Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!


Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

E-mail this page 1

We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at***

Dissertation Information

Title: The Syntax and Pragmatics of Contrastive Topic in Czech Add Dissertation
Author: Anne Sturgeon Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2006
Linguistic Subfield(s): Syntax;
Subject Language(s): Czech
Director(s): Judith Aissen

Abstract: This dissertation concerns the syntax, pragmatics and prosody of two types
of left dislocation constructions in Czech: Contrastive Left Dislocation
(CLD) and Hanging Topic Left Dislocation (HTLD). In both constructions, a
left dislocated constituent appears separated from the main clause by an
intonational break. This constituent binds both a resumptive pronoun at
the left edge of the main clause and a clause-internal gap. Though these
constructions share certain characteristics, they also display several
differences. In CLD, there is evidence of a syntactic connection between
the left dislocate and the clause-internal gap. This evidence is
systematically absent in HTLD.

Chapter 2 develops an account of Czech clause structure to support the
analysis of left dislocation proposed here. A key assumption is that [Spec,
IP] is an A-bar position in Czech, and hosts topics, contrastive topics,
and foci. To account for the syntactic differences between CLD and HTLD, I
propose that CLD’ed elements move from a clause-internal position through
[Spec, IP] to a position at the left periphery. Connectivity effects of
several types support this analysis. Since connectivity effects are absent
in HTLD, I propose that hanging topics are base-generated in a
left-peripheral position and are related to the resumptive through

CLD and HTLD also differ pragmatically: HTLD promotes the discourse
referent of the left dislocate to topic status, while CLD marks the left
dislocate as a contrastive topic. These conclusions are based on the
analysis of approximately 100 attested examples identified from the Czech
National Corpus and through Google searches.

A long-standing question in the literature on left dislocation is the
appearance of the resumptive. In HTLD, the resumptive is independent of
the hanging topic. It moves from its base position and is related to the
hanging topic through coreference. In CLD, the resumptive is not
independent, but appears in a position through which the contrastive topic
moves. To account for the resumptive in CLD, I adopt the Copy and Delete
theory of movement (Chomsky 1995) and propose that the intermediate
movement copy spells out in order to satisfy prosodic conditions associated
with contrastive topics in Czech.