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Selected Problems in English Linguistics

Class at Faculty of Arts |


Core course WT 2012-13

Selected Problems in English Linguistics 1. (3 October)

Expressing Indefiniteness in English (Libuše Dušková)

An account of grammatical means serving to express indefinite reference of nouns (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.

R. Quirk et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, London 1985, 5.26-59.

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

D. Biber et al., Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English, London 1999, 4.4.1.     2. (10 October)

The students can choose between topics a. and b. a. On Some Distinctions between British and Czech Grammatical Theory (Libuše 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.  


Dušková, L. (1999), Studies in the English Language, Part 2, Chaps. 28, 29. Karolinum

Charles University Press, Prague,

R. Quirk et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Chaps. 14, 15

R. Huddleston and G. J. Pullum, Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, Chap. 11

Biber, D. et al., Longman Grammar of  Spoken and Written English 3.10, 3.11.   b. The nature and the functions of the passive (Libuše Dušková)

An account of the forms, meanings and functions of the passive, showing its gradient nature, formally and functionally  related categories, and its role in the information structure (functional sentence perspective).  


R. Quirk et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, London 1985, Chapter 3, pp. 159-171 (esp. 167-171)

Vilém Mathesius, Obsahový rozbor současné angličtiny na základě obecně lingvistickém,

Praha 1961,  pp. 121-131; / English translation A Functional Analysis of Present Day English on a general linguistic basis, Praha 1975, pp. 107-114.

L. Dušková, Studies in the English Language, Part 1, Chapter 6 (On some functional and stylistic aspects of the passive in present-day English ). Karolinum-Charles University

Press, Prague 1999.           3. (17 October)

Using corpora in contrastive research 1: Copular predications in English and in Czech

(Markéta Malá)

Copular clauses are used in both English and Czech to ascribe a quality, property or value to the subject. While both languages make use of copular verbs be and become (být, stát se, respectively, in Czech), the repertoire of copular verbs is much broader in English, making it possible to distinguish between various types of attribution (e.g., verbs of ‘seeming’, attribution based on perception, verbs of ‘remaining’ etc.). The question then arises of what means are employed in Czech to express such ‘modified attribution’ and, on the other hand, what the constructions used in Czech can suggest of the meaning of the respective copular verbs in English.

The material is drawn from a parallel translation corpus of Czech and English fiction texts - InterCorp. We shall also rely on it to illustrate some ways in which multilingual corpora can be employed in contrastive research (types of correspondence, counterparts as markers of function, etc).  


InterCorp: Czech National Corpus and Corpora of Other Languages,

Dušková, Libuše (2004): Syntactic Constancy of the Subject Complement, Part 1: A Comparison between Czech and English. Linguistica Pragensia XIV/2, 57-71.

Dušková, Libuše (2005): Syntactic Constancy of the Subject Complement, Part 2: A Comparison between English and Czech. Linguistica Pragensia XV/1, 1-17.

Johansson, S. (2007): Seeing through Multilingual Corpora. On the Use of Corpora in Contrastive Studies, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Teubert, W. (2001) ‘Corpus Linguistics and Lexicography’, International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, Vol. 6 (Special Issue), 125-153.   4. (24 October)

Participial postmodifying clauses (Pavlína 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.  


Dušková, Libuše (2011) 'A Textual View of Noun Modificaton', in Černý et al. (eds.) New

Chapters in Functional Syntax. Ostrava, 18-30.

Fox, B. a S.A. Thompson (2007) 'Relative Clauses in English Conversation', Studies in

Language 31: 2, 293-326.

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 brněnské university A3, 63-7

Šaldová, Pavlína and Markéta Malá (2010) 'Discourse-pragmatic Functions of Participial

            Clauses in Preverbal Position', in Procházka, Martin, Markéta Malá, Pavlína Šaldová

(eds)  The Prague School and Theories of Structure, Goettingen: V&R Unipress. pp 177-189.   5. (31 October)

Tough-constructions in English (Jiřina Popelíková)

The seminar will focus on some of the idiosyncratic features of tough-predicate clauses on the level of syntax and the relation of the formal structure of these constructions to their basic FSP characteristics.  


Biber, D. et al. (1999) Longman Grammmar of Spoken and Written English. London:


Firbas, J. (1992) Functional sentence perspective in written and spoken communication.

Cambridge: University Press.

Mair, C. (1989) Infinitival Complement Clauses in English: A Study of Syntax in Discourse

(Studies in English Language). Cambridge: University Press.

Mair, C. (1987) "Tough-movement in Present-day British English: A corpus-based study".

Studia Linguistica 41, 1, p.59-71.

Miki, Nozomi. (2000) "Tough constructions: Their tense and aspect. " Kyoto Seika Daigaku

Kenkyuu Kiyou 19. Kyoto: Kyoto Seika University.

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

Longman.   6. (7 November)

The expression of interpersonal metadiscourse in Czech and English academic texts

(Marcela Sudková)

The seminar focuses on expressing interpersonal function in Czech and English academic texts dealing with linguistics. The aim is to introduce the concept of interpersonal metadiscourse, its means of expression and some of the approaches to this phenomenon. A contrastive study of Czech and English academic texts will also be discussed, offering an example of a detailed and corpus-based analysis.  


Biber, D. (2006): University Language. A corpus-based study of spoken and written             registers. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Čmejrková, S. (1994): Nonnative (academic) writing. In: Čmejrková S. - Daneš F. -

            Havlová E. (eds): Writing vs Speaking: Language, Text, Discourse,

            Communication. Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag, pp. 303-310.

Čmejrková, S. - Daneš F. - Světlá J. (1999): Jak napsat odborný text. Praha: LEDA.

Hyland, K. - Tse, P. (2004): Metadiscourse in Academic Writing: A R


The course introduces students into selected issues of English linguistics, currently studied by the lecturers in their research work. It covers topics from syntax, hypersyntax, lexicology, lexicography, historical development and phonology, from corpus linguistics and other fields according to the specialization of the lecturer.