Syntactic variation and auxiliary contraction: the surprising case of Scots

Thoms, G., Adger, D., Heycock, C. and Smith, J. (2019) Syntactic variation and auxiliary contraction: the surprising case of Scots. Language, 95(3), pp. 421-455. (doi: 10.1353/lan.0.0236)

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This article is concerned with the distribution of contracted auxiliaries in English, in particular the re- striction against their occurrence in the immediate context of a gap created by movement or ellipsis. We document apparent exceptions to this restriction in varieties of Scots, all occurring in what we call the LOCATIVE DISCOVERY EXPRESSION. We analyse these as mirative constructions, and using new data from the Scots Syntax Atlas we describe patterns of variation in the acceptance of auxiliary contractions in locative discovery expressions which provide clues as to the role of syntax in conditioning auxiliary contraction. Adapting the proposal in Wilder (1997), where contracted auxiliaries are prosodically incorporated into the following predicate, we provide an account in which the differences across dialects with respect to contraction are explained in terms of the availability of different abstract structures.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Smith, Professor Jennifer and Thoms, Dr Gary
Authors: Thoms, G., Adger, D., Heycock, C., and Smith, J.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Journal Name:Language
Publisher:Linguistic Society of America
ISSN (Online):1535-0665
Published Online:07 August 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Language 95(3): 421-455
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
665501The Scots Syntactic AtlasJennifer SmithArts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)AH/M005550/1CRIT - ENGLISH LANGUAGE & LINGUISTICS