ERIC Number: ED208366
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Sep
Reference Count: 0
Colloquial and Literary Uses of Inversions. Technical Report No. 217.
Green, Georgia M.
Inversion constructions (declarative sentence constructions in which the subject follows part or all of its verb phrase) are distributed over the whole range of spoken and written language, not along the spoken-written dimension but along a colloquial-literary dimension. Some of these inversions are colloquial or literary for functional reasons, some for reasons having to do with the properties of their component parts, and some are just conventionally colloquial or literary, to be learned like the conventions of capitalizing certain letters and writing from left to right. The various types of inversions have been examined and classified into the following areas: (1) positively literary inversions, such as "said Mary,""such is the case," and "be it resolved"; (2) perfectly colloquial inversions, such as "here comes John,""was he mad," and "so do I"; and (3) the larger set of inversions that, while characteristic of either literary writing or conversational speech, may also be found in literary speech or colloquial writing, respectively. The analysis of these types of inversions has implications for a general theory of linguistic competence, indicating both the presence of these inversions and their appropriate use. (Several examples are offered of each type of inversion, with a concluding section explaining the nature of their classification.) (RL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana. Center for the Study of Reading.; Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc., Cambridge, MA.