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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."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

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: Left-Edge Deletion in English and Subject Omission in Diaries
Author: Andrew Weir
Institution: University of Massachusetts
Linguistic Field: Phonology; Syntax
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This article discusses deletion in spoken and written English. It notes that subjects are frequently dropped both in informal spoken English (Napoli 1982; Zwicky & Pullum 1983b) and in certain registers of written English such as diaries (Haegeman 1990, 1997, 2007; Haegeman & Ihsane 1999, 2001). The article argues in favour of Napoli's phonological analysis of left-edge deletion in spoken English, and provides a formalisation of Napoli's account in the framework of Selkirk's (1995, 2001, 2011) optimality-theoretic analysis of syntax–phonology mapping. A comparison is drawn with the case of subject drop in the diary register. Due to the difference in surface distribution of the phenomenon between the spoken and written cases, the analysis cannot transfer directly. However, I suggest that, combined with arguments made by Haegeman (2002) for a sentence-medial position for modifiers in written English, the phonological analysis can account for a large subset of the diary drop cases.


This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 16, Issue 1.

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