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Constructions at WorkThe Nature of Generalization in Language$
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Adele Goldberg

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199268511

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199268511.001.0001

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Grammatical categorization: Subject–Auxiliary Inversion 1

Grammatical categorization: Subject–Auxiliary Inversion 1

(p.166) 8 Grammatical categorization: Subject–Auxiliary Inversion1
Constructions at Work

Adele Goldberg (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

A recognition of general properties of categorization can be used to illuminate the functional underpinnings of aspects of grammar that appear at first to be arbitrary syntactic facts. One such case, that of Subject-Auxiliary Inversion (SAI) is investigated in this chapter which builds on previous accounts that have offered insightful generalizations about the function of SAI constructions. It is argued that a case that is apparently somewhat exceptional — that of exclamatives — is actually strongly motivated as well. Formal restrictions on SAI are addressed and accounted for by a functional account. The implication of this work is that synchronic functional motivations often lurk behind seemingly syntactic brute facts, and can be used to explain many aspects of grammar that appear otherwise to be wholly idiosyncratic.

Keywords:   SAI constructions, prototypes, autonomous syntax, exclamatives, synchronic functional motivations

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