English Sentence Patterns: Writing to Speech?
jeroen at WIEDENHOF.NL
Thu Jun 12 11:13:32 UTC 2014
- Apologies for any cross-posting!
I am looking for an example of (preferably recent) linguistic change in
(a) has developed (or is developing) in the direction from written
English to spoken English; and which
(b) is syntactic in nature, i.e. involves a productive construction or
To clarify: (a) is in contrast with the usual state of affairs, where
script and written language trail behind developments in the way people
talk; and (b) is intended as a contrast with a lexical item or an
Some background: I am preparing an English text about this type of
writing-to-speech development in Mandarin. I can think of parallels in
my native Dutch, but I would like to make a comparison with English.
Also, any reference to publications which I need to explore are most
The phenomenon of "headlinese" has been suggested to me, but the chance
of finding native speakers of English who use this in spoken
communication seems slim.
The closest example I can think is one way of announcing headlines in
- Coming up in this bulletin: the hero student who stopped a gunman.
- Still to come: the Brazilian love of hair care.
- Later in this program: can netball shake off its schoolgirl image?
As one possible analysis, these examples have a subject in
sentence-final position, after a prosodic break at the place of the colon.
However, these are still cases of a news script being read out aloud.
What I am looking for instead is a sentence pattern which started out as
an innovation in written English (e.g. initially as "translatese"), but
which has since been adopted productively in spontaneous speech.
Thank you for any suggestions!
Universiteit Leiden, LIAS / LUCL
jeroen at wiedenhof.nl
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