• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
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This section has discussed A'-scrambling, which involves negation, focus and topic movement. We have seen that there are reasons for assuming that negative phrases expressing sentence negation are obligatorily moved into the specifier position of the functional projection NegP, from which they can take scope over the proposition expressed by the lexical domain of the clause. Similarly, contrastive foci and topics are obligatorily moved into the specifier of FocP and TopP, from where they can take scope over their associated backgrounds/comments, which can again be taken to be located in the lexical domain of the clause. The fact that contrastive foci are often higher in the structure than phrases expressing sentence negation, while contrastive topics are higher than contrastive foci leads to the overall structure in (172), where the brackets without labels stand for potential functional projections that may still be discovered by future research.

Example 172
[CP ... C [TP ... T [ ... [TopP Top [... [FocP Foc [... [NegP ... Neg [LD ....]]]]]]]]]

The representation in (172) is conspicuously similar to what we find in languages such as Hungarian, which are strongly templatic in the sense that there is a strict order of phrases of various semantic types: topic > focus > neg. It therefore need not surprise us that the description of the Hungarian functional domain provided in É.Kiss (2002) is essentially similar to the one given in (172), although it adds a functional projection between TopP and FocP which provides a landing site for certain quantified expressions, especially those involving a universal quantifier or a numeral expression such as sok'many', számos'several' and több mint n'more than n'. We might therefore expect that such phrases also undergo A'-movement in languages other than Hungarian: although Svenonius (2000) and Christensen (2005) have shown that this expectation is indeed borne out for Icelandic, it still remains to be shown for Dutch. Although further comparison of Dutch and Hungarian is needed in order to get a more complete picture of the similarities and differences between these languages, the fact that the functional domains of the clause in unrelated languages like Dutch and Hungarian are so similar gives credibility to the hypothesis that this domain is at least partly determined by certain universal (perhaps semantic) properties of the language system.

  • Christensen, Ken Ramshøj2005Interfaces. Negation - syntax - brainUniversity of Aarhus, MR Research CentreThesis
  • Kiss, Katalin É2002The syntax of HungarianCambridge syntax GuidesCambridge University Press
  • Svenonius, Peter2000Quantifier Movement in IcelandicSvenonius, Peter (ed.)The derivation of VO and OVJohn Benjamins255-292