Take the 2-minute tour ×
Linguistics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional linguists and others with an interest in linguistic research and theory. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In British English you'll often hear them post-fixing expressions that American English tends to keep up front.

For example, I've heard British English speakers (golf commentators in particular) say things like "It looks easy, that shot."

That sounds a bit odd to my American ears, and I take it that construction isn't common to American English. We seem to prefer "That shot looks easy".

What is this linguistic phenomenon called?

share|improve this question
    
Also, please feel free to add more appropriate tags, I'm not sure how to tag this question. Is it one about syntax? –  Dennis Feb 15 '13 at 23:16
1  
Why do you think it only happens in BrE? I think I've heard it in other languages too. –  Alenanno Feb 15 '13 at 23:29
    
@Alenanno Oh, I didn't mean to suggest that it was the only language where this occurs. This was just the salient example for me. –  Dennis Feb 15 '13 at 23:33
    
Ah, my bad, sorry. :D I had that impression when reading it. :) –  Alenanno Feb 15 '13 at 23:34
1  
Is this an example of cataphora? –  Dennis Feb 16 '13 at 0:49
show 2 more comments

1 Answer

up vote 12 down vote accepted

This rule is known as Right-Dislocation; it moves the subject to the end of the sentence, leaving behind a coreferential pronoun. There is a corresponding Left-Dislocation, as well, that inserts a pronoun as the subject. Both constructions are accompanied by specific intonation contours, marked with commas; more on these syntactic rules, and similar rules of English, on page 4 here.

  • It looks easy, that shot. ~ That shot looks easy. ~ That shot, it looks easy.

The beginning and the end of a sentence are the two most prominent positions available; thus there are dozens of English syntactic rules that have the effect of moving some important word to either the beginning or the end of a sentence, always under specific circumstances.

Dislocated constructions, like most constructions that indicate speaker attitude by intonation, are features of speech rather than writing.

Oh, and dislocation is not a feature of British English. It's all over the US, for instance.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.