Subject clitics in nominal copular sentences: some insight from a North Eastern variety of Italian
- Nominal Copular Constructions,
- Partial Pro-Drop,
- Subject Clitics,
- Veneto Variety
In this paper we describe the distribution of subject clitics in nominal copular constructions in the Veneto variety of Este (Padova province). In nominal copular sentences in a pro-drop language like Italian, the copula always agrees with the subject of the small clause both in canonical (preverbal NP subject) and in inverse (postverbal NP subject) structures. Since Veneto varieties are partial pro-drop languages, on the one side, the subject NP always agrees with the copula as in Italian. On the other side, the inflectional paradigm of both verbs and subject clitics interacts with the informational structure of the sentence. Namely, the allowance for subject proclitics and overt postverbal subjects in inverse copular sentences (which is not found in other constructions involving postverbal subjects) allows us to account for the preverbal position of the predicative DP in terms of informational structure: the preverbal predicative DP is a topic intensional element that instantiates the description of the subject of the sentence. The predicative DP, as in Italian, can cliticize onto an invariant pro-predicative clitic: the resulting clustering with the subject clearly confirms the reduced structure involved by copular constructions (as in Moro 1997). The present descriptive considerations allow us to update the analysis of Moro (1997). We characterize inverse copular sentences as involving some restriction on the topic-comment structure, showing a clear morphological counterpart (the inflected subject proclitics) in the operation of AGREE in a partial pro-drop language like the variety of Este (Padova province).