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Between subordinate and insubordinate. Paths towards complementizer-initial main clauses

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

© 2015. Insubordinate constructions have been argued to derive from regular subordinated clauses through ellipsis of the matrix clause (Evans, 2007). However, ellipsis in actual discourse has not yet been systematically studied with respect to its potential as a source of functionally specialized insubordinate constructions. This paper aims to fill this gap, by examining complementizer-initial dyadically dependent clauses (i) in a corpus of online question-answer interactions in Spanish, French, German and English and (ii) in natural conversation in Spanish and English. Dyadically dependent clauses have a complementizer in sentence-initial position. They lack an explicit matrix, but can be construed as dependent on a matrix from the previous turn. According to Evans' hypothesis, they should be a potential source for true complementizer-initial insubordinate constructions. Our analysis shows that dyadically dependent clauses develop specialized discourse functions, involving the organization of textual and interpersonal relations. If such functions are conventionalized, this would result in true insubordinate constructions. Next, we look for actual functional overlap between the dyadically dependent clauses in our data and attested insubordinate constructions in the four languages studied. Functional similarities between dyadically dependent clauses and insubordinate constructions are found for optative insubordinate constructions in Spanish, French and German, for discourse-connective insubordinate constructions in Spanish, English and German, and for copying insubordinate constructions in Spanish and English.
Tijdschrift: Journal of Pragmatics
ISSN: 0378-2166
Volume: 77
Pagina's: 3 - 19
Jaar van publicatie:2015
BOF-publication weight:1
CSS-citation score:2
Authors from:Government, Higher Education