Change in Contemporary English: A Grammatical Study (Studies by Professor Geoffrey Leech, Marianne Hundt, Christian Mair,

By Professor Geoffrey Leech, Marianne Hundt, Christian Mair, Nicholas Smith

In keeping with the systematic research of huge quantities of computer-readable textual content, this booklet indicates how the English language has been altering within the fresh prior, usually in unforeseen and formerly undocumented methods. The examine is predicated on a gaggle of matching corpora, often called the 'Brown kin' of corpora, supplemented via a variety of different corpus fabrics, either written and spoken, drawn usually from the later 20th century. one of the issues receiving specific realization are the impression of yankee English on British English, the position of the clicking, the 'colloquialization' of written English, and quite a lot of grammatical themes, together with the modal auxiliaries, innovative, subjunctive, passive, genitive and relative clauses. those topics construct an total photograph of the way English grammar is altering, and the linguistic and social elements which are contributing to this approach.

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Extra resources for Change in Contemporary English: A Grammatical Study (Studies in English Language)

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Grammar is more than an arbitrary list of shibboleths Among lay commentators on linguistic change what we have is not really complete blindness but an extreme restriction of the field of vision. Rather than see grammar as the vast and complex system of rules which helps us organize words into constituents, clauses and sentences, the term is restricted to refer to a collection of variable and disputed usages which have been selected arbitrarily in the course of almost  years of prescriptive thinking about good grammar and proper English.

4 Introduction: ‘grammar blindness’ b. ‘There is Doris Jones, for instance, with whom I go away, and Mary Plumb, and the Fosters –’ This being so, any statistical shifts in usage which we might observe in twentieth-century language data would not be due to direct grammatical change. The grammar, seen as the system of rules and options underlying usage, has been very stable for the past few centuries. What might have changed, though, are stylistic conventions or expectations of formality. For example, a writer of a sports feature in a newspaper had both options available in the year  as well as in .

However, an unprejudiced look at historical data shows beyond doubt that which has not been confined to introducing non-restrictive relative clauses at any period in the history of English.  Of course, a neat one-toone mapping of form and function – which for non-restrictive and that for restrictive post-modification, as in (a) and (b) below – appears tidy and makes theoretical sense (at least on the not unproblematical assumption that the logic of natural languages follows formal logic rather closely): () a.

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