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Query Details

Query Subject:   Use of 'what it is is'
Author:   Emma Pavey
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Discourse Analysis
Subject Language(s):  English

Query:   I?m interested in the use of ?what it is is? (and variations) as a fixed expression used as a discourse marker/floor-holding device, as in the following examples. (1) Q: Tell me about the women's group that you've started. A: I just started a group on campus when I got back from Italy. Right now it's called the Women's Group. Basically what it is, is I was tired of the things that happen to women being shushed. (http://flathat.wm.edu/November222002/thatperson.shtml) (2) S: ... isn't the Bush policy a continuation of the Clinton administration's policy vis- a-vis Iraq? B: No, what it is is it's jacking it up on steroids and taking us into a war that I think we can win without putting our troops in harm's way. (http://cgi.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0303/14/cf.00.html) I?m also hearing single ?is? versions (in the south-east of England) such as (3) (3) What it is, I changed my migraine medication. It seems to me there must be some type of mutual influence/sanctioning between these (1-3) and ?double copula? constructions (and possibly their single ?is? counterparts) ?The thing/problem is (is)? etc. which have been discussed before on this list. I?m particularly interested to know if the use in examples such as in (1-3) occur in other varieties of English, particular new Englishes, and to know of any studies on this particular use. Thanks; I will post a summary Emma Pavey Dr Emma Pavey elpavey1@hotmail.com
LL Issue: 16.80
Date posted: 13-Jan-2005


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