In which varieties of English is it common to front predicates as in the following sentence?
Bought a nice house, he did.
In which pragmatic contexts is this done in these varieties?
Linguistics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional linguists and others with an interest in linguistic research and theory. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
All the varieties I know. I don't think it's regional, or varietal; it's just conversational, a sort of syntactic equivalent of Fast Speech Rules.
I suspect it's just an afterthought tag for Conversationally Deleted sentences like the ones Thrasher treats in his dissertation (Thrasher, Randolph H. Jr. 1974. Shouldn't Ignore These Strings: A Study of Conversational Deletion, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor). I posted about it on Linguist List here, here, and here.
That is, "Bought a nice house" is derivable, in context, from "He bought a nice house" by Conversational Deletion, and — in some cases, and if the speaker wishes — may be clarified at the end with a tag, whence the Do-Support.
Some other examples, derived from examples in Thrasher:
This doesn't work in every case of Conversational Deletion, since not every deleted initial sequence can form an appropriate tag: