Irregular Sentences in Colloquial English

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This article deals with the syntax of informal spoken English, a rather broad field which had to be narrowed substantially for the purposes of our study. The syntactic structure of colloquial English comprises 1. a. syntactically regular sentences identical with those found in the neutral sphere of the language, and b, elliptical structures derived from them according to language specific rules operating in a sphere wider than that of informal spoken language; 2, irregular sentences occurring only in this domain, constituting about 25 to 35 % of the informal dialogue (cf. Bowman, 1966: 37). Taking as the starting point the description of irregular sentences and nonsentences in A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (CGEL,1985) and Dušková's article "An Attempt at a Classification of Irregular Sentences and Nonsentences" (Dušková, 1991), we have concentrated merely on the irregularities of nonelliptica1 sentence structure encountered in colloquial English represented here by the texts of 23 contemporary British theatre and radio plays.


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