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The clausal complementation of <i>good</i> in extraposition constructions

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Abstract

This article develops a functional synchronicLdiachronic description of the clausal complement patterns found with <i>good</i> in extraposition constructions (ECs), and compares these to the patterns found with other deontic-evaluative adjectives, such as <i>appropriate</i>, <i>important</i> and <i>fitting</i>. The adjectives studied can currently take either mandative complements expressing desired action, or propositional complements describing arguable claims. <i>Good</i> differs from adjectives such as <i>appropriate</i> and <i>important</i> in that it currently favours propositional <i>toLclauses</i>. More specifically, I will argue that it occurs in two types of partially filled constructions in the sense of Goldberg (1995) featuring such complements, viz. the locative pattern and the knowledge/acquisition of knowledge (KAK) pattern. The diachronic data will reveal that <i>good</i> started to prefer propositional <i>to</i>Lclauses only recently, amongst others through the emergence of the KAK pattern in Late Modern English and its subsequent rise in frequency. In addition, the presentLday occurrence of purely evaluative adjectives like <i>nice</i> and <i>great</i> in the locative and KAK constructions suggests that analogy with this class of adjectives may have played a role as well.

References

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