Textual dynamism as a heuristic for a delicate semantic description of ellipsis patterns

Benjamin Peter Clarke

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This paper puts the case that viewing text dynamically can be valuable in the practice of semantic description. Using, as its case study, the statistically significant occurrence of Subject ellipsis across consecutive clauses in a corpus of newspaper football reports, the paper demonstrates a systematic difference between the lexicogrammatical characteristics of clauses containing such patterned use of ellipsis and the clauses of their surrounding co-text. The lexicogrammatical features in question, which are analysed in detail in the paper, are: clause length in words, number of clause elements, amount of syntactic embedding and patterns in Hallidayan transitivity process-types. Given the nature of these lexicogrammatical features, the argument is made that Subject ellipsis across consecutive clauses can iconically express an increase in pace – something only observable when the text is viewed dynamically.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-114
Number of pages19
JournalEnglish Text Construction
Issue number1
Early online date20 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • Subject ellipsis
  • textual pace
  • textual dynamism
  • semantic description
  • lexicogrammatical features


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