Bas Aarts
(University College London)
The subjunctive conundrum
Plenary II, Thursday, 9:00 – 10:00, Room 1010
The view espoused in Palmer (1987: 46) that “the notion of a subjunctive mood is a simple
transfer from Latin and has no place in English grammar” is generally accepted in most modern
descriptive frameworks. But the consequences of accepting such a view have not been
sufficiently appreciated in the literature. In this paper I will discuss a number of approaches to
the English subjunctive, and I will argue that none of them deals adequately with the fallout of
denying the existence of an inflectional subjunctive in English. I will propose that English
subjunctive clauses can be described by making reference to the notion of Subsective Gradience
(Aarts 2007), and that the grammar of English should recognise a ‘subjunctive clause type’,
along with declaratives, interrogatives, imperatives and exclamatives.
Palmer, Frank (1987) The English verb. London: Longman.
Elsbieta Adamczyk
(University of Poznan)
On morphological restructuring in the early English nominal system:
the fate of Old English consonantal inflection
Wednesday, 12:00 – 12:30, Room 1016
The paper investigates the morphological shape of the early English nominal inflection, focusing
on the developments which contributed to its later restructuring. A prominent feature of the early
English inflection was an evident tendency, revealed by nouns considered minor (unproductive)
to adopt the inflectional endings of the productive types. This marked inclination of some nouns
can be particularly well seen in consonantal stems, such as r-stems (deriving from PIE *-es/-os
stems). The available textual material proves that members of this small declension tend to
fluctuate between the inherited and innovative paradigmatic patterns, testifying thus to a growing
instability of this declensional type already in Old English. Analogical formations on the pattern
set by the productive a-declension can be found in such forms as the nominative/accusative pl.
(cealfas, ehras, lomberu, attested alongside the expected endingless cealf, æhir, lombor) and
genitive and dative sg. (cealfes, cealfe, hroðre, found next to the archaic calfur, hroðor). Such
fluctuation in the inflectional paradigms attests to an ongoing restructuring process, resulting in
the eventual demise of the original stem type distinctions. The factor primarily responsible for
the gradual transition of nouns from the minor to the major declensional type is the working of
analogical processes, aimed at levelling the irregularity within the paradigm; yet analogy cannot
be the only disintegrative factor, and a number of additional aspects need be taken into account
to explain the motivation behind the transition. The present analysis is intended to be both a
qualitative and quantitative study of the Old English r-stem paradigm. Aimed at presenting a
systematic account of this emerging tendency, the investigation will seek to determine the extent
and pattern of dissemination of the productive inflectional endings in the original *-es/-os stems.
Due attention will be paid to the niceties of the process of gradual reorganisation of this
consonantal type, its consequences in the later inflectional system of English and its theoretical
Karin Aijmer
(University of Göteborg)
Well in a social and regional context
Friday, 12:00 – 12:30, Room 1016
The background for the present study is the observation that we need to take a broader perspective
on pragmatic markers, classifying them and describing their class-specific properties. Moreover
there are certain areas where research on pragmatic markers is scanty or is missing. For example,
we know very little about pragmatic markers or their sociolinguistic use (social class, age, genre,
the relationship between speakers) or their distribution across text types. The British Component of
the International Corpus of English (ICE-GB) provides a resource for studying the frequencies of
pragmatic markers over different text types as well as to study prosodic features of the markers. In
addition it is interesting to make comparisons with other regional varieties, in particular American
English. In my contribution I will look at the pragmatic marker well in a social and regional
context. This is one of the most frequent and most discussed markers in English (see eg Carlson
1984, Jucker 1993, Schiffrin 1987, Schourup 2001). However we still know very little about how it
functions and how wide-spread it is in different functions in varieties of English.
Carlson, L. (1984) ‘Well’ in dialogue games: A discourse analysis of the interjection ‘well’ in idealized
conversation. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Jucker, A. (1993) The discourse marker well. A relevance-theoretical account. Journal of Pragmatics 19 (5): 435-53.
Schiffrin, D. (1987) Discourse markers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Schourup, L. (2001) Rethinking well. Journal of pragmatics 33: 1026-1060.
Takanobu Akiyama
(University of Nihon)
On non-restrictive infinitival relative clauses: a corpus-based approach
Thursday, 15:00 – 15:30, Room 1023
This paper deals with the non-restrictive infinitival relative clause (henceforth, NIRC) in English
(e.g. An independent review, to be funded by Ealing council and Ealing health authority, has
been commissioned (BNC: A96 443). The discussion of NIRCs has been neglected by linguists,
although there have been a number of publications on restrictive infinitival relative clauses on
the basis of various approaches (c.f. Berman 1974, Bhatt 2006, Geisler 1998). This paper will, I
hope, bring us one step closer to a full characterization of the nature of the NIRC in English
through a careful and extensive empirical scrutiny of the construction on the basis of corpus data.
The main purposes of the discussion are: (a) to give an accurate description of the syntactic and
semantic properties of the NIRC on the basis of corpus data, and (b) to come up with a full and
valid specification of the restrictions which apply to the use of NIRCs.
With respect to the first purpose, the corpus-based approach taken here will clarify that the
shades of meaning expressed by this construction are similar to ones represented by the is to
construction: plan, necessity/appropriateness, future in the past, and circumstantial possibility.
Regarding the voice of the NIRC, there is a strong tendency for this construction to occur as a
passive, although there are some apparent exceptions in which it occurs in the active voice.
Concerning the pied-piping construction, we will find that the NIRC has this syntactic variant,
though its frequency is very low.
In regard to the second purpose of this paper, the restrictions on the use of NIRC seem to be
concerned with the problem of parsing the to-infinitive clause, in particular, choosing between an
adverbial purposive clause and an NIRC. I will put forward a specification of the restrictions on
the use of this construction on the basis of a) the causality between the subject of the NIRC and
the situation denoted by this construction, and b) the number of the ‘empty categories’ of the
Ulrike Altendorf
(Pädagogische Hochschule Karlsruhe)
Concept stretching and model merging: a tripartite continuum approach to language variation
Saturday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1015
This paper proposes a revised version of Coseriu’s tripartite model of language for the study of
the variation and in particular the international variation of English. It will argue that it is
especially Coseriu’s third and intermediate level of abstraction, the norm, that can more
appropriately bridge the gap between a system-based linguistic ideal and the dynamic nature of
actual language use than the simple dichotomy between langue/competence/system and
parole/performance/ usage. The theoretical discussion will be illustrated by results obtained
from a corpus- and web-based study of idiom variation across different national varieties of
The proposed model agrees with Coseriu’s model in having a tripartite structure. The most
important level in the present context is the level of norm that in Coseriu’s conceptionalization as
well as in the present model holds what is “normal”, i.e. habitual within and potentially variable
across different speech communities (e.g. Coseriu 1975, 88). The notion of norm and its
potential for generating variability will be shown to be the key to understanding the
heterogeneous internal structure of national varieties and the frequently statistical rather than
categorical differences among them (see e.g. Hundt 2001, 738).
There are also aspects in which the proposed model differs from Coseriu’s model. For instance,
Coseriu’s fourth level, the individual norm (e.g. Coseriu 1975, 91), will be more clearly
integrated into the next higher level of abstraction, the (social) norm. The resulting level of
analysis, termed usage norms in the revised version, will be characterized by a continuum
structure gradually leading to the most concrete level of the individual utterance and thus
bridging the gulf between individual language use and the linguistic system. The data presented
in this paper will in particular illustrate the transition from social to individual.
Coseriu, Eugenio (1975) “Sprachtheorie und allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft.” München: Fink.
Hundt, Marianne (2001) “Grammatical variation in national varieties of English: The corpus-based approach.”
Revue Belge de Philologie et d’Histoire 79, 737-755.
Lieselotte Anderwald
(University of Kiel)
Standardization vs. language change: first results from 19th-century grammars
Wednesday, 15:30 – 16:00, Room 1098
The 19th century is not generally noted for being a period of rapid language change in English.
