Irregularities of Sentence Structure in Contemporary Colloquial English

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The paper attempts to describe and classify the irregular sentences characteristic of present-day colloquial English . Only those structures satisfying the following criteria of sentence status have been considered: the criterion of complete intonation contour (reflected in punctuation in written texts) has been adopted for distinguishing the sentence with respect to higher units. The criterion of identifiability of the predicative function in the sentence is used to differentiate it from lower units, from denomination. Both parcels, e.g. He wants me to go down to see him. In London. To fix things up., and sentence fragments, aposiopeses, such as e.g. Where is my, are you reading my pamphlet?, were excluded from the description on the basis of the above criteria.
The syntactic structure of colloquial English comprises two large groups of sentences: first, syntactically regular sentences identical with those found in the neutral sphere of the language, and "regularly incomplete" sentences - i.e. elliptical structures derived from the regular sentences. The second group consists of irregular sentences occurring only in the domain of colloquial English. According to Bowman the irregular sentences constitute about 25 to 35% of the informal dialogue (cf. Bowman, 1966).


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