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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

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By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Verbal Complex Phenomena in West Central German: Empirical Domain and Multi-Causal Account
Author: Shannon A Dubenion-Smith
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Western Washington University
Linguistic Field: Syntax
Abstract: This paper is a synchronic investigation of verbal complex phenomena in the West Central German dialects. The types of verbal complexes attested in 187 recordings of West Central German from the Zwirner Corpus are first classified and analyzed. A GoldVarb analysis reveals that in subordinate clause two-verb complexes, the factor groups syntagm and verbal prefix type have statistically significant effects on word order, while in main clause two-verb complexes the factor groups syntagm, verbal prefix type, and a grammatical correlate to focus have statistically significant effects. Taking as a point of departure Lötscher 1978 and Sapp 2007, a multi-causal account of verbal complex pheno-mena involving grammatical, functional, and performance factors is developed, with a close examination of the role of language processing in verbal complex formation. Following Hawkins' (1994, 2004) notions of Early Immediate Constituents and Minimize Domains, it is argued that the type of verbal complex known as Verb Projection Raising can be linked in part to an advantage in language production. The paper concludes with a discussion of the speaker-hearer dichotomy as it relates to German clausal structure and the role of interfaces in the analysis of verbal complexes.


This article appears IN Journal of Germanic Linguistics Vol. 22, Issue 2.

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