Topiks im Deutschen und Italienischen
Der linke Rand des deutschen Mittelfeldes und die italienische linke Satzperipherie im Vergleich
The aim of this paper is i) to investigate the distribution of different topic types in the highest portion (found above valutative adverbs such as glücklicherweise and leider, Cinque 1999) of the German Mittelfeld, i. e. the clause portion found between the finite and non-finite verb forms (Satzklammer), and ii) to compare it with the distribution of topics within the Italian left periphery, i. e. the area found above the finite verb where operators, focalised and topicalised constructions are hosted (Rizzi 1997; Benincà 1988, 2001). Based on a corpus of written and oral German data collected through the DeReKO and the FOLK Databases, we show that in German i) in both written and oral examples a single topic belonging to all topic classes can appear in the highest portion of the Mittelfeld (as proposed by Frascarelli/Hinterhölzl 2007), ii) and that multiple topics are restricted to written texts and appear with the fixed order “Aboutness Topic > Familiar Topic; Aboutness Topic > Contrast Topic”. We compare the distribution of topics above valutative adverbs in German with the distribution of topics in the Italian left periphery. We show that the two languages share the fact that multiple topics are possible, with the difference that i) three topics can appear in the Italian left periphery in the order Aboutness Topic > Contrast Topic > Familiar Topic whereas only sequences of two topics are attested in German; ii) the sentence-initial position functions as an “extra” position for topics in German but not in Italian due to the V2 nature of the former language; iii) the presence of multiple topics in the left periphery is restricted to oral or informal texts in Italian and it is a typical trait of colloquial/informal language, whereas the availability of multiple topics in the German Mittefeld is restricted to written/formal texts and can thus be seen as a written/formal trait.