This book provides the first ever large-scale comparative treatment of there sentences (there copula NP), in over 100 Italo-Romance and Sardinian dialects spoken in Italy. It comprises detailed discussions of focus structure, predication and argument realization, definiteness effects, and the linking between semantics and syntax in there sentences, advancing novel proposals in each case. The authors test influential hypotheses on existential constructions against first-hand dialect evidence; they argue that existential and locative there sentences differ in focus structure and semantics, even though they display similar morphosyntactic features. The volume also provides the historical background of Romance there sentences, relying on the findings of the analysis of a substantial corpus of early Italo-Romance vernacular texts. Couched in the framework of Role and Reference Grammar, the discussion fully engages with the vast available literature on existentials and locatives, thus being of interest to linguists of any theoretical persuasion. Through the investigation of existentials and locatives, the volume addresses key issues in linguistic theory, while offering an invaluable source of data for research on the Romance languages and a model in fieldwork-based microvariational analysis.
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