Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!


Voice Quality

By John H. Esling, Scott R. Moisik, Allison Benner, Lise Crevier-Buchman

Voice Quality "The first description of voice quality production in forty years, this book provides a new framework for its study: The Laryngeal Articulator Model. Informed by instrumental examinations of the laryngeal articulatory mechanism, it revises our understanding of articulatory postures to explain the actions, vibrations and resonances generated in the epilarynx and pharynx."

New from Oxford University Press!


Let's Talk

By David Crystal

Let's Talk "Explores the factors that motivate so many different kinds of talk and reveals the rules we use unconsciously, even in the most routine exchanges of everyday conversation."

E-mail this page 1

We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at***

Dissertation Information

Title: The English It-Cleft Construction: A role and reference grammar analysis Add Dissertation
Author: Emma Pavey Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Sussex, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2004
Linguistic Subfield(s): Pragmatics; Semantics; Syntax;
Subject Language(s): English
Director(s): Melanie Green

Abstract: This dissertation gives a detailed examination of the it-cleft construction in English and proposes an analysis within a Role and Reference Grammar framework that links the syntactic, semantic and pragmatic characteristics of the construction. I argue that the specificational it-cleft construction, a bi-clausal syntactic structure with a largely unambiguous focus structure, can only be understood through examining the interaction of syntax, semantics and information structure that it entails. The non-derivational, integrated approach offered through Role and Reference Grammar provides a way of explaining and describing familial similarities between it-cleft constructions and other constructions without complex derivational processes. The analysis therefore enables a close and revealing comparison between the it-cleft and other cleft constructions (such as there-clefts and pseudoclefts), other copular sentences, and relative clause constructions.

The first four chapters of the dissertation constitute the foundational basis for the analytical chapters that follow. Chapter 2 provides a detailed description of key features of the it-cleft construction as a type of cleft construction and as a type of specificational copular construction. Chapter 3 critically examines current literature and previous studies concerning the it-cleft construction from a variety of theoretical perspectives and highlights key issues that arise. Chapter 4 gives an overview of all aspects of Role and Reference Grammar theory. Chapter 5 discusses the nature and function of the constituents of the it-cleft construction and the interaction between them in detail. This is done from a theory-neutral perspective, offering new insights into the characterization of these features, particularly in terms of the issues
that arise from the literature review. The it-cleft is analysed alongside other specificational constructions and relative clause constructions. These insights are then framed in Role and Reference Grammar terms in chapter 6, the analysis providing a clear and explanatory account of the construction. I also return to issues such as reflexivisation and the interaction of negation and information structure. Finally, chapter 7 contains a brief discussion on approaches to cross-linguistic comparison of the it-cleft construction.