Copular clauses in English and in Czech – a comparative corpus-based approach


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Copular clauses, i.e. clauses with a verbo-nominal predicate comprising a copular verb and a subject complement, are used in both English and Czech to ascribe a quality, property or value to the subject. While both languages make use of copular verbs be and become (být, stát se, respectively, in Czech), the repertoire of copular verbs is much broader in English, making it possible to distinguish between various types of attribution (e.g., verbs of ‘seeming’, attribution based on perception, verbs of ‘remaining’ etc.). The question then arises of what means are employed in Czech to express such ‘modified attribution’ and, on the other hand, what the constructions used in Czech can suggest of the meaning of the respective copular verbs in English.
The paper is based on the material drawn from a parallel translation corpus of Czech and English fiction texts. We hope it will therefore also illustrate some ways in which multilingual corpora can be employed in contrastive research.


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