In fact, it is not generally noted for being anything much at all, since even scholars with an
interest in the late modern period have as a rule concentrated on the 18th century as the object of
study (e.g. Dossena and Jones 2003; Tieken-Boon van Ostade forthcoming). The impression of
stability and only minor peripheral changes that the 19th century still conveys in linguists’ minds
may not be quite accurate, as some first studies indicate (cf. Hundt 2004; Smitterberg 2005;
Kytö, Rydén and Smitterberg 2006). In this talk, I will show that an indirect approach at
language change through comments in more or less prescriptive grammar books of the time can
offer interesting first results. My Corpus of (to date 44) 19th-Century Grammars (CNG) is a new
resource that allows an interesting complementary perspective on language change. I will
exemplify this approach by looking at (standard English) strong verbs, still in a state of flux over
the 19th century (Anderwald 2008, forthcoming), which are increasingly being prescribed
towards the end of the 19th century, and with comments on a new construction, the progressive
passive (the house is being built), where the conservativeness of school grammars can be nicely
exemplified, since grammars keep vilifying this construction even at a time when the more
conservative rival, the passival (The house is building) is already obsolete. At the same time, the
CNG offers a concrete perspective at standardization, since prescription becomes increasingly
homogeneous over the course of the 19th century, and grammarians agree on what is to count as
‘good’, educated English, and what is not. In this way, we can indeed directly observe the last
stages of standardization.
Anderwald, Lieselotte (2008) The Morphology of English Dialects: Verb-Formation in Non-Standard English.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Anderwald, Lieselotte (forthcoming) “Norm vs. variation in British English strong verbs: the case of past tense sang
vs. sung.” In Alexandra N. Lenz and Albrecht Plewnia, eds. Grammar Between Norm and Variation.
Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins: ca. 20 pp.
Dossena, Marina, and Charles Jones, eds. (2003) Insights into Late Modern English. Bern etc.: Lang.
Hundt, Marianne (2004) “The passival and the progressive passive: A case study of layering in the English aspect
and voice systems.” In Hans Lindquist and Christian Mair, eds. Corpus Approaches to Grammaticalization
in English. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins: 79-120.
Kytö, Merja, Mats Rydén, and Erik Smitterberg, eds. (2006) Nineteenth-Century English: Stability and Change.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Smitterberg, Erik (2005) The Progressive in 19th-Century English: A Process of Integration. Amsterdam and New
York: Rodopi.
Tieken-Boon van Ostade, Ingrid, ed. (forthcoming) Grammars, Grammarians and Grammar-Writing in 18th
Century England. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Umberto Ansaldo
(University of Amsterdam)
Substrate typology and nativized Asian English features
Friday, 10:30 – 11:00, Room 1023
Asian Englishes such as Singapore Colloquial English (Singlish), Hong Kong English (HKE)
and Filipino English all emerged from sociolinguistic contexts that can generally be viewed as
heterogeneous contact ecologies, i.e. settings in which languages of significantly different
structural type come into contact and generate a substantial amount of variation. In such contact
ecologies, it is not uncommon that new varieties emerge, as witnessed in the case of Singlish, a
variety in which English, Sinitic and possibly Malay traits combine. While sociohistorical
classifications of such varieties of English shed light on their histories and evolutionary
scenarios, they do not necessarily enlighten us about the way in which their peculiar grammars
evolve. In order to understand the structural type that defines them, we need to reflect on the
typological matrix in which the variety evolves, i.e. we need to look into the pool of features that
defines the multilingual speech community in which language contact takes place (Ansaldo
2008). This is best achieved by seriously considering the typology of the substrate language(s)
involved in the contact situation. With both Singlish and HKE, for instance, common features
such as Topic-prominence, zero-copula, aspectual categories, WH-in situ, and pragmatic
particles are all derived from basic Sinitic typology. At the same time, the composition of each
typological matrix, and the differences between the Sinitic languages (Hokkien and Cantonese
respectively), also account for differences between varieties: Singlish, for example, is rich in
reduplication patterns, a strategy that is not too common in HKE (Ansaldo 2004), which is
explained by the fact that Hokkien (and Min varieties) make a more productive use of
reduplication, including triplication, than Cantonese (Wee and Ansaldo 2004). Moreover,
Singlish’s typological matrix also includes Malay languages, typically rich in productive
reduplication patterns, which reinforce the evolution of such a feature in the new grammar.
Ansaldo, U. (2008 to appear) Contact language formation in evolutionary terms. In E.O. Aboh and N. Smith (eds)
Complex processes in new languages. Creole Language Library. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John
Ansaldo, U. (2004) The evolution of Singapore English: Finding the matrix. In L. Lim (ed.) Singapore English: A
grammatical description. Varieties of English Around the World G33. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John
Benjamins. 127-149.
Wee, L. and U. Ansaldo (2004) Nouns and noun phrases. In L. Lim (ed.) Singapore English: A grammatical
description. Varieties of English Around the World G33. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 5774.
Jenny Arendholz and Wolfram Bublitz
(University of Augsburg)
Message boards – how to establish common ground in a hybrid genre
Wednesday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1023
The remarkable number of message boards (also known as discussion boards or fora), which
have been mushrooming on the internet over the last one or two decades, clearly indicates an
obvious need for communication platforms established and visited by like-minded people.
Linguistically, these message boards represent yet another hybrid mode of CMC in that they
oscillate between orality (spoken mode) and literacy (written mode). Similar to other types of
CMC, they have a strong tendency towards the pole of conceptional orality while they are
medially realised in written form. In this respect, message boards share more characteristics with
chats or instant messaging than with e-mail and also weblog communication. Although message
board users have interests and overall topics in common (which is why they visit the respective
message board in the first place), they are not a homogenous group that shares similar
background knowledge (concerning their interlocutors, the history of topical threads, present
(sub-)topics, referents, etc.) and attitudinal or ideological frames of mind. (Especially
challenging is the task of integrating “Newbies”, i.e. newcomers to the genre message board
itself and/or its current topics.) Thus, participants have to create a common ground (by
introducing topics, establishing referents, invoking frames, conveying attitudes and emotions,
relating current items cohesively to preceding and following ones) on an ideational, interpersonal
and textual level. The interesting question is how this complex goal is achieved in message
boards, which differ in their interactive potential and their broad range of multimedial and
multimodal features not only from face-to-face communication but also from chats and instant
messaging. For instance, to make up for the lack of nonverbal, prosodic and related features of
face-to-face communication, message boarders resort to hyperlinks redirecting the user to other
webpages or to photos, graphics and even videos, which are embedded into the text.
Pierre J. L. Arnaud
(University of Lyon)
The adjectivization of nouns: a semantic and syntactic corpus investigation
Wednesday, 12:00 – 12:30, Room 1019
The head of a noun phrase may be premodified by an adjective as in a tall man or a noun as in a
mystery man. This is an investigation of nouns that frequently occur as prenominal modifiers and
appear subjectively to share some of the characteristics of adjectives or even to have undergone
conversion to that class. Such nouns generally have dictionary subentries labelled “adj.” or “as
modifier”. The nature of adjectival modification is discussed so as to provide semantic and
syntactic criteria for the assessment of noun to adjective conversion.
The discourse behaviour of a “pure” adjective, dense, a frequent nominal premodifier without
apparent semantic adjectival tendencies, water, and the clearly adjectival member of a longestablished noun-adjective pair, sovereign, is examined in the British National Corpus and the
Web with reference to criteria like sense reduction (as in Adj. orange from which all the noncolour features of the noun have disappeared), qualifying (vs. categorizing) modification,
predicative use and other non-attributive constructions, complementation, coordination with
other premodifiers, modification by very, adverbial derivation. With these data as reference
points, a set of frequent nominal premodifiers: blanket, budget, cult, lightning, mammoth and
rogue is investigated and their different discourse behaviours compared. It appears that some
units are rather far advanced on the way to adjectivity while others exhibit fewer adjectival
characteristics. The various criteria are combined into an “adjectivity score”. The validity of this
score appears in the fact that it is highest for dense with sovereign close to it, while water has a
nil score. Among nominal premodifiers, mammoth has the highest score, with budget and
lightning scoring lowest. This indicates that there is no mass movement of nouns frequently used
as premodifiers on the noun-adjective scale, but rather individual positions at a given point in
Sabine Arndt-Lappe and Ingo Plag
(University of Siegen)
An exemplar-based approach to compound stress assignment
Wednesday, 15:00 – 15:30, Room 1019
English noun-noun compounds are traditionally assumed to be left-stressed (cf. the Compound
Stress Rule, Chomsky and Halle 1968). However, rightward stress (as in morning páper or
Madison Ávenue) is far from exceptional and recent studies (e.g. Plag 2006, Plag et al. 2007)
have shown that the Compound Stress Rule, or rule-based approaches that make use of argument
structure (Giegerich 2004) or semantics (e.g. Fudge 1984), are not able to account satisfactorily
for the existing variability of compound stress.
