Claudia Manetti

We explore the comprehension of Clitic Left Dislocations by focusing on a particular structure in which the left dislocated direct object topic is introduced by the preposition ‘a’/to (henceforth a-Topic). In previous work on the acquisition of ClLDs, Belletti and Manetti (2018) reported that children overwhelmingly produced this type of ClLD with a-Topics, despite its marginal availability in adult grammar. Following from these findings, we first aimed at investigating how the comprehension of a-Topics compares with the large production of a-Topics. We then focused on the role of a-marking in the comprehension of ClLDs as creating a relevant mismatch between the object topic and the DP subject, in light of previous findings investigating featural mismatch in gender and in number in the comprehension of ClLDs. The main result of this study indicates that the unexpected behavior that children showed in their production of ClLDs with a-Topics matched with their high comprehension of the same type of ClLD involving an a-marked left dislocated object topic. In line with Belletti and Manetti’s (2018) proposal, the role of a-marking of topics will be discussed in terms of intervention locality within the featural Relativized Minimality approach, as developed in Friedmann, Belletti & Rizzi (2009) and in further elaboration (Belletti et al. 2012).

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