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Left-dislocated strings in Modern English epistolary prose

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Abstract

This paper investigates the formal and functional features of strings that include both a left-dislocated constituent and a coreferring resumptive in the subsequent clause in Modern English letters and diaries. Such left-dislocated strings embody, to differing degrees, the reportedly speech-like and informal contemporary Left Dislocation construction. The data was analyzed according to a range of factors relating to the inner configuration of such strings (complexity, information status, animacy, resumption, continuity, etc.) and examined by means of a range of statistical tests such as linear regression. The results provide a clear and broad picture of (a) their overall usage profile in comparison with contemporary spoken Left Dislocation, (b) the processing constraints at work within them, and (c) their unlikely status as prospective markers of orality in Modern English epistolary prose.

References

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