In this paper we will test an alternative approach, namely two different exemplar-based
algorithms, TiMBL and AM::Parallel. ‘Exemplars’ are stored experiences of previously
encountered linguistic items, and exemplar-based models assume that grammar emerges from
these exemplars, rather than being the effect of an independent system of rules or constraints that
operates on lexical items (cf. Bybee 2001, Pierrehumbert 2001). For compound stress the basic
hypothesis is that each new compound is assigned the stress pattern of the majority of those
exemplars that are most similar to the new compound. We tested this hypothesis on two large
corpora of noun-noun compounds (CELEX and the Boston University Radio Speech Corpus),
comparing the performance of our exemplar models with that of the rules proposed in the
It turns out that both TiMBL and AM::Parallel grossly outperform the rule-based
implementations. Furthermore, the best results are achieved if the models are fed only with
constituent family (i.e. the set of compounds that share one constituent with a given compound)
as an information source. These results challenge rule-based approaches to compound stress, but
are in line with recent findings concerning the role of consitutent families in related studies of
compound semi-regularity (Gagné 2001, Krott et al. 2002). Furthermore, our results demonstrate
that compound stress-assignment does not necessarily require reference to abstract structural and
semantic features.
Anita Auer
(University of Leiden)
The normative grammarians’ influence on actual usage
Thursday, 14:30 – 15:00, Room 1015
The ‘age of prescriptivism’, i.e. the eighteenth century, has already drawn much scholarly
attention (cf. Leonard 1929; Milroy and Milroy 1992; Baugh and Cable 1993; Görlach 2001),
but the question of whether linguistic strictures discussed in grammars by Lowth and other
standardisers changed actual language usage has not yet been satisfactorily resolved. Studies
dealing with the latter question have largely focused on the language of the upper and welleducated layers of society; for instance Tieken-Boon van Ostade 1987, 1991, Fitzmaurice 2000
and Auer and Tieken-Boon van Ostade 2007 investigated the normative grammarians’ influence
on the language of individuals, and Auer and González-Díaz 2005 studied the influence on a
macro level by employing the multi-genre corpus ARCHER. In order to gain a more complete
picture of the grammarians’ influence in the Late Modern English period, we also need to
consider the language of people who did not belong to ‘polite’ London society. In this paper I
will thus investigate The Leiden Northern English Letter Corpus with regard to selected
grammatical strictures that are disputed in eighteenth-century normative grammars. The corpus,
which is based on manuscript letters (drafts as well as sent letters), covers the period from 1750
to 1900 and is socio-linguistically stratified according to gender, social class, and educational
background. The reason for focusing on northern letters has to do with the Industrial Revolution,
during which cities in the North of England grew in size and importance. This also brought about
changes in society and education (cf. Beal 2004: 5-6). As the corpus contains correspondence
from different social ranks, e.g. a bookseller as well as a handloom weaver, an analysis of this
corpus promises to shed some light on how effective normative grammarians’ rules were in
different layers of society.
Auer, Anita and Victorina González-Díaz (2005) “Eighteenth-Century Prescriptivism in English: A Re-evaluation of its
Effects on Actual Language Usage”. Multilingua 24(4), 317-341.
Auer, Anita and Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade (2007) “Robert Lowth and the use of the inflectional subjunctive in
eighteenth-century English”. In: Ute Smit and Stefan Dollinger and Julia Hüttner and Ursula Lutzky and
Gunther Kaltenböck (eds), Tracing English through time: explorations in language variation. Vienna:
Braumüller, 1-18.
Baugh, Albert C. and Thomas Cable (1993) A History of the English Language. London: Routledge.
Beal, Joan (2004) English in Modern Times 1700-1945. London: Hodder Arnold.
Fitzmaurice, Susan (2000) “The Spectator, the politics of social networks, and language standardisation in eighteenth
century England”. In: Laura Wright (ed.) The Development of Standard English 1300-1800. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 195-218.
Görlach, Manfred (2001) Eighteenth-century English. Heidelberg: C. Winter.
Leonard, Sterling Andrus (1929) The doctrine of correctness in English usage 1700-1800. Madison.
Milroy, James and Lesley Milroy (1992) Authority in language. Investigating language prescription and
standardization. London and New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Tieken-Boon van Ostade, Ingrid (1987) “Negative ‘do’ in Eighteenth-Century English: The Power of Prestige”. In:
G.H.V. Bunt et al. (eds) One Hundred Years of English Studies in Dutch Universities. Amsterdam: Rodopi,
Tieken-Boon van Ostade, Ingrid (1991) “Samuel Richardson’s Role as Linguistic Innovator: a Sociolinguistic
Analysis”. In: Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade and John Frankis (eds) Language Usage and Description.
Amsterdam and Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 47-57.
Nicolas Ballier
(University of Paris)
The other UG: aspects of a French agenda in utterance grammar
Saturday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1021
This paper sums up some of the current theoretical assumptions under development in France
about the English language. An overview of the problematic issues is given for an alternative
description of the grammar of English as outlined along the lines of an utterance grammar. This
theoretical framework developed in France was recently categorized as a “usage-based model”
and described as “enunciativist linguistics, in which theories of language structure are based on
the speech act (eg. Benveniste 1971, Ducrot 1984, Culioli 1995)” (Barlow and Kemmer 2000:
The main characteristics of this approach of English and its interfaces with other current
perspectives can be summed up as being:
marker-based, as epitomized by the metalinguistic habit of referring to the morphemes
(- ED, BE + ING) rather than to traditional labels (“preterite”, “progressive”),
context-driven: the meanings of the markers are analysed in texts or authentic data gathered
in corpora,
semantically-driven: a semantic type is postulated for each set of genuine occurrences
encountered in texts. It is also in this sense theory-driven: the language game consists in
characterizing the “invariant”, the core meaning of the marker to account for its potential
morpho-syntactic (functional) uses (réalisations syntaxiques).
Some of the consequences of this perspective will be outlined as well as parallelisms with
Anglo-Saxon frameworks, such as historical pragmatics and grammaticalisation theories. This
tradition is rarely heard beyond the borders of the French language (but see Groussier 2000) and
this probably calls for an agenda of re-translating the French metalinguistic terms on a targetoriented basis. “Utterance grammar” might appeal more to an English-speaking audience than
enunciation linguistic or utterer-centred approach.
Barlow , Michael and Suzanne Kemmer (2000) Usage-Based Models of Language. Cambrdge: CUP.
Bouscaren, Janine, Jean Chuquet and Laurent Danon-Boileau (1992) Introduction to a linguistic grammar of
English. An utterer-centred approach. Translated and adapted by Ronald Flintham and Janine Bouscaren.
Paris: Ophrys.
Culioli, Antoine (1995) Cognition and representation in linguistic theory. Texts selected, edited and introduced by
Michel Liddle, translated with the assistance of John T. Stoneham. (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory,
112.) Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Groussier, Marie-Line (2000) On Antoine Culioli’s theory of enunciative operations. In Lingua. 110, 3. 157-182.
Dagmar Barth-Weingarten
(University of Potsdam)
Prosodic reduction and language change: the case of hendiadic constructions
Wednesday, 11:30 – 12.00, Room 1098
Language change, and in particular grammaticalization, has been associated with a number of
processes on all levels of language organization (Lehmann 1985). While in earlier analyses
phonological changes, in comparison to semantic and syntactic processes, were rather
marginalized, with the more recent increase of interest in on-going language change and the
improved availability of larger corpora of natural spoken language they are now beginning to be
attributed a key position. Thus, Bybee (2001) in her usage-based approach to language change
describes the reduction of articulatory gestures resulting from frequency of use as a central
feature of the items’ development.
This presentation focuses on a related symptom, namely the reduction of prosodic gestures in
language change. Based on work by Wichmann (2006) on prosodic change in the emergence of
please, sorry and of course, it investigates the role of the gradual reduction of prosodic
parameters signaling intonation unit boundaries. At the same time it further explores the
prosody-syntax interface against the background of Bybee’s (2002) hypothesis that sequentiality
in discourse is the basis of constituent structure.
