The Focus-Background Articulation in Spanish Qualitative Binominal NPs

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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 medico', 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-149
JournalJournal of Portuguese Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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