Wide-focus subject-verb inversion in Ibero-Romance: a locative account

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This paper explores the hypothesis that wide-focus subject-verb inversion in Ibero-Romance is a type of locative inversion, involving a null locative argument. Ibero-Romance displays fine-grained, systematic variation determined by verbal class and variety, offering evidence that Ibero-Romance neutral word order is SVO, rather than VSO as claimed by some null-subject accounts. It is proposed that ‘locative’ subject-verb inversion is a consequence of grammatically-encoded deictic features correlating with the semantic properties of the verbs involved. The locative element, available unequally across Ibero-Romance, can surface in different positions in the left periphery, yielding the variation encountered. The data indicate that the licensing of these constructions depends neither on the null-subject parameter, since this type of inversion also occurs in non- and partial null-subject varieties, nor on the unaccusative/unergative division, though in both cases a degree of correspondence exists.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11
Number of pages33
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2016


  • subject-verb inversion
  • Ibero-Romance languages
  • null subject parameter
  • locative inversion
  • word order


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