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cleft (plural clefts)
- An opening, fissure, or V-shaped indentation made by or as if by splitting.
- A piece made by splitting.
- a cleft of wood
- A disease of horses; a crack on the band of the pastern.
opening made or as if made by splitting
- (linguistics) To syntactically separate a prominent constituent from the rest of the clause that concerns it, such as threat in "The threat which I saw but which he didn't see, was his downfall."
- 1983, John Haiman, Pamela Munro, editors, Switch-reference and Universal Grammar: Proceedings of a Symposium on Switch Reference and Universal Grammar, Winnipeg, May 1981:
- This may be so because in most languages the most natural clefting involves NP's, and it is in fact hard in most languages to cleft the verb, although some — notably Kwa languages in West-Africa — allow such clefting.
- 2002, Claire Lefebvre, A Grammar of Fongbe, page 521:
- When the affected object is clefted, the clefted constituent may be assigned a contrastive reading on the event denoted by the clause, as is shown in (62).
- 2013, Katharina Hartmann, Cleft Structures, page 270:
- The strategy the language employs is to cleft the clause containing the wh-phrase, as exemplified in (3) […]
- simple past tense and past participle of
cleft (not comparable)