‘Adjective + whether/if-clause’ constructions in English. An exploratory corpus-based study: Juan Santana-Lario
‘Adjective + whether/if-clause’ constructions in English. An exploratory corpus-based study1
This paper presents an exploratory corpus-based study of the syntactic constructions associated with the ‘adjective + whether/if-clause’ pattern in English including some lexico-grammatical associations of the pattern such as the lexical sets of adjectives most frequently attracted by it, the negative or non-assertive contexts in which it occurs and the explicit or implicit expression of polarity and alternatives. The aim is two-fold: the first aim is to document the uses of whether/if-clauses in construction with adjectives, which have received comparatively less attention than their use in verbal complementation or as conditional adverbials. The second aim is to portray the ‘adjective + whether/if-clause’ pattern as an illustration of “lexical grammar” (Sinclair 2000), that is, of the inseparability of lexis and grammar. It is suggested that some of the notions developed within current corpus-oriented approaches to account for the lexis-grammar interface (“semantic colligation” (Gabriellatos 2007), ‘collostructional analysis’ (Stefanowitsch/Gries 2003)) should take a step forward in order to accommodate the intricate interactions of grammatical structures, such as the ‘adjective + whether/if-clause’ constructions, with complex combinations of specific lexical classes and more abstract categories such as polarity or negation.