Article published in:Corpus Interrogation and Grammatical Patterns
Edited by Kristin Davidse, Caroline Gentens, Lobke Ghesquière and Lieven Vandelanotte
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 63] 2014
► pp. 173–205
The case of focus
This article investigates the distribution of pronoun case forms (PCFs) in it-clefts and it BE-sentences in British and American English. Its particular interest is the occurrence of subject PCFs in these two constructions. Functional and pragmatic factors exerting an influence on the distribution are identified, such as first vs. third person, singular vs plural. All these factors are operationalized and quantified in the datasets. The findings confirm the hypothesis that subject PCFs have been re-functionalised as Focus markers in the two varieties examined. As the explanation of this refunctionalization, markedness reversal is put forward.
Published online: 14 November 2014
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