This paper investigates the realization of subjects in Broad and Narrow Focus constructions, from both an acquisitional and a theoretical perspective. Specifically, NF structures include Information (IF) and Corrective (CF) subjects and the study concerns Italian children (4--9 y.o.). Data are collected through an original experiment, based on spontaneous answers to (recorded) questions associated to scene settings. It is shown that the SV strategy is the most frequently used, independent of either Focus or verb type (considering transitive, unaccusative and unergartive verbs). Importantly, however, prosodic analysis shows that the SV order is systematically associated to distinct contours according to Focus types. As for the VS order, it appears as a late acquisition (around 7 y.o.) for both NF and BF constructions and is always associated with a downgrading contour. In a cartographic approach, these results lead to the conclusion that focus-related discourse and p-features are merged in dedicated projections and trigger movement to be valued and interpreted at Spell-Out. Consequently, p-features are uninterpretable at PF in the VS order. Finally, since the realization of postverbal subjects is part of the Null Subject Parameter, VS late emergence supports the hypothesis that the discourse-related competences connected with its acquisition are managed after 7 y.o.
Frascarelli, M., Stortini, T. (2019). Focus constructions, verb types and the SV/VS order in Italian: An acquisitional study from a syntax–prosody perspective. LINGUA, 227, 1-34 [10.1016/j.lingua.2019.04.004].