As a case in point, this paper deals with one instance of short-term language change in spoken
PDE, namely the postulated emergence of hendiadic constructions such as come and see from
coordinate clauses (Quirk et al 1985, Hopper 2001). On the basis of a comparison of the
frequency and range of hendiadys in two parallel corpora of spoken American-English telephone
conversations from the 1960s and the 1990s, it explores the applicability of the criterion of
prosodic reduction in the identification of short-term language change.
Bybee, J. (2001): Phonology and language use. Cambridge: CUP.
Bybee, J. (2002): Sequentiality as the basis of constituent structure. In: Malle, B./ T. Givon (eds.): The rise of
language out of pre-language. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 109-134.
Hopper, P. (2001): Hendiadys and auxiliation in English. In: Bybee, J./ M. Noonan (eds.): Complex sentences in
grammar and discourse. Essays in honour of Sandra A. Thompson. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 145-173.
Lehmann, C. (1985): Synchronic variation and diachronic change. In: Lingua e Stile 20,. 303-318.
Quirk, R. et al (1985): A comprehensive grammar of the English language. London: Longman.
Wichmann, A. (2006): Prosody and discourse: a diachronic approach. In: Proceedings IDP05 “Interface DiscoursProsodie (Discourse-Prosody interface)“, 8-9 September 2005, Aix-en-Provence, France.
(http://aune.lpl.univ-aix.fr/~prodige/idp05/actes/wichmann.pdf; 21-12-2007).
Joan C. Beal
(University of Sheffield)
The grocer’s apostrophe: popular prescriptivism in the 21st century
Thursday, 15:30 – 16:00, Room 1015
In 2003, the best-selling non-fiction book in the UK was Lynn Truss’s Eats Shoots and Leaves: a
zero-tolerance guide to punctuation. This publication seemed to tap into the zeitgeist of early
21st-century Britain with its humorous ridicule of ‘misplaced apostrophes’ and licensing of
prescriptivism in the persona of the ‘stickler’ who insists on ‘correct’ pronunciation, pointing to
the return of a complaint tradition normally associated in histories of English with the 18th
century. Further evidence of this is provided by the existence of organisations such as the
Apostrophe Protection Society, news stories such as that concerning the withdrawal of a line of
children’s clothing from Marks and Spencer because of a customer’s complaint about a
misplaced apostrophe in the printing, and even a quiz programme on BBC4 entitled ‘Never Mind
the Full Stops’.
In this paper, I shall examine a range of evidence from printed and web-based sources to gauge
the extent of interest in punctuation, and the kinds of discourse employed in discussion of these
matters. I shall also compare this with the comparative lack of attention paid to punctuation by
18th-century ‘prescriptivists’. I shall also consider why prescriptivism has returned with such a
vengeance in the 21st century, and why punctuation is the main focus of attention.
Annette Becker
(University of Frankfurt)
Appraisal in (inter-)action
Wednesday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1023
This paper explores different aspects of appraisal in (inter-)action. Firstly, it briefly outlines the
status of appraisal within the interpersonal system of tenor, one of the three dimensions of
register examined by systemic functional linguistics, where it has been described as
complementing the systems of negation and involvement (Martin and White 2005). Secondly,
the extendability of appraisal theory, an approach originally developed for the analysis of the
language of evaluation in written monologic discourse, to spoken dialogic interaction is
discussed on the basis of empirical data from British political interviews. Thirdly, suggestions
are made as to the integration of insights from pragmatics in order to answer some of the
questions that the appraisal framework at its present state leaves unanswered regarding the
analysis of spoken dialogic interaction, such as the interpretation and interactive negotiation of
indirectness and implicit meaning, especially via conversational implicature and presupposition.
Such pragmatic resources are also highly relevant for the construction and modification of
evaluative meanings in spoken dialogic interaction, but have not yet been systematically treated
within appraisal theory (Simon-Vandenbergen et al. 2007). However, all three subsystems of the
appraisal framework – attitude, graduation, and engagement – can be expanded to account for
these phenomena as well, as this paper sets out to demonstrate.
Martin, James R. and Peter R. R. White (2005) The Language of Evaluation. Appraisal in English. London:
Palgrave Macmillan.
Simon-Vandenbergen, Anne-Marie et al. (2007) “Presupposition and ‘taking-for-granted’ in mass communicated
political argument: An illustration from British, Flemish and Swedish political colloquy.” In: Fetzer, Anita
and Gerda Eva Lauerbach, eds. Political Discourse in the Media. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 31-74.
Melanie Bell
(University of Cambridge)
Noun noun constructions and the assignment of stress
Wednesday, 14:30 – 15:00, Room 1019
In English, noun noun strings (NNs) have sometimes been analysed as compounds if unmarked
stress falls on the first element, but as noun phrases if it falls on the second (eg Bloomfield 1935,
Marchand 1969, Haspelmath 2002). However, the facts do not support this analysis:
combinations with certain nouns are always stressed on N1, while other constituents
systematically assign stress to N2, and there are many combinations that show variable stress,
both between and within speakers. Using evidence from corpora and elicitation experiments, this
paper argues that English NNs are not stressed according to a morphological/syntactic divide,
but on the basis of analogical patterns in the mental lexicon, themselves the products of semantic
and historical factors.
Firstly, it is shown that a syntactic analysis of NNs, regardless of their stress pattern, necessitates
the formulation of exceptional phrase-structure rules. The view taken in this paper, that all
English NNs are in fact compound words, avoids postulating the existence of such atypical
phrases and is consistent with analyses of cognate constructions elsewhere in Germanic.
Secondly, it is argued that stress is assigned to these compounds largely by analogy with related
concatenations, a conclusion supported by Spencer (2003) and by Plag et al (2007). The
contribution of the present work is to consider how such analogical patterns are established, and
evidence is presented for the involvement of semantic and historical factors.
Finally, the considerable inter-speaker variation revealed by the elicitation data suggests that, for
many of these items, stress is not a categorical property of the construction, but rather a product
of the mental lexicon of the individual. Despite being structurally compounds, some NNs are
clearly more phrase-like than others, and those in families with compositional, phrase-like
semantics tend also to have more phrase-like prosody. The stress assigned depends essentially on
how separate the elements are felt to be in the mind of the speaker.
Alexander Bergs and Lena Heine
(University of Osnabrück)
Constructive questions in spoken language:
a CxG approach to variation in question formation
Friday, 15:00 – 15:30, Room 1098
Much work on language in general and English in particular has focused on micro-linguistic
descriptions of grammatical rules that govern the linguistic system – in particular the
grammatical system of written, standard varieties. Features such as socio-cultural context,
cognitive mechanisms and actual processing factors, which are particularly interesting and
important for spoken language, have often been neglected.
Nevertheless, research with a focus on communicative and discourse functions, contextual
factors, and features of language in use, has already identified specific phenomena of
spontaneous spoken language which also warrant systematic analyses. In some cases (e.g. the
Mad-Magazine Construction ‘Him, a doctor?!’) these phenomena cannot easily be explained
with the rigid rule-based explanations of traditional linguistics, with its focus on grammaticality
and the strict division of language structure and language use.
In this paper, we will concentrate on one particular phenomenon of spoken language which has
hitherto been largely ignored: the case of (seemingly) elliptical utterances with interrogative
function of the type
‘Want some coffee?’ or
‘Heard of it?’
Based on a random sampling from corpora of spoken English, we will examine the gradient
forms of syntactic reductions, which reveal intermediate steps between the full (standard,
written, ‘grammatical’) form ‘Do you want some coffee?’ and the most reduced ‘Coffee?’ (e.g.,
‘You want some coffee?’, ‘Want some coffee?’, ‘Some coffee?’). Our analysis will start from
actual data, i.e. from language use, and will be couched in construction grammar terms. The
central question will be whether the individual degrees of reduction simply constitute a case of
ellipsis and should thus be analysed as instances (‘constructs’) of a single construction, or
whether some or even all of them form individual constructions in their own right with complex
and subtle morphosyntactic constraints and pragmatic functions. Our analysis will thus have to
probe into pragmatic principles, frequency, and gradience as one central principle of language, in
order to evaluate whether these factors and their treatment in CxG have actually more
explanatory power regarding this feature of spoken discourse than minimal sets of traditional
categorical rules of syntax.
