semantics and pragmatics of to-contraction

Dan Everett Dan.Everett at MAN.AC.UK
Sat Aug 4 00:26:26 UTC 2001


Re: semantics and pragmatics of to-contractionThe idea of frequency, social preferences/development, and semantic-form combinations developing to account for the different contraction possibilities sounds quite plausible, Spike. HPSG in fact treats some of these as separate words. Moreover, the observation I made that the deontic sense of 'gotta' sounds ungrammatical without contraction supports the idea that this is a single word now (as Paul Postal pointed out, it is a 'raising' verb, as in 'There's gotta be a way out of here' uses). 

  The failure to contract across a 'trace', moreover, can follow in RRG either for pragmatic reasons, as I suggested or, alternatively, because these are different kinds of what RRG calls 'nexus' relations. In 'Who do you want to see' we have 'cosubordination' and in 'Who do you want to see Bill' subordination, as Bob VanValin reminded me.

  Whatever the final answer it seems much more plausible that it will come from semantics and pragmatics than tree structure.

  Dan
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