In this introduction to the special issue “Pseudo-Clefts from a Comparative Pragmatic Typological Perspective”, we first discuss the current state of research on the use of pseudo-cleft-like structures in talk-in-interaction. We then compare their use in the six languages investigated in this special issue: French, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin and Swedish, focusing on both structural features and interactional aspects of pseudo-clefts, as they emerge in social interaction. While there have been some previous interactional linguistic studies of pseudo-clefts in a variety of languages, there has been no study systematically investigating this structure from a comparative and interactional cross-language perspective. Our introduction is thus motivated by the need to fill in this gap. Specifically, we compare the six languages with respect to syntactic and lexico-semantic variation, and with respect to prosodic and embodied features of pseudo-cleft turns. We argue that the findings point to universal interactional motivations for the grammatical properties of this structure, and that the analysis of pseudo-clefts occurring in natural, face-to-face interaction needs to pay close attention to two central dimensions of talk: temporality and embodiment.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by KU Leuven under grant C14/18/034. It is a contribution to the project Beyond the clause: Encoding and inference in clause combining, codirected by Bert Cornillie, Kristin Davidse, Elwys De Stefani and Jean-Christophe Verstraete (2018–2022).
Jan Lindström’s research was funded by the Academy of Finland in the project Emergent Clausal Syntax for Conversation: Swedish in a cross-language comparison, grant number 316865.
This research was generously supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grants No. 1233/16 and 941/20 to Yael Maschler).
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.
- Emergent complex syntax
- Interactional linguistics
- Projecting constructions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language