Constraints on perfect auxiliary contraction
Fredriksen, Kristen Marie
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This study investigates the use of auxiliary contractions compared to the use of the full form in the Santa Barbara Corpus of Spoken American English to consider comparisons between the linguistic factors of preceding phonological and grammatical environment, the presence of negation, stativity, voice, temporal reference, and clause type, among other parameters. Evidence is presented that contracted forms are predicted by all of the above. The paper considers linguistic features of speech and semantic features of perfect constructions that influence contraction. The preceding word has the strongest affect on contraction, for both semantic and phonological reasons. Evidence of grammaticalization of the perfect is found in the lower rates of reduction among older forms. The study sheds light on the predicament of intermediately contracted forms and how to treat them in the future.