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Adjectives complemented by that- and to-clauses: Exploring semantico-syntactic relationships and genre variation
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of English.
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Description
Abstract [en]

The present compilation thesis investigates adjectives complemented by that- and to-clauses. More specifically, the thesis is concerned with extraposed (e.g. it is likely that she will win and it is important to win) and post-predicate clauses (e.g. I’m sure that he’s alive and I’m glad to see you). The thesis is most fundamentally concerned with the study of linguistic variation. Thus the aim of the thesis is to explain why a certain construction is used in a given context.

The data used in the studies comes from the British National Corpus (BNC). Study I proposes a semi-automated approach to variable patterns in corpus data. The study describes the creation of a computer program which has been designed to facilitate the extraction and coding of corpus data. In Study II, extraposed and post-predicate that- and to-clauses are contrasted in terms of their variation across genres, their lexical diversity and the meanings expressed by the adjectives most frequently found in each construction. Study III tests the applicability of the Complexity Principle and the Uniform Information Density Principle on adjectival data, by examining the variation between retaining and omitting the complementizer that across extraposed and post-predicate clauses. Study IV tests whether the syntactic status of I’m sure is similar to that of I think, i.e. whether it exhibits the same signs of grammaticalization.

The results show that extraposed and post-predicate that-clauses are associated with similar meanings but differ in most other respects. Compared to post-predicate that-clauses, extraposed that-clauses are more frequent in formal genres, they are found with fewer instances of that-omission, and they are found to be more frequently represented in cognitively complex environments. Similarly, the results also show that extraposed and post-predicate to-clauses are associated with similar meanings, but differ in terms of their genre distribution. Instead, in terms of meaning, extraposed that- and to-clauses on the one hand, and post-predicate that- and to-clauses on the other, are similar to each other. The thesis highlights the importance of studying adjectival complementation in its own right, and not to treat it as subordinate to, or part of, verbal complementation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of English , 2017. , p. 76
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
English
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-313799ISBN: 978-91-506-2618-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-313799DiVA, id: diva2:1068484
Public defence
2017-03-17, Ihresalen, Thunbergsvägen 3, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-02-24 Created: 2017-01-24 Last updated: 2018-01-13
List of papers
1. The computer as research assistant: A new approach to variable patterns in corpus data
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The computer as research assistant: A new approach to variable patterns in corpus data
2014 (English)In: Recent advances in corpus linguistics: Developing and exploiting corpora / [ed] Lieven Vandelanotte, Kristin Davidse, Caroline Gentens & Ditte Kimps, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2014, p. 55-80Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This article advocates a particular type of semi-automated approach to working with corpus data termed “shared evaluation”, the central idea of which is that the computer takes over more of the work of sorting and classifying the data, while a subsequent pass by a human coder ensures the ultimate accuracy of the data selection and classification. The article begins with a discussion of the traditional approach to corpus data and the tools that are currently available. It then describes the shared evaluation approach and compares this to a typical concordancer-based approach. The article goes on to present SVEP, a computer program developed by the authors to implement this approach and offered freely to other researchers, describing the most significant aspects of the program and its use. A case study involving adjective complementation is then presented, including examples of how SVEP was used in the study and an evaluation of the accuracy the program achieved. The article ends with a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of SVEP in particular (and some ways the program might be improved) and of semi-automated approaches such as shared evaluation in general.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2014
Series
Language and Computers, ISSN 0921-5034 ; 78
Keywords
Corpus linguistics, corpus methodology
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
English
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-241079 (URN)9789042038714 (ISBN)
Available from: 2015-01-08 Created: 2015-01-08 Last updated: 2018-01-11
2. Adjectival complementation: Genre variation, lexical diversity, and meaning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Adjectival complementation: Genre variation, lexical diversity, and meaning
(English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-309956 (URN)
Available from: 2016-12-08 Created: 2016-12-08 Last updated: 2018-01-13
3. Variation across two dimensions: Testing the Complexity Principle and the Uniform Information Density Principle on adjectival data
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Variation across two dimensions: Testing the Complexity Principle and the Uniform Information Density Principle on adjectival data
2016 (English)In: English Language and Linguistics, ISSN 1360-6743, E-ISSN 1469-4379, Vol. 20, no 3, p. 533-558Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study tests the applicability of the Complexity Principle (Rohdenburg 1996) and the Uniform Information Density Principle (Jaeger 2010) on adjectival data as regards the variation between retaining and omitting the complementizer that in English adjectival complementation constructions. More specifically, the study tests the effect of different factors of potential importance on this variation across extraposed (e.g. It was inevitable (that) he should be nicknamed 'the Ferret') and post-predicate clauses (e.g. I'm happy (that) we are married). While both the factors concerned with the Complexity Principle and the Uniform Information Density Principle are found to have an effect on post-predicate clauses, less clear effects are found concerning extraposed clauses. I attribute these findings to the difference between the two constructions in terms of their frequency of co-occurrence with different matrix subject types and with different adjectives.

National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-309826 (URN)10.1017/S1360674316000344 (DOI)000387499100008 ()
Available from: 2016-12-07 Created: 2016-12-07 Last updated: 2018-01-13
4. On the syntactic status of I'm sure
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On the syntactic status of I'm sure
(English)In: Corpora, ISSN 1749-5032Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-309955 (URN)
Available from: 2016-12-08 Created: 2016-12-08 Last updated: 2018-01-13

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