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Selected Problems in English Linguistics

Class at Faculty of Arts |



* 1. Expressing Indefiniteness in English (Dušková)

An account of grammatical means serving to express indefinite reference (indefinite article, zero article, some) with respect to semantic differentiation and the function in functional sentence perspective.


Dušková, L. (1997), "Expressing Indefiniteness in English", Acta Universitatis Carolinae, Philologica 5, 1997, Prague Studies in English 22, 33-50.

A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language by R. Quirk, S. Greenbaum, G. Leech and J. Svartvik. London 1985 (CGEL), 5.26-59.

Cambridge Grammar of the English Language by R. Huddleston and G. J. Pullum, Cambridge University Press 2002 (Cambridge Grammar) 5.6.2, 8.4.

Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English by D. Biber et al., Longman 1999 (Longman Grammar) 4.4.1.

* 2. On Some Distinctions between British and Czech Grammatical Theory (Dušková)

A discussion of terminological faux amis, distinctions due to a different approach to identical language facts, distinctions due to partly different language facts, distinctions based on the existence of language-specific categories, absent in the other language; and differences in the treatment of the subordinate clause.


Dušková, L. (1999), Studies in the English Language, Karolinum-Charles University Press, Prague, Pt. 2, ch. 28., 29

CGEL ch. 14, 15, Cambridge Grammar ch. 11, Longman Grammar 3.10, 3.11.

* 3. A Contrastive View of Hypersyntax: Means of Textual Cohesion in English and Czech (Dušková)

A discussion of reference, substitution and ellipsis.


Dušková, L. (1999), Studies in the English Language, Karolinum-Charles University Press, Prague, Pt. 2, ch. 36.

Halliday, M. A. K. - Hasan, R. (1976), Cohesion in English, London.

CGEL, ch. 19.

* 4. English Prepositions (Klégr)

An extension of English word-class morphological description (1st cycle morphology seminar) providing a introduction to English prepositions: their definition, functions and features, formal and semantic classification with special regard to complex prepositions.


Quirk, R., et al. (1985), Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, (Chap. 9 Prepositions and prepositional phrases), Longman, London.

Huddleston, R., et al. (2002), Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. (Chap. 7 Prepositions and prepositional phrases), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 5. Sadness/smutek: a comparison of the verbal collocates (Klégr)

The paper presents an English-Czech contrastive analysis of the collocability of two cross-linguistic synonyms, sadness/smutek. By assigning their numerous collocates into a few semantic groups it manages to arrive at a coherent comparison of their collocational preferences and uncovers both a broad agreement and specific dissimilarities.


Heid U., 1994, On Ways Words Work Together - Topics in Lexical Combinatorics. In Euralex 1994 Proceedings, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 226-257.

Kilgarriff A., see (last modified 2002).

Stubbs, M. (2002) Words and Phrases. Corpus Studies of Lexical Semantics, Blackwell Publishing. 6. The British National Corpus (Malá)

The British National Corpus (BNC) is a 100 million word collection of samples of written and spoken language from a wide range of sources, designed to represent a wide cross-section of current British English, both spoken and written. In the lecture we shall explore some of the possibilities it offers as a means of verifying hypotheses about language or as a starting point of linguistic description.


British National Corpus World Edition, December 2000 Release (CD).

* 7. Participial Adverbial Clauses (Malá)

Participial clauses will be discussed as a means of complex condensation. We shall focus on the conditions which either favour or restrict the use of these clauses. These factors operate on several levels of the text, involving the adverbial clause itself (namely the form of the predicate, and the use of subordinators), the sentence (attachment, the semantic role of the adverbial clause, position), as well as the FSP function and pragmatic constraints.


Bäcklund, I. (1984), Conjunction-Headed Abbreviated Clauses in English, Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, Studia Anglistica Upsaliensia 50, Uppsala.

Dušková, L. (1969), "Some Remarks on the Syntax of the Ing-Form in Present-Day English", Philologica Pragensia 12, 94-99.

Kortmann, B. (1991), Free Adjuncts and Absolutes in English, Routledge, London.

Malá, M. (2004), "The Subject in Participial Adverbial Clauses", Linguistica Pragensia 14/2, Prague, 72-89.

* 8. Participial postmodifying clauses (Šaldová)

The lecture focuses on the participial forms in their postmodifying function, delimiting their syntactic and semantic properties in comparison with participles in other syntactic functions, such as adverbial function, and the finite forms of modification.


