Forthcoming: Bridging constructions

Valérie Guérin  


Many descriptive grammars report the use of a linguistic pattern at the interface between discourse and syntax which is known generally as tail-head linkage. This volume takes an unprecedented look at this type of linkage across languages and shows that there exist three distinct variants, all subsumed under the hypernym bridging constructions. The chapters highlight the defining features of these constructions in the grammar and their functional properties in discourse. The volume reveals that:

  • Bridging constructions consist of two clauses: a reference clause and a bridging clause. Across languages, bridging clauses can be subordinated clauses, reduced main clauses, or main clauses with continuation prosody.
  • Bridging constructions have three variants: recapitulative linkage, summary linkage and mixed linkage. They differ in the formal makeup of the bridging clause.
  • In discourse, the functions that bridging constructions fulfil depend on the text genres in which they appear and their position in the text.
  • If a language uses more than one type of bridging construction, then each type has a distinct discourse function.
  • Bridging constructions can be optional and purely stylistic or mandatory and serve a grammatical purpose.
  • Although the difference between bridging constructions and clause repetition can be subtle, they maintain their own distinctive characteristics.
Valérie Guérin

Valérie Guérin obtained a PhD from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa in 2008 for her work on Mav̏ea, a moribund language of Vanuatu (published in 2011 by The University of Hawai'i Press).  In 2013-2016, she was a postdoctoral research associate at the Language and Culture Research Centre, James Cook University, under the Australian Laureate Fellowship awarded to Professor Aikhenvald. She is currently affiliated with the Language and Culture Research Centre as an adjunct fellow researcher.

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