“Final hanging but” in American English

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Mulder and Thompson (2006, 2008) point out that the final hanging <i>but</i> ([X <i>but</i>]) developed from initial <i>but</i> (X [<i>but</i> Y]) through a sequence of formal reanalyses, and insightfully observe the functional and formal parallelism between the development of the hanging type of final <i>but</i> and the final particalization of the Japanese subordinator -<i>kedo</i>. The present article demonstrates that <i>but</i> (and <i>and</i> as well) can perform a terminal bracketing function and serve as functional subordinators in spoken American English, and that they behave like final particles when the sentences are truncated. Although they are not so final-particalized as Australian final <i>but</i>, their interpersonal functions in final position are edging them closer to the status of final particles in spoken American English.


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