Virtual Performatives in English – The Outlines of a Syntactic Analysis
Tamás Halm
June 2021
 

This paper presents a syntactic analysis of the so-called virtual performative construction in English (also known as the bounding asterisk construction: e.g. *jumps in excitement*, *sings myself happy birthday*). I argue that virtual performatives are full, non-truncated clauses, and their special behaviour is due to two factors: i) their subjects are first person singular personal pronouns modified by an adjectival temporal expression and ii) they are unspecified for tense. These two factors conspire and lead to the unique characteristics of the construction: the silent subject and the split agreement phenomena. In order to model virtual performatives, I also conducted an analysis of the syntax of adjectivally modified personal pronouns.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/006012
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: manuscript
keywords: virtual performatives, bounding asterisks, truncated clauses, modified pronouns, semantics, syntax
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