Eva Berlage
(University of Paderborn)
Is more wordy more complex? Why longer NPs are not always more difficult to process
than shorter ones
Wednesday, 16:30 – 17:00, Room 1098
This paper reviews the common claim that longer NPs are more complex to process than their
shorter counterparts. While Arnold et al. (2000), Wasow (2002), Szmrecsanyi (2004), Bresnan et
al. (2007) and others have attested a general correlation between the length and the structural
composition of an NP in the sense that longer NPs are also grammatically more complex than
shorter ones, the present paper argues that this tendency cannot be generalized.
In order to test the hypothesis against empirical data, large scale empirical analyses of British
and American newspapers explore the relevance of NP-length and NP-structure for the four
cases of grammatical variation delineated below:
She helps the people who are out of work (to) find new jobs.
He took his enemies prisoner. /He took prisoner his enemies.
Notwithstanding the brilliant defence by his lawyer, he was found guilty. /The
brilliant defence by his lawyer notwithstanding, he was found guilty.
As far as working in the garden is concerned/goes/Ø, it is a very healthy sport.
The analyses illustrate that both parameters function as independent determinants of grammatical
variation in the cases of infinitival variation following help and take s.o. prisoner. On the
contrary, variation involving notwithstanding and the topic-restricting as far as construction
responds just to the effects of NP-structure.
Overall, the results clearly defy the above claim that the length of an NP always accounts for its
complexity. The remainder of this paper suggests criteria according to which we may predict if a
given phenomena is sensitive to the effects of NP-length and NP-structure or whether it reacts to
the influence of one parameter exclusively.
Douglas Biber
(University of Northern Arizona)
The historical shift of formal expository writing in English towards less explicit
(and less elaborated) styles of expression
Thursday, 10:30 – 11:00, Room 1098
This talk describes how specialist expository writing in English has steadily evolved over the
past few centuries to become increasingly different from the prose (and speech) styles attested in
earlier centuries. In particular, the study investigates the hypothesis that expository prose styles
have evolved to become increasingly less explicit in the marking of textual meaning
relationships (and perhaps also less structurally elaborated). This general trend is documented
through historical analysis of a wide spectrum of structural devices, all of which reflect a shift
from the use of finite clauses (marked for agency, tense, aspect, etc.) to the increased use of nonfinite clauses and phrases without verbs. Specifically, reflecting this general trend, the following
linguistic features are hypothesized to have increased in use:
• nouns and adjectives as nominal premodifiers,
• prepositional phrases as nominal postmodifiers,
• non-finite (versus finite) relative clauses,
• appositives,
• the use of colons and semi-colons versus linking adverbials to mark textual relations,
• non-finite (vs. finite) adverbial subordination;
• adverbial clauses that have ambiguous meanings; e.g. as, while, since
• non-finite (vs. finite) complement clauses;
• a general shift from Verb + complement clause structures to adjective + complement
clause and noun + complement clause structures
• extraposed constructions
Markus Bieswanger
(University of Flensburg)
A decade on: a micro-diachronic analysis of an English-based discussion forum
Saturday, 10:30 – 11:00, Room 1021
It is 10 years now since the relevant technological specifications for creating Internet-based
discussion forums were published by the World Wide Web Consortium. Linguistic research on
computer-mediated communication (CMC), however, has so far for the most part concentrated
on language use and discourse patterns in other modes of CMC, particularly on email and chat
communication. The language use in discussion forums has not been studied systematically,
despite the popularity and prevalence of discussion forums on the Internet. The paper presents
the results of a linguistic analysis of a long-running English-based discussion forum on aviationrelated topics. The main research questions of the paper are: How frequent are alleged linguistic
features of electronic communication in English-language discussion forums and does the
observed language use show patterns that could be considered characteristics of a kind of “forum
English”? How and why has the language use in one English-based discussion forum changed
over the past decade? The paper will also address the question of the potential of publicly
available authentic language in discussion forums for fields such as sociolinguistics and ELF
The study is based on two parallel subcorpora of language data from an international discussion
English-based forum which receives contributions by both native speakers as well as non-native
speakers of English. Both subcorpora consist of the same number of threads from 1999 and 2007
respectively, allowing detailed synchronic analyses of each subcorpus as well as a systematic
micro-diachronic comparison.
Carolin Biewer
(University of Zurich)
Expressing modality in inner and outer circle varieties of English
Thursday, 11:00 – 11.30, Room 1016
Studies on concord patterns and perfect constructions in South Pacific Englishes (Biewer, to
appear) have shown that the newly emerging varieties of English in Fiji, Samoa and the Cook
Islands are influenced by several factors in their development: second language acquisition, the
local substrate languages, angloversals and exonormative influences of inner circle varieties of
English, in particular New Zealand English (NZE).
To gain a profound insight into the interplay of these factors this paper deals with yet another
morpho-syntactic area, the expression of modality in these outer circle varieties of English in
comparison to American English, British English and New Zealand English. A special focus will
be placed on the indication of obligation and necessity. In British and American English the
usage of must and shall has decreased while the usage of need to or have to has increased (Mair,
2006: 107f). Do the outer circle varieties in question show a similar trend? Will the social
hierarchy and the politeness system in the Pacific show some effect on the expression of
obligation and necessity in English in the ‘outer’ colonies? What is the role of NZE?
Data will be taken from a corpus of newspaper articles downloaded from the internet from
newspapers representing the different inner and outer circle varieties. For Fiji English, British
English and NZE the press sections of the ICE corpora will also be included. The paper discusses
the results as a further step towards a general description of South Pacific Englishes.
Biewer, Carolin (to appear in 2008) “South Pacific Englishes – unity and diversity in the usage of the present
perfect.” In Terttu Nevalainen et al. (eds.) Dynamics of Linguistic Variation: Corpus Evidence on English
Past and Present, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Biewer, Carolin (to appear in 2008) “Concord patterns in South Pacific Englishes – the influence of New Zealand
English and the local substrate.” In Stierstorfer, K. et al. (eds.) Proceedings Anglistentag 2007 Münster.
Mair, Christian (2006) Twentieth Century English. Cambridge: CUP.
Christina Bismark
(University of Freiburg)
Between Northern Subject Rule and semantic reinterpretation:
verbal -s in old and new varieties of English
Thursday, 11:30 – 12.00, Room 1016
The Standard English present tense verbal paradigm displays person-number inflection of the 3rd
person singular. In many non-standard varieties of English, however, the suffix -s occurs with
the 3rd person plural as well or is present throughout the paradigm. This deviation from the
Standard paradigm may be caused by a number of factors, one of which is the Northern Subject
Rule (NSR). It most strongly determines -s marking of 3rd persons in the Northern part of the
British Isles but may also apply throughout the paradigm and in other areas of the UK. Even for
transported varieties of English, the NSR is attested, although here as in the varieties of South
England -s marking tends to be determined by one of its parts, the Type of Subject Constraint,
only. In addition, varieties of English in the British Isles as well as transported varieties display
generalized -s marking throughout the paradigm irrespectively of the two above constraints and
may be reinterpreted subsequently. In the case of past be such reinterpretation results in -s
implying positivity and thus unmarkedness.
On the basis of these observations it will be argued that -s marking in varieties of English in the
British Isles as well as in transported varieties of English is subject to a gradual process of
simplification. In the course of this process the NSR as a very complex constraint is simplified in
that it is split with only one of its two parts, the Type of Subject Constraint, remaining. Also
nonstandard -s starts to spread from 3rd persons to all other members of the paradigm, i.e.
regularization takes place. Where it is not conditioned by Type of Subject regularized -s has no
meaning and will consequently be reinterpreted in terms of semantics.
It will further be suggested that whereas the traditional constraint NSR is a conditioning factor
transported to other areas by emigrants from the British Isles, the process of simplification took
place independently in source and target region.
Christiane M. Bongartz and Stavroula Tsiplakou
(University of Cologne / University of Cyprus)
When is a variety a variety? Discovering Cyprus English
Wednesday, 16:30 – 17.00, Room 1021
To date, research into the multilingual situation on the island of Cyprus has not yet
systematically explored the English spoken there, in spite of a rich colonial history and a
prominent role of English in the education system. Our paper seeks to provide a first piece of
evidence for the (potential) status of Cyprus English as a variety properly belonging to what we
now refer to as World Englishes.
