Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

On subject It-extrapositions: evidence from present-day English

María Ángeles Gómez González



This paper reports some results from a bigger project analysing the relevance of Theme, i.e. clause initial position, in Present-day English (PresE). Our aim is to explore the formal features, the communicative properties and the frequencies of one thematic device, It-extrapositions of the type It is strange that the duke gave my aunt that teapot, in the Lancaster Spoken English Corpus (henceforth LSEC). 105 tokens of these constructions were studied, which represented 2.6% of the overall Themes in LSEC. It is argued that the use of It-extrapositions obeys three different, though interrelated, phenomena: (i) the principle of End Weight; (ii) the Given-Before- New principle; and (iii) Theme. As a conclusion, it is suggested that the raison d'être of this device is to act in two capacities: (1) an objective one, expressing an 'objectified', or depersonalised, modality or modulation, and (2) a subjective one, infusing the speaker's angle, or point of view, with thematic highlighting.


It; Sujeto; Extraposición; Orden de palabras; Función discursiva; Lengua inglesa


Copyright (c) 1997 María Ángeles Gómez González

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