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Zero subject relative constructions in American and British English

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Chapter Summary

This large-scale corpus study documents the use of zero subject relative constructions in spoken American and British English. For this purpose, it makes extensive use of automated retrieval strategies. It shows that zero subject relatives are still present in spoken American and British English, as represented in the British National Corpus and the Longman Spoken American Corpus. Moreover, there is a sharp difference between American English with 2.5% and British English with 13% of subject relatives with zero relativizer. Although zero subject relative constructions are frequently found with existentials and it–clefts they are by no means limited to these constructions. The social variables of the study (most notably age) come from speaker annotation which is used to provide the apparent time dimension.



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