Masatoshi Konno Tohoku University “Inverted reporting verbs in the sentence-initial position in English: Focus on phrasal verbs.”

ABSTRACT

This paper examines several properties of quotative inversion in English, restricting reporting verbs to phrasal verbs. Contrary to the observations of a number of previous studies, data collected from natural occurrences show that subject-verb inversion in reporting clauses applies to phrasal verbs. In this paper, two points of investigation are identified by reviewing the literature on quotative inversion in the initial position: the validity of the relationships (i) between quotative inversion in the initial position and Time magazine writing style, or ‚Timestyle’ (Ikeda 1992: 270, 390), and (ii) between quotative inversion and the discourse status (newness) and structural complexity (heaviness) of postverbal noun phrases. The relationship between quotative inversion in the initial position and Time writing style is then verified using the Time Magazine Corpus. The verb-subject order in reporting clauses that use phrasal verbs with in, out, and up is also shown to be compatible with the principles of information flow and end-weight. Finally, this paper suggests three possible functions of quotative inversion in the initial position: “discourse function”, “summing-up function”, and “dialogic function”.

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