Towards the copular status of clefts—Evidence from diachrony
David Jin, Jun Chen
May 2022

This paper draws attention to a robust grammatical change trajectory, here dubbed the copula-to-cleft pathway. We show that the emergence of the copular clause construction tends to lead to the emergence of the cleft construction, and the decline of one tends to be in tandem with the other. We further propose that the above pattern follows from a syntactic treatment that derives the cleft structure from a copular clause. Such copular syntax can be further combined with a semantic analysis where the focus interpretation of clefts is computed based on a copular structure.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/006598
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Acta Linguistica Academica
keywords: cleft sentence, identificational focus, copula, syntactic change, semantics, syntax
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