Our study takes a contrastive approach and investigates speaker intuitions in wh-questions.
Taking a minimalist syntactic approach, we investigate effects of bilingualism that can be traced
back to features of Cypriot Greek, not standard Greek. The specific and pervasive effects of the
language contact situation in the domain of wh-sentences we conclude makes it likely that such
effects could also be found in other domains, hence justifying a research program that seeks to
establish further the variety status of Cyprus English.
The data in this pilot study come from 20 speakers of English with Cypriot Greek and Standard
Greek as their other languages, 20 speakers of English with only Standard Greek as their other
language, and 20 English-only speakers. The non-native speakers were fluent in English and had
received literacy training. They were asked for timed and scaled grammaticality judgments on
100 sentences, with 20 each targeting wh-forms relevant to the contrastive hypotheses. Cypriot
Greek and Standard Greek speakers differed significantly from each other, as well as from the
control group (One-Way ANOVA; p<.05).
Tine Breban and Kristin Davidse
(University of Leuven)
The complex deictic semantics of the indefinite determiner + postdeterminer unit in
Saturday, 10:30 – 11:00, Room 1023
In the English noun phrase (NP) the deictic status of the referent is expressed by determiners.
Often, however, determiners alone are not sufficient to describe the complex relation between
the referent and the speech situation as deictic reference point. Then supplementary deictic
information can be given by a ‘post-Deictic’ (Halliday 1994) or ‘postdeterminer’ (Sinclair 1990),
e.g. opposite in the opposite side of the bridge. Davidse and Breban (2006) refer to the process
by which adjectives acquire postdeterminer meanings as deictification. Because the secondary
deictic information is ‘bound’ to that of the determiner, postdeterminers express different deictic
values depending on the determiner they occur with. In the context of definite reference, the
determiner signals identifiability of the referent. The postdeterminer specifies how identification
can be achieved on the basis of deictic notions such as identity (the same), location in time (the
old), etc.
The secondary deictic import of postdeterminers occurring with indefinite determiners has not
been studied in detail so far (only Denison 2006). This can perhaps be attributed to the fact that
indefinite reference has traditionally been negatively defined as signalling non-identifiability of
referents. Recent studies (Langacker 1991, Gundel et al. 1993, Davidse 2004) have dealt with
positive cognitive operations involved: the hearer is instructed to conjure up instances as
corresponding to an identifiable type. Further subtypes are defined by the question whether
specific, arbitrary or representative instances are denoted. We will argue that postdeterminer
adjectives have evolved in indefinite NPs to overtly indicate these distinctions, which are not
signalled by simple indefinite determiners. On the basis of corpus analysis of adjectives such as
new, certain, particular, etc., we will draw up a first general conceptual analysis of the central
subtypes and more fine-grained meanings (“referent known to some of the speech participants”
(a certain) (Close 1975, Hopper and Martin 1987)), of indefinite reference that these
postdeterminers can express.
Close, R.A. (1975) A Reference Grammar for Students of English. London: Longman.
Davidse, Kristin (2004) “The interaction of identification and quantification in English determiners”. In Michel
Achard and Suzanne Kemmer, eds. Language, Culture and Mind. Stanford: CSLI Publications. 507-533.
Davidse, Kristin and Tine Breban (2006) Deictification: The Development of Postdeterminer Uses of Adjectives.
Preprint nr. 250. Department of Linguistics. K.U.Leuven.
Denison, David (2006) “Category change and gradience in the determiner system”. In Ans van Kemenade and
Bettelou Los, eds. The Handbook of the History of English. Oxford: Blackwell. 279-304.
Gundel, Jeanette K., Nancy Hedberg and Ron Zacharski (1993) “Cognitive status and the form of referring
expressions in discourse”. Language 69: 274-307.
Halliday, M.A.K. (1994) An Introduction to Functional Grammar. Second Edition. London: Arnold.
Hopper, Paul J. and Janice Martin (1987) “Structuralism and diachrony: the development of the indefinite article in
English”. In Anna Giacalone Ramat, Onofrio Carruba and Giuliano Bernini, eds. Papers from the 7th
International Conference on Historical Linguistics. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 295-304.
Langacker, Ronald W. (1991) Foundations of Cognitive Grammar. Volume II: Descriptive Application. Stanford:
Stanford University Press.
Sinclair, John, ed. (1990) Collins COBUILD English Grammar. London: HarperCollins.
Lieselotte Brems
(University of Leuven)
The synchronic layering of English size noun uses:
collocationally constrained constructions and grammaticalization
Friday, 14:30 – 15:00, Room 1015
My presentation concerns the synchronic variation in binominal size noun uses, as attested in
corpus data. With size nouns (SNs), I refer to nominal expressions which, in addition to their
lexical meaning, designate size, e.g. bunch(es)/heap(s)/pile(s)/load(s) of and bit/scrap/jot of.
These patterns display polysemy that revolves around head versus modifier uses (cf. Brems
He tries to reach a bunch of grapes that hangs too high. (COBUILD)
There’s now a whole bunch of studies from different cities that show the same
things. (COBUILD)
Most of them are a right bunch of misery guts. (COBUILD)
There is not a scrap of evidence that progesterone therapy forPMS works.
I will argue that describing this polysemy requires looking at these patterns as constructions that
are collocationally constrained, pre or postnominally, e.g. bunch of grapes/parsley vs. whole
bunch of people/lies (cf. Goldberg’s 2006 ‘partially filled constructions’). A (dependency-based),
functional-cognitive model of the NP, combining insights from Langacker (1991), Halliday
(1994) and McGregor (1997), alone cannot predict or account for this collocational
‘predetermination’. The synchronic variation in SN-uses, as illustrated by (1)-(4), is furthermore
argued to reflect synchronic ‘layering’ (Hopper 1991), viz. it is the result of grammaticalization
and (inter-)subjectification (cf. Traugott 2006), involving head to modifier reanalyses and
extension or restructuring of collocational range/patterns of SNs. Meshing grammaticalization
research more strongly with CxG and corpus studies leads to greater descriptive accuracy and
allows to define key concepts in grammaticalization such as reanalysis, analogy and
delexicalization more precisely in terms of the functional and formal approximation of a source
construction to a target construction, the characteristics of which it gradually acquires, while
potentially also retaining properties idiosyncratic of it (Traugott 2006, Langacker forthcoming).
Such an eclectic constructional approach can describe the NP as a true locus of variation and
change as well as cater for collocationally filled-in patterns.
Brems, Lieselotte (2007) The synchronic layering of size noun and type noun constructions in English. Unpublished
PhD Thesis. University of Leuven.
Goldberg, Adele (2006) Constructions at Work: The Nature of Generalization in Language. New York: Oxford
University Press.
Halliday, M.A.K. (1994) An Introduction to Functional Grammar. 2nd Edition. London: Arnold.
Hopper, Paul J. (1991) “On some principles of grammaticization”. In Elizabeth Closs Traugott and Bernd Heine,
eds. Approaches to Grammaticalization, Vol. I. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 17-36.
Langacker, Ronald W. (1991) Foundations of Cognitive Grammar. Volume 2: Descriptive Application. Stanford:
Stanford University Press.
Langacker, Ronald W. forthcoming. “A constructional approach to Grammaticalization”.
McGregor, William B. (1997) Semiotic Grammar. Oxford: Clarendon.
Traugott, Elizabeth Closs (2006) “Constructions and language change revisited: the concepts of constructional
emergence and coercion from the perspective of grammaticalization”. Paper presented at CGN 3,
Düsseldorf, 1-2 April 2006.
Carsten Breul
(University of Wuppertal)
On a contrast between English and German copular sentences
Thursday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1019
English and German show a contrast in subject-verb agreement in copula sentences of the type
The winner is me / Der Gewinner bin ich. This talk presents an analysis of this contrast and
suggests ingredients of an explanation for it. The key assumption is that the syntactic subject
function is conversely realized by the pre- and postcopular DPs in English as opposed to German
sentences of this type. The account of how this difference in the realization of the subject
function comes about makes crucial use of considerations concerning grammatical case and
inflectional morphology. Information structural aspects are taken into account in order to come
to terms with the constituent order peculiarities displayed by copular sentences.
