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Projectability and clause combining in interaction

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Abstract

We examine a set of supposedly “biclausal” constructions in natural conversations in English and German, and argue that: (1) these constructions are not biclausal, since the second “clause” is typically not a clause but an indeterminate stretch of discourse without a consistent syntactic structure; (2) the first “clause” functions to strongly project this upcoming discourse segment; (3) in certain of the allegedly biclausal constructions even the first part is not really a clause but is instead a fixed sequence with limited lexical choices. We suggest that these apparently “biclausal” constructions should be analyzed as single, partly formulaic clauses deployed by speakers in managing interactional discourse. This analysis accounts for a number of previously unnoticed restrictions on the grammatical and prosodic form the formulaic clauses take, as well as for their projective properties.

References

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