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[The Syntax of Emphasis — A Base Camp, The Syntax of Emphasis — A Base Camp]

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Abstract

This paper attempts a survey of the major emphatic constructions in English, and of the processes which derive them from a proposed <b>bisentential source</b>. The source for a garden-variety <b>pseudocleft</b> sentence like <i> What Jeb hankers for is <u>a smooth transition</u> is argued to be What Jeb hankers for is <del>he hankers for</del> a smooth transition</i> – the rule of <u>Pseudocleft Formation</u>, which is optional for some speakers, deletes the redundant struck-through elements. Whether this ellipsis has occurred or not, a rule of <u>Copula Switch</u> can apply to transform the post-copular constituent into the subject of the resulting sentence: <i><del>He hankers for</del> a smooth transition is what Jeb hankers for</i>. Copula-switched or not, and deleted or not, the subjects of all such pseudoclefts can be <u>Deictic Dislocated</u>, freely to the left, less so to the right. The <b>returning pronouns</b> which emerge in the course of these operations are the demonstratives that and this. Some examples of the resultant structures are: <i>What Jeb hankers for- [that / this] is (? <del>he hankers for</del> <u>a smooth transition</u>); *[That /This] is (** <del>he hankers for</del></i> <i><u>a smooth transition</u>) - what Jeb hankers for; <del>He hankers for</del> <u>a smooth transition</u> - [that/ &#62; this] is what Jeb hankers for; [This / &#62;?That] is what Jeb hankers for - <del>he hankers for</del> <u>a smooth transition</u></i>. Akmajian's motion to derive <b>cleft</b> sentences from pseudoclefts is seconded, and it is argued that <u>Deictic Dislocation</u> can provide some evidence for the correctness of such an analysis, in the face of apparent counterexamples to it. Thus, since <i>What Tony regretted was [the pizza / that Mildred loved Baryshnikov]</i> are both grammatical, we would expect both <b>clefts</b> to be. But: <i>It was [the pizza / *that Mildred loved Baryshnikov] that Tony regretted</i>. However, left-dislocating both foci yields two good clauses: [<i>The pizza / That Mildred loved Baryshnikov</i>] – <i>it was <u>that</u> that Tony regretted</i>. Thus we conclude that the ungrammaticality of the <b>clefted</b> <i>that</i>-clause is merely due to a violation of a surface filter.

References

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