Lecture: A study of [unless X] in contemporary English
This study analyzes the construction [unless X] as based on the Construction Grammar framework (cf. FILLMORE et al., 1988; GOLDBERG, 1995, 2006; BYBEE, 2016), in association with the Corpus Linguistics (McENERY; HARDIE, 2013; SINCLAIR, 2005) methodology. Motivated by the findings of Mendes Junior and Mattos (2021), who reported high rates of productivity in the construction [because X], we propose a model that accounts for the new constructional properties of unless. Data was collected through the iWeb Corpus (DAVIES, 2018), which contains 14 billion words extracted from about 22 million web pages. Our analysis shows that the construction [unless X] heavily favors verbs in the past participle, adjectives and nouns in the [X] slot. Following Fillmore et al. (1988), [unless X] can be understood as codable, formal, extra-grammatical construction. We suggest that [unless X] often behaves similarly to the traditional use of unless, though it favors reduced clauses and is mainly used in more informal contexts.