complementizer

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Noun[edit]

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complementizer (plural complementizers)

  1. (linguistics) a form of subordinate conjunction
    • "That" is a complementizer in the sentence "Mary believes that it is raining".
    • 1988, Andrew Radford, chapter 6, Transformational grammar: a first course, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, page 299:
      However, what is of particular interest to us here is
      the fact that the presence of the Complementiser whether in (37) (b) above
      excludes the possibility of having an inverted Auxiliary in pre-subject posi-
      tion, as we see from the ungrammaticality of (38) below:
      (38)      *John wondered whether would he get a degree
      Why should this be? The answer we propose here is that this is because both
      Complementisers and inverted Auxiliaries occupy the pre-subject C position:
      hence, when (as in (38) above) the C position is already filled by the Comple-
      mentiser
      whether, inversion of the Auxiliary is not possible, on the assumption
      that once a given position is filled by one constituent, it cannot be filled by
      another (i.e. we can only have one constituent occupying any given position).

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