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Full-verb Inversion in Written and Spoken English

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José Carlos Prado Alonso

This book presents a comprehensive corpus-based analysis of full-verb inversion in present-day English. The author examines the distribution and pragmatic functions of full-verb inversion in different fictional and non-fictional text styles as well as in the spoken language. Surprisingly enough, inversion in oral communication has not yet received the attention it deserves, since most work on the topic has been restricted to the written language. It has often been claimed that full-verb inversion occurs mainly in written discourse, but these claims have not yet been backed up by a detailed corpus-based analysis. This book provides a more conclusive picture of the distribution of full inversion in speech and writing and analyses the distinct pragmatic functions that the construction serves in these two modes of communication.

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Table of Contents - 7

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7Table of Contents Acknowledgements ........................................................................ 11 Introduction ....................................................................................13 1. Full-verb Inversion in Present-day English: A Preliminary Account ............................................................17 1.1 Definition ................................................................................18 1.2 Types of inversion excluded from the analysis ......................19 1.2.1 Subject-operator inversion .............................................19 1.2.2 Inversion in conditional clauses and formulaic expressions ...................................................21 1.2.3 Inversion in interrogative and exclamative clauses .......22 1.2.4 Additional types of inversion excluded .........................23 1.2.5 Quotation or journalistic style inversion .......................23 1.3 A classification of full inversion based on formal criteria .........................................................................25 1.4 Some structural patterns related to full inversion ...................34 1.4.1 Existential-‘there’ ..........................................................35 1.4.2 Preposing .......................................................................39 1.4.3 Left-dislocation .............................................................41 1.4.4 Equatives .......................................................................43 2. Research on Full Inversion .....................................................47 2.1 Syntactic accounts ...................................................................49 2.2 Functional accounts ................................................................52 2.2.1 The textual or discourse-related account ......................53 2.2.2 The information-packaging account .............................61 2.3 Point of view and focus management: Dorgeloh (1997) ......................................................................70 82.4 Syntactic complexity and information status: Kreyer (2006) ..........................................................................76 2.5 Full inversion as a ground-before-figure construction: Chen (2003) ............................................................................90 2.6 Summary and conclusions ....................................................104 3. Survey of the Corpora ...........................................................109 3.1 The written corpora: FLOB and FROWN ............................109 3.2 The spoken corpora: ICE-GB and CSPAE ........................... 114 3.3 Database design: sampling the corpus ..................................120 3.3.1 Sampling the written data ...........................................121 3.3.2 Sampling the spoken data ...........................................128 3.4 Methodology: manual vs. automated searching systems .....130 3.4.1 Automated search strategies: ICE-GB and ICECUP 3.0 .........................................................131 3.4.2 The retrieval of full inversions on the basis of a parsed corpus .......................................................132 4. Full-verb Inversion in Present-day Written and Spoken English ...............................................................135 4.1 Full inversion in present-day written English: obligatory and non-obligatory uses...

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