Charlotte Brewer
(University of Oxford)
Prescriptivism and descriptivism in the OED
Thursday, 14:00 – 14:30, Room 1015
One of the most valued characteristics of the OED is its impartial and objective record of the
English language. As its founders described, ‘The mere merit of a word in an artistic or aesthetic
point of view is a consideration, which the Lexicographer cannot for a moment entertain…the
literary merit or demerit of any particular writer, like the comparative elegance or inelegance of
any given word, is a subject upon which the Lexicographer is bound to be almost indifferent.’
Prescriptivism crept into this great work nevertheless, whether in the application of labels like
‘erroneous’ and ‘catachrestic’ to usages widely attested, or in suggestions for how words should
be pronounced (e.g. omitting the initial ‘p’ in words beginning ps- was, in OED’s view, a
pronunciation ‘irretrievably mutilated by popular use’). The OED’s preference for canonical,
literary works as citation sources was a form of covert prescriptivism (given that quotations from
real usage are the primary data on which the OED is based), and the same could be said of
OED’s omissions of certain terms (e.g. lesbian, ‘female homosexual’).
When R. W. Burchfield came to edit the twentieth-century Supplement to the OED, published
1972-86, he widened its remit in a programme of conscious descriptivism – increasing the range
of quotation sources, and including more colloquial words, especially those relating to sexual
and excretory functions. But as Burchfield himself admitted, he also introduced overtly
prescriptive comments on usages of which he disapproved: ‘here and there…I have found myself
adding my own opinions about the acceptability of certain words or meanings in educated use’.
My paper will discuss these issues and examine how Burchfield’s return to prescriptivism in the
Supplement – reproduced in the 1989 second edition of OED – is being treated in the third
edition of the OED currently underway (2000-).
Cristiano Broccias
(University of Genova)
Viewing coextension: a cognitive analysis of oriented -ly adjuncts
Wednesday, 17:30 – 18:00, Room 1098
-ly adjuncts have seldom been the object of investigation in cognitive approaches to English
syntax/semantics. Langacker (1991) views them, rather traditionally, as involving a relation
between a processual trajector and a region along a comparison scale, see also Nakamura (1997).
However, neither scholar addresses the issue of participant-orientedness of -ly adjuncts. Geuder
(2000), working in a neo-Davidsonian framework, points out that -ly adjuncts can refer to a
property of one of the event’s participants, as in (1) and (2), see also Himmelmann and SchultzeBerndt (2005):
(1) Tom shouted at them angrily. (i.e. in an angry manner Æ Tom seems to be angry)
(2) Tom angrily shouted at them. (i.e. out of anger Æ Tom is angry)
Angrily in (1) is classified as a manner adverb by Geuder (2000), who (see also Ernst 2001),
contends that the verbal event suggests/manifests the property of Tom’s being angry. By
contrast, angrily in (2) is classified as a transparent adverb because the adverb only describes the
state Tom is in (and this state is the motive for his shouting): the adverb doesn’t describe how the
action was performed.
In this paper, I will contend that these two different interpretations of the -ly adjunct can be
easily accounted for within a Cognitive Linguistic framework by appealing to the notion of
viewing arrangement. In “manner” cases, the conceptualizer (i.e. the speaker) is external w.r.t.
the event, whereas in “transparent cases” the conceptualizer is internal w.r.t. it. To put it
differently, in the former case she is non-omniscient and hence must deduce participant-oriented
properties on the basis of an external input, while in the latter case she is omniscient and thus has
access to participant-oriented properties.
I will also argue that this view should go in hand in hand with a schematic characterization of -ly
adverbs whereby two events A and B are construed as being coextensive. As is shown by
Broccias (2003) for so-called change-constructions, (the construal of) coextension can result
from three different arrangements, schematically: A Æ B, B Æ A, and A // B (see also
Fauconnier and Turner 2003 on such blending operations). That is, A can be the motive (or
cause) for B, as in (2), with A = (be) angry and B = shout. A can be the consequence (or result)
of B, as in Geuder’s (2000) example He angrily read the letter (where the state of being angry,
A, obtains as a consequence of reading the letter, i.e. B). Finally, A (be angry) can simply unfold
together with B (shout), as in (1). I will argue that motive and consequence are compatible with
conceptualizer’s omniscience, and simple coextension with lack of it.
In sum, by invoking (a) a schematic characterization of -ly adjuncts based on principled blending
operations and (b) the notion of viewing arrangement, it is possible to account for the flexibility
in the interpretation of -ly adjuncts in a psychologically plausible way.
Broccias, C. (2003) The English Change Network. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Ernst, T. (2001) The Syntax of Adjuncts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fauconnier, G. and M. Turner (2003) The Way We Think. New York: Basic Books.
Geuder, W. (2000) Oriented Adverbs. Ph.D. Thesis, Universität Tübingen.
Himmelmann, N. and E. Schultze-Berndt (eds.) (2005) Secondary Predication and Adverbial Modification. The
Typology of Depictives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Langacker, R. (1991) Foundations of Cognitive Grammar. Vol. 2: Descriptive Application. Stanford: Stanford
University Press.
Nakamura, W. (1997) A cognitive approach to English adverbs. Linguistics 35: 247–287.
Kate Burridge
(University of Melbourne)
Linguistic cleanliness is next to godliness: prescription and taboo
Thursday, 17:00 – 17:30, Room 1015
In this talk I explore popular perceptions of language, in particular linguistic prescription. I focus
not on formal acts of censorship such as might be carried out by a language academy, but on the
attitudes and activities of ordinary people in, say, letters to newspapers or comments on radio. In
these contexts, language users act as self-appointed censors and take it upon themselves to
condemn those words and constructions that they feel do not measure up to the standards they
perceive should hold sway.
My comments have been inspired by published letters to editors and personal letters and emails I
have received over the years. The remarks are also informed by more than sixteen years
involvement with the ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation), preparing and presenting
weekly programs on language for radio and more recently television. Much of this work involves
“talkback” radio whereby members of the public phone in and put directly on air their
observations on language and queries about usage. Very often these calls involve complaints
about change and the language of others; i.e. their so-called bad grammar, sloppy pronunciation,
new-fangled words, vulgar colloquialisms, unwanted jargon and, of course, foreign items. The
comments are often passionate and frequently angry.
I argue that speakers’ concerns for the well-being of their language and the kind of linguistic
censorship and puristic activities that accompany these concerns belong to our tabooing
behaviour generally. Prescriptive practices are part of the human struggle to control unruly
nature – in this case, to define language and to force the reality of ‘the boundless chaos of a
living speech’ (as Samuel Johnson put it in his Preface) into neat classificatory systems. As with
tabooing practices generally, linguistic purists see a very clear distinction between what is clean
and what is dirty – in this case, what is desirable and undesirable in a language. Linguists who
challenge these prescriptions are challenging their “cherished classifications”. Small wonder
there is such a schism between linguistics and the wider community.
Beatrix Busse
(University of Münster)
Discourse presentation in 19th-century English
Thursday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1098
The project to be presented is a systematic investigation of speech, writing and thought
presentation in a selected electronic corpus of 19th-c. narrative fiction. My research is useful,
because a systematic corpus-based approach to discourse presentation does not exist for 19th-c.
British English narrative fiction. So far only Fludernik (1993) has explicitly shown the
importance of systematically investigating diachronic aspects within narratology.
I will apply the Semino and Short (2004) approach, with modifications (Short 2007), to 19th-c.
material to investigate the types, distribution and functions of speech, writing and thought
presentation and the ways in which the different categories of speech, writing and thought
presentation relate to one another.
I will also compare my 19th-c. corpus with the 20th-c. results gained by Semino and Short (2004)
(i) to discover diachronic change and stability in the way speech, writing and thought are
presented and (ii) to critically test the Semino and Short (2004) model on more
difficult/historical data and (iii) to meet the “need for analysing nineteenth-century English as a
link between Present-day and earlier periods of English” (Kytö, Ryden and Smitterberg 2006: 3).
Related to this is a discussion of the pragmatic ways in which the investigation of discourse
presentation contributes to what Trudgill and Watts (2002: 3) have labelled “alternative histories
of English.”
Problematic methodological issues will equally be discussed. These relate to the choice of the
corpus of 2,000-word chunks from 20 novels, which is based on diachronic, thematic, generic
considerations and considerations of point of view. They also relate to the online and postprocessed tagging, and the phenomenon of annotating ambiguity.
