An HPSG Approach to English Comparative Inversion

Dongwoo Park 1 ,
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1Seoul National University
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ⓒ Copyright 2017 Language Education Institute, Seoul National University. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: May 07, 2017 ; Revised: Aug 18, 2017 ; Accepted: Aug 28, 2017

Published Online: Aug 31, 2017


It has been analyzed that the word order of English comparative inversion is analogous to that of other subject-auxiliary inversion constructions, in that only a finite auxiliary verb (i.e., the highest auxiliary) can be followed by the subject. However, English comparative inversion must be distinguished from other inversion constructions, since the subject can be located between a cluster of auxiliary verbs and the non-auxiliary phrase in English comparative inversion. Existing analyses of subject-auxiliary inversion cannot account for this special kind of inversion. This paper proposes a new phrase type, called inv-focus-cl, for English comparative inversion within the framework of constructionbased Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG). Additionally, I suggest that constraints on properties of lexemes participating in the inv-focus-cl are governed by the construction-based approach, while the word order of English comparative inversion is determined by independent rules that determine the word order of lexical items, as the word order domain approach suggests.

Keywords: English comparative inversion; construction-based approach; word order domain approach; focus inversion; HPSG