, OVS etc.) and more complex constructions, which involve additional morphosyntactic material (cleft sentences and dislocations). In contrast to much of the research currently available on these syntactic constructions, which favor spoken over written communication, the ICOCP research will focus on written texts. The data will be drawn from both authentic original and translated written texts belonging to different registers and genres. In addition, while current contrastive studies tend to focus on either the formal or functional properties of these syntactic constructions, the ICOCP Project will provide a comprehensive account of both their formal and functional properties as well as of their distribution and frequency across different written text types. Special attention will be given to constituent order in main declarative clauses.A contrastive study of Italian constituent order has many relevant theoretical and descriptive benefits. It will lead to a better understanding of phenomena which are unclear and which are difficult to analyze if we look at the Italian language alone. In particular, it will provide (a) an account of the raison d’être of typical syntactic constructions of contemporary Italian; (b) a thorough description of the main similarities and differences between Italian and English, French and German and an integrated account of non-canonical sentence patterns in the four languages (while to date we have some good accounts of specific syntactic constructions in Italian, English, French and German individually, we lack a detailed cross-linguistic description); (c) a description and explanation of the unique specificities of constituent order in contemporary (written) Italian; (d) a deeper knowledge of the mechanisms underlying constituent ordering across the four languages compared; (e) a consideration of the influence of English on Italian syntactic structures and (f) a reconsideration of a widely held linguistic theory about the existence of special syntactic constructions, in particular cleft sentences. In addition to providing an important contribution to both Italian Linguistics and Contrastive Linguistics more generally, the ICOCP Project’s results will be relevant to a number of practical-oriented linguistic disciplines as well (in particular translation and interpreting and teaching Italian as a first and second language) and will provide a sufficiently detailed descriptive foundation to foster a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the acquisition of canonical and non-canonical syntactic structures in Italian as a foreign language. The ICOCP work-corpus of texts and examples will be made available at the end of the project for future research and to train future translators and interpreters.
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