Cleft constructions in (non-standard) varieties of Germanic and Romance languages

Start - End 
2011 - 2015 (completed)
Department of Linguistics
Other institution(s) 
Universidade Nova de Lisboa (FCSH)
Research Focus 
Research Language 
Research Methodology 



In this project we contribute to one of the major issues in the Generative approach, namely how much the interpretive component of languages – and more specifically the interpretive component referred to as Information structure – is syntactically encoded. More particularly, we investigate whether there are consistent correlations between the interpretational and syntactic properties of four European Portuguese cleft constructions, and how these potential correlations should be accounted for theoretically. The cleft constructions taken into consideration are it-clefts, pseudoclefts, é que-clefts and SER-clefts. Syntactically we can distinguish between biclausal clefts (it-clefts and pseudoclefts) and monoclausal clefts (é que-clefts and SER-clefts). All cleft constructions have a focalized cleft constituent that can both constitute information focus and contrastive focus, and an existentially presupposed cleft clause. Additionally, the cleft constituent exhaustively identifies an open position in the cleft clause. Whenever relevant, the Portuguese data are compared with data from other languages, Germanic and Romance varieties in particular.



Phd Student(s)


Maria Lobo

Universidade Nova de Lisboa