Constraints on the distribution of subject contact causes

Bolton, Pauline (2005) Constraints on the distribution of subject contact causes. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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Relative Clauses without who or that where the relativized element is the subject (there '5 a girl wants to see you, I have a cousin lives there, he 's not the sort of man would do that) isa construction often noted for having a very limited distribution. This work considers the use of the construction, which is commonly referred to as the Subject Contact Clause, in Present Day English.
The construction is closely associated with a limited number of sentence types: in particular, there and have existentials, it-cleft clauses and equative copular constructions. Consequently, in previous work the emphasis has been on identifring a
class of sentences that permit the Subject Contact Clause and either (1) discussing the grammatical peculiarities that mark these environments as distinct or (2) discussing the sentence types in terms of a shared discoursal function. In arguing a wider distribution, Doherty (1993) is the first to challenge these accounts. In additional to the core environments listed above, it is observed that the construction is also permissible in the case of NPs headed by a universal quantifier or by 'free-choice any' and also in 'intensional contexts'. From this new evidence Doherty oilers an account based on semantic non-referentiality.
This thesis examines a corpus composed of examples from naturally occurring conversation, from previous literature and based on introspective judgements and, from this, provides evidence that distribution is wider still than the account advanced by Doherty. Rejecting an approach based upon sentence types, it is proposed in this work that the construction is subject to a constraint that is discourse-semantic in nature. It is argued, therefore, that the construction should be associated with particular discourse contexts and discourse conditions rather than with particular sentential environments.
As an overarching claim the work states that the grammar of the SCC construction cannot truly be understood or defined without reference to discoursesemantic information.

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