Based on a corpus of conversational German, I will show that the standard view of extrapositions with es (‘it’) as bi–clausal sentence patterns cannot be supported by actual data from spoken interactions.
In spoken interactions, speakers make use of extrapositions with es as bipartite constructions, with the first part (“segment A”) functioning as a projector phrase, anticipating and framing the upcoming utterance (“segment B”). Segment A has a relatively fixed structure; it is sedimented as an evaluative, epistemic or evidential framing device, primarily serving pragmatic functions in projecting ‘more to come’. Segment B can take various forms in spoken interactions, depending on interactional contingencies. Instead of a simple clause, segment B generally extends over several turn construction units as well as prosodic units.
Furthermore, everyday uses of it-extrapositions in German show striking parallels to related constructions, such as “es ist so” (‘it is such’) patterns as well as “ADJ, dass” (‘ADJ, that’) patterns (“klar, dass er es schafft!” ‘obvious, that he'll make it!’). These also consist of a projective evaluative, epistemic or evidential phrase, framing a (mostly) complex discourse segment.
The analysis will show how a grammatical construction changes its nature when it is examined from the perspective of everyday usage in spoken interaction.