The Right Periphery of Interrogatives in Catalan and Spanish: Syntax/Prosody Interactions

Sílvia Planas-Morales, Xavier Villalba


It has been reported in the literature that interrogative sentences behave quite differently regarding subject-verb inversion in Spanish and Catalan: whereas the former allows ‘classical’ VS inversion, and particularly VSO, the latter systematically resorts to right-dislocation in all cases (V(O)#S). In this paper we scrutinize this observation from a corpus-based perspective, and including into the syntactic picture the prosodic and pragmatic features of interrogatives. We show that Catalan interrogatives clearly favor RD, in sharp contrast with Spanish, which favors in situ realization of background material. This latter option has important consequences for the prosodic patterns of Spanish interrogatives, which mark final focus constituents with a pitch rising and that final background material with a slight pitch fall.


interrogative sentences; right-dislocation; inversion; information structure; prosody; Catalan; Spanish

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