English inversions as constructional alloforms

Betty Birner

Abstract


This paper analyzes English inversion as an 'alloform' (Birner 2013) of both preposing and postposing. Birner 1996b analyzes inversion as subject to a negative constraint, disallowing new before old information. The need for this constraint vanishes, however, if inversion is viewed as being an alloform of preposing in cases where the preposed information is discourse-old, and an alloform of postposing in cases where the postposed information is discourse-new. Cases that satisfy both constraints are ambiguous between preposing and postposing, the infelicity of cases that satisfy neither constraint falls out automatically, and additional properties of inversion are readily explained.

Keywords


inversion; preposing; postposing; information structure; alloforms

Full Text:

PDF


DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v1i0.3718

Copyright (c) 2016 Betty Birner

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Donate to the Open-Access Fund of the LSA

Linguistic Society of America


Advancing the Scientific Study of Language since 1924

ISSN (online): 2473-8689

This publication is made available for free to readers and with no charge to authors thanks in part to your continuing LSA membership and your donations to the open access fund.