Edited by Victoria Camacho-Taboada, Ángel L. Jiménez-Fernández, Javier Martín-González and Mariano Reyes-Tejedor
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 197] 2013
► pp. 11–54
This paper looks at the use of complementisers (especially indicative that) in the contemporary spoken English of live unscripted radio and TV broadcasts. Descriptive grammars of English generally claim that indicative that is restricted to occurring in C1/Complementiser-First structures where the complementiser is the first word in a declarative subordinate clause. However, I report a wide range of other structures containing indicative that occurring in spoken English (including interrogative C1 structures), together with a wide range of C2/Complementiser-Second structures. I note that C2 (but not C1) structures occur in root clauses and conclude that (for speakers who produce such structures), that can lexicalise any head on the periphery of a finite clause which is licensed by a superordinate constituent. I briefly explore possible psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic factors which may have shaped complementiser use. Keywords: broadcast English; cartographic analysis; complementisers; root clause complementisers; wh-clauses
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