Quirk, R., et al. (1985), Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Longman.

Kortmann, B. (1991), Free Adjuncts and Absolutes in English, Routledge, London.

Vachek, J. (1955), "Some Thoughts on the So-called Complex Condensation in Modern English", Sborník prací filosofické fakulty brn?nské university A3, 63-7

* 9. Cohesion and register (Šaldová)

The presentation outlines some general characteristics of the news discourse using the concept of cohesion. It enquires whether there is a relation between cohesive devices and the ´top-down´ organization of news discourse, and whether there is a difference between texts in quality and tabloid newspapers in the cohesive devices they employ.


Halliday, M. A. K. and R. Hasan (1976, 1984), Cohesion in English. London: Longman.

Šaldová, P. (2002), "Cohesive Devices in Newswriting", Acta Universitatis Carolinae - Philologica 2, Prague Studies in English 23. Prague, 187-200. van Dijk, T. (1988), News as Discourse. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum.

* 10. Semantic Roles of Reason Clauses Introduced by the Central Conjunctions Because, Since, As and For (Br?hová)

The lecture offers an analysis of semantic roles of reason clauses introduced by the central causal conjunctions because, since, as and for. The analysis is based on a classification of 200 reason clauses according to their semantic role - either as direct reason clauses or indirect reason clauses. Direct reason clauses are further subclassified into four subgroups. Consequently, it is claimed that CGEL does not cover all semantic relationships in practice, since quite a large number of examples do not fit into this classification. Therefore, a separate group called 'Reason and Evaluation/Attitude' is established. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that the semantic role of a reason clause is closely related to its syntactic function.


Altenberg, B. (1984) "Causal Linking in Spoken and Written English." Studia Linguistica 38, 20-69.

Breul, C. (1997) Grammatik und Bedeutung der kausalen Satzverbände: "Because", "as", "since" und "for" im schriftsprachlichen Englisch. Tübingen: Niemeyer.

Dušková, L. (1999) "The Complex Sentence in British and Czech Grammar." In Studies in the English Language. Part II. Praha: Karolinum, 219-228.

Heinämäki, O. (1975) "Because and Since." Linguistica Silesiana 1, 135-143.

Naidrová, G. (2003) Reason Clauses Introduced by the Central Conjunctions Because, Since, As and For. M.A. Diploma Thesis. Prague: Charles University.

Quirk, R., S. Greenbaum, G. Leech & J. Svartvik (1985) A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. London: Longman.

Švardalová, E. (1998) The Position of Adverbial Clauses in Complex Sentences. M.A. Diploma Thesis. Prague: Charles University.

* 11. Typological Notes on the Category of Gender in Late Old and Early Middle English (?ermák)

The lecture offers a typological perspective on the beginnings in Late Old English and Early Middle English of the collapse of gender distinctions in the morphology of the noun and noun phrase, with the aim of contributing to the theory of typological change and its subtle mechanics.


?ermák, J. (2000) "A Typological Note on the Category of Gender in Old English". In: ?ermák, J. - Klégr, A. (eds.). The Tongue is An Eye. Studies Presented to Libuše Dušková. Praha: Ústav anglistiky a amerikanistiky FFUK a Kruh moderních filolog?, 15-20.

Jones, Ch. (1988), Grammatical Gender in English: 950 to 1250, London, Croom Helm.

Lass, R. (1992) "Phonology and Morphology". In: Blake, N. (ed.), The Cambridge History of the English Language. Volume II: 1066-1476, Cambridge University Press, 23-154.

* 12. Vocabulary of Old and Middle English: Principal Characteristics and Developments (?ermák)

The lecture offers a summary of the principal characteristics and developments in the vocabulary of Old and Middle English, focusing on the following aspects: the origin of the Old English wordstock; the changing structure of the English word; the systemic preconditions of the major changes the vocabulary of English underwent in the centuries following the Norman Conquest.


Kastovsky, D. (1992): "Semantics and Vocabulary". In: Hogg, R. M. (ed.), The Cambridge History of the English Language, vol. 1: The Beginnings to 1066, 290-409, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



The course introduces students into selected issues of English linguistics, currently studied by the lecturers in their research work. It covers questions of syntax, hypersyntax, lexicology, lexicography and historical development.