Emphatic Polarity from Latin to Romance

This paper offers an analysis of some emphatic polarity constructions in Spanish and Catalan from a diachronic and comparative perspective. We focus on the syntactic processes involved in the verbalization of this polarity, in both its positive and negative expression. Our main proposal is that the markers used in Spanish and Catalan (as well as other Romance languages) to reinforce polarity have acquired their status as the consequence of a focalization process. It will be argued that these elements have undergone leftward movement from their base-generated hierarchically low position to a prominent position in the left periphery of the sentence (see Rizzi 1997) and subsequently experienced a progressive bleaching of their original value (which is related to a verbal denotation) to end up being reanalyzed / grammaticalized as polarity markers ​
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