Natural Syntax: Style Contrast Between Two Syntactic Variants


  • Varja Cvetko Orešnik University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Slovenia
  • Janez Orešnik University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Slovenia



English language, Natural Syntax, syntactic variant, style contrast, (in)formal/formal


In the framework of Natural Syntax (whose basics are summarized in the Appendix) the paper focuses on certain pairs of syntactic variants between which a style contrast obtains (that is, one variant is formal, the other informal). Somewhat unexpectedly formal vs. informal can be largely predicted within Natural Syntax although formal and informal are not syntactic features. Any prediction is successful under the assumption of Natural Syntax (to be expressed in a scale) that informal is more natural than formal, and provided that the correct values of the following variables are determined: (a) the two syntactic variants, (b) their relative naturalness expressed in a scale, and (c) the environment of the deduction (and consequently the parallel or chiastic alignment of the values of the scales).

The language material is English, extracted mostly from Huddleston/Pullum (2002). This descriptive grammar (almost 1800 pages) contains about 150 usable items exhibiting stylistic contrasts. However, for lack of space only the pertinent data to be found on pages 1–282 are treated here. In all, 14 cases of style contrast are discussed.


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30. 12. 2021

How to Cite

Cvetko Orešnik, V., & Orešnik, J. (2021). Natural Syntax: Style Contrast Between Two Syntactic Variants. Linguistica, 61(2), 15-29.