The Comment Clause in English: Syntactic Origins and Pragmatic Development

The Comment Clause in English: Syntactic Origins and Pragmatic Development

by Laurel J. Brinton
     
 

ISBN-10: 0521886732

ISBN-13: 9780521886734

Pub. Date: 12/31/2008

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Although English comment clauses such as I think and you know have been widely studied, this book constitutes the first full-length diachronic treatment, focusing on comment clauses formed with common verbs of perception and cognition in a variety of syntactic forms. It understands comment clauses as causal pragmatic markers that undergo grammaticalization, and…  See more details below

Overview

Although English comment clauses such as I think and you know have been widely studied, this book constitutes the first full-length diachronic treatment, focusing on comment clauses formed with common verbs of perception and cognition in a variety of syntactic forms. It understands comment clauses as causal pragmatic markers that undergo grammaticalization, and acquire pragmatic and politeness functions and subjective and intersubjective meanings. To date, the prevailing view of their syntactic development, which is extrapolated from synchronic studies, is that they originate in matrix clauses which become systematically indeterminate and are reanalyzed as parenthetical. In this corpus-based study, Laurel J. Brinton shows that the historical data do not bear out this view, and proposes a more varied and complex conception of the development of comment clauses. Researchers and students of the English language and historical linguistics will certainly consider Brinton's findings to be of great interest.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521886734
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
12/31/2008
Series:
Studies in English Language Series
Pages:
298
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

1 Introduction : comment clauses, parentheticals, and pragmatic markers 1

2 Semantic and syntactic development of pragmatic markers 24

3 Processes of change 49

4 Comment clauses with say 73

5 I mean 111

6 Comment clauses with see 133

7 If you will and as it were 162

8 Comment clauses with look 184

9 What's more and what else 203

10 Epistemic/evidential parentheticals - I gather and I find 219

11 Concluding remarks 240

References 257

Author index 275

Subject index 278

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