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The <i>X is</i> (<i>is</i>) construction

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Abstract

The aim of this chapter is to propose a Functional Discourse Grammar analysis of constructions of the form (<i>the</i>) &#123;<i>thing/point/fact etc.</i>&#125;<i> is </i>(<i>is</i>) (<i>that</i>) that reflects both the semi-fixed nature of these constructions and their specific discourse-pragmatic functions. First, it is argued that the sequence (<i>the</i>) &#123;<i>thing/X</i>&#125;<i> is </i>(<i>is</i>) (<i>that</i>) functions as a pragmatic-rhetorical marker in a presentative (non-specificational) construction. On the basis of authentic data, it is further argued that, in terms of form and function, there is no reason to assume that <i>the thing is</i> construction differs significantly from constructions with other head nouns, nor from constructions with double <i>is</i>. Finally, a Functional Discourse Grammar analysis of these constructions is proposed which fully exploits the model&#8217;s different levels of representation, as well as the presence of different kinds of primitives (lexemes, operators, frames, templates). In addition, a new feature will be introduced, that of the semi-fixed (morphosyntactic or phonological) template, to deal with the dual, semi-fixed nature of <i>thing is/X is</i> constructions.

References

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