Timm (1987b)

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  • Timm, L. 1987b. 'Cleft structures in Breton', Word, 38:127-142.

 "Breton cleft sentences manifest some interesting properties that can help inform the inquiry into the nature of such sentences cross-linguistically. In particular this paper addresses two predictions made by Wirth (1978:78) regarding cleft sentences-i.e.,
 I) If a language has cleft sentences, then such sentences will exhibit properties of relative clauses.
 2) Since the derivation of clefts involves an application of extra-position a language will have clefts only if the language also contains the rule of extraposition.
 Breton provides counter-evidence to both of these predictions, as will be shown in the course of this study. Before discussing these issues, however, the structure of Breton clefts and pseudo-clefts will be set forth; as will be seen, Breton has unusual, perhaps unique, cleft constructions that merit documentation. The data for this study have been culled from written sources, most representing the standard or literary dialect of the language, though some of the sources are transcriptions of interviews (with native Breton speakers in Brittany) and thus represent more vernacular forms of the language. 
 A few sentences, based on Breton originals, have been reworked by me for purposes of exposition or argumentation."


  • Wirth, J. 1978. 'The derivation of cleft sentences in English', Glossa 12(1 ):58-82.