On the prosodic marking of contrast in Romance sentence topic: evidence from Neapolitan Italian

Lisa Brunetti, Laboratoire Dynamique du Langage, Lyon / Université Lumière Lyon 2
Mariapaola D’Imperio, Laboratoire Parole et Langage, Aix-en-Provence / Université de Provence
Francesco Cangemi, Laboratoire Parole et Langage, Aix-en-Provence

In this paper we present data in Neapolitan Italian that show a clear phonological difference in intonation between a clitic left dislocated object topic in an exhaustive answer and in a partial answer. In the latter, the topic expression is set aside in its own prosodic phrase, made of a rising accent (H*) followed by a !H- boundary tone. An exhaustive answer does not show such phrasing pattern. The finding of a ‘partial’ tune in Romance provides a solution to the pragmatic problem of defining sentence topic by supporting a bi-dimensional model of Information Structure.