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Is English resumption different in appositive relative clauses?

  • Sara S. Loss (a1) and Mark Wicklund (a2)


Resumptive pronouns are produced in English in unguarded speech in restrictive relative clauses and appositive relative clauses. However, numerous studies have found that resumptive pronouns in restrictive relative clauses are not acceptable. To our knowledge, no studies have examined the acceptability of resumptive pronouns in appositive relative clauses, despite hints in the literature that they may be more acceptable in appositive than in restrictive relative clauses. This article fills that gap. We found that resumptive pronouns were rated as more natural in appositive relative clauses than in restrictive relative clauses. These findings may be due to which currently undergoing a reanalysis from a relative pronoun to a solely connective word, as has been suggested in the literature. A small-scale corpus search also reveals that appositive relative clauses with resumptive pronouns are increasing in American English.

Dans le langage familier, les pronoms résomptifs se manifestent, en anglais, dans des clauses relatives restrictives et des clauses relatives appositives. Cependant, de nombreuses études ont révélé que les pronoms résomptifs dans les clauses relatives restrictives ne sont pas acceptables. À notre connaissance, aucune étude n'a examiné l'acceptabilité des pronoms résomptifs dans les clauses relatives appositives, bien que certains auteurs laissent entendre qu'ils sont plus acceptables dans les appositives que dans les restrictives. Le présent article comble cette lacune. Nous avons en effet constaté que les pronoms résomptifs sont perçus comme étant plus naturels dans les clauses relatives appositives que dans les restrictives. Ce phénomène pourrait s'expliquer si, comme le veulent certaines études, which est en voie de réanalyse, devenant un mot purement conjonctif au lieu d'un pronom relatif. Une recherche de corpus à petite échelle révèle également que les clauses relatives appositives avec pronom résomptif sont en croissance dans l'anglais américain.


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We would like to sincerely thank the anonymous reviewers for their very thoughtful and helpful comments on an earlier draft of this article. We would also like to thank Daniel Ezra Johnson for talking about statistics with us. Of course, all errors are our own.



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Is English resumption different in appositive relative clauses?

  • Sara S. Loss (a1) and Mark Wicklund (a2)


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