On a qualitative base, the investigation of the historisation of speech, writing and thought
presentation will address the functional potential of discourse presentation in context, such issues
as characterisation, the role of the narrator and the reader with attention to the reader’s
manipulation through the interplay between discourse presentation and context, aspects of
subjectivity, and the relationship between context, narration as well as paralinguistic features and
discourse presentation.
Fludernik, M. The Fictions of Language and the Languages of Fiction. London, New York: Routledge, 1993.
Kytö, M., Ryden, M., and E. Smitterberg. Nineteenth-Century English. Stability and Change. Cambridge: CUP,
Semino, E., and M. Short. Corpus Stylistics: Speech, Writing and Thought Presentation in a Corpus of English
Writing. Routledge Advances in Corpus Linguistics 5. London, New York: Routledge, 2004.
Short, M. “Thought Presentation Twenty-Five Years On.” Style 41.2 (2007): 227-243.
Trudgill, P., and R. Watts. “Introduction. In the Year 2525.” Alternative Histories of English. Ed. P. Trudgill and R.
Watts. London, New York: Routledge, 2002. 1-3.
Ulrich Busse and Anne Schröder
(University of Halle)
How Fowler became ‘The Fowler’
Thursday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1015
One could argue that not much communication takes place between linguists and the general
public, and if it does that the topics of interest, or even concern, the principles of investigation,
and the modes of discourse seem to be working along different lines. In other words, even
though the object of description, e.g. the English or German etc. language is the same, what
actually concerns the general public and what interests linguists can be two different things. This
can be demonstrated, for instance, by the amazing commercial success of books such as Bastian
Sick’s Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod and its sequels (2004-2006) in Germany, which
indicates that the general public and thus the ‘normal’ language users are worried about or at
least interested in what is to be considered ‘correct’ usage. Similar phenomena can also be
observed for the English-speaking world. The ‘bestseller’ Eats, Shoots and Leaves. The Zero
Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss (2003) may serve as a recent example. Even
if we accept that what lay people think about grammar and usage and what linguists make of this
topic, can, at times, be very different things, issues like those above show that usage “matters”.
If native speakers and non-native speakers alike are insecure about a question of usage, apart
from grammar books and dictionaries they often consult usage guides and tend to regard the
information given there as authoritative, hardly ever questioning the tenets or even bias of such
reference works. Henry W. Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1926) can be
regarded as a role model for this type of reference book in Britain, “a volume that occupie[s] the
family bookshelf alongside the Bible and a dictionary” and which “clearly has the status of an
authority” (Bex 1999: 93). Its immense success and popularity, with new editions in 1965
(revised by Sir Ernest Gowers) and in 1996 (further revised by Robert Burchfield), certainly calls
for an explanation. Modern linguistics, however, has tended either to ignore usage guides or to
dismiss them as unscholarly works of old-fashioned philologists. Therefore, the underlying idea
of the paper is twofold: 1) to investigate the impact of Fowler on the general public, and 2) to
scrutinise scholarly opinion about Fowler by having a look at critical reviews of the three
editions of Modern English Usage.
Bex, Tony (1999) “Representations of English in Twentieth-Century Britain: Fowler, Gowers and Partridge.” In:
Tony Bex and Richard J. Watts, eds. Standard English. The Widening Debate. London/New York:
Routlede, 89-109.
Burchfield, Robert W. (1996) The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage. Oxford: Oxford UP. 3rd revised edition.
Fowler, Henry W. (1926) A Dictionary of Modern English Usage. Oxford: Oxford UP. (2002 reissue, Oxford
Language Classics).
Gowers, Ernest (1965) A Dictionary of Modern English Usage. Oxford: Oxford UP. 2nd revised edition.
Sick, Bastian (2004-2006) Der Dativ ist dem Genetiv sein Tod. Folge 1-3. Köln: KiepenheuerandWitsch.
Truss, Lynne (2003) Eats, Shoots and Leaves. The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. London: Profile
Lynn Clark
(University of Newcastle)
A usage-based approach to phonological variation and change: using non-standard
varieties as a testing ground
Friday, 10:30 – 11:00, Room 1019
Much of the research on usage based models of language (e.g. Bybee 2006) has been based on
data extracted from large corpora or frequency counts such as in the CELEX lexical database
(e.g. Hay 2001). While these methods allow access to large quantities of data, they often
combine data from a number of different styles and dialects into the same analysis, forcing the
researcher to model theories of language change on abstract language varieties such as
‘American English’. These methods pose particular problems for the usage-based approach
which assumes that the speakers’ linguistic system is abstracted largely from their previous
experience and, hence, that frequency effects need not be consistent across all varieties or
speakers. There is therefore a mismatch between the fundamental assumptions of the usagebased approach and the current methodological practices in which these assumptions are tested.
This paper aims to redress this mismatch by considering the role of lexical frequency (in a usagebased model of phonological change) in light of new dialect data from east-central Scotland.
Specifically, this paper adopts a methodology which treats lexical frequency as a local
phenomenon and examines the effects of lexical frequency on phonological variation and change
across a number of idiolects, highlighting individual speaker variation.
The data are from a corpus of 38 hours of conversation (roughly 370,000 words), collected from
a community in west Fife. The corpus was compiled over a two year period using the
ethnographic technique of participant observation.
This paper uses dialect data to test the claim that lexical items with high token frequency are
more likely to undergo phonetic reduction. The results presented here are from multiple
regression analyses of two linguistic variables: TH-Fronting and BIT-centralisation. These
results suggest that while lexical frequency is a significant motivating factor in predicting
retraction of the BIT vowel for these speakers, this is in the opposite direction from that which is
expected by the usage-based model i.e. high frequency lexical items are less likely to undergo
vowel retraction than low frequency items for these speakers. In contrast, TH-Fronting follows
the pattern expected of phonetic reduction, yet TH-fronting is not a phonetically motivated sound
change; rather it is primarily a socially driven change in this community. These results suggest
that the assumptions of the usage-based model are not always borne out when tested on nonstandard idiolects, highlighting the need to employ this type of data when testing theories of
language change.
Joanne Close and Bas Aarts
(University College London)
Changes in the use of the modals HAVE TO, HAVE GOT TO and MUST
Wednesday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1098
Investigations of corpus data have shown frequency shifts in the ‘core’ and ‘semi’ modals, a
decrease in the former and an increase in the latter. More specifically, in the realm of deontic
modality, MUST is said to be in decline while HAVE TO and HAVE GOT TO are on the rise (Krug
2000, Leech 2003, Smith 2003). Other previous work comparing HAVE TO and HAVE GOT TO has
given contradictory results. For instance, while Coates (1983) states that HAVE GOT TO is the
most common form in spoken British English, Tagliamonte and Smith (2006) illustrate that
HAVE TO is on the increase and is the preferred form in a number of regional dialects of English.
This paper investigates the use of HAVE TO, HAVE GOT TO and MUST in the Diachronic Corpus
of Present-Day Spoken English (DCPSE) in a number of environments in which either of the
three forms could occur (for instance, as HAVE GOT TO and MUST do not have nonfinite forms,
nonfinite forms of HAVE TO are excluded). DCPSE is fully parsed and annotated and contains
400,000 words from the London-Lund Corpus (LLC, collected the 1960s-early 1980s) and
400,000 words from the International Corpus of English (ICE-GB; collected in the early 1990s).
DCPSE is particularly well suited for the study current change in English as the data spans three
decades. A comparison of HAVE TO and HAVE GOT TO in DCPSE will not only shed light on the
contradictory results mentioned above, but will also give an insight into the directionality of
language change. This paper will also address the grammatical and social factors driving the
change(s) in the modal system.
Coates, J. (1983) The Semantics of the Modal Auxiliaries. London: Croom Helm.
Krug, M. (2000) Emerging English Modals: A Corpus-Based Study of Grammaticalization. Berlin and New York:
Mouton de Gruyter.
Leech, G. (2003) “Modality on the move: the English modal auxiliaries 1961-1992.” In Facchinetti, R. et al.,
Modality in Contemporary English. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 223-240.
Smith, N. (2003b) Changes in modals and semi-modals of strong obligation and epistemic necessity in recent British
English. In Facchinetti, R. et al., Modality in Contemporary English. Berlin and New York: Mouton de
Gruyter. 241-266.
Tagliamonte, S. and J. Smith (2006) Layering, competition and a twist of fate. Diachronica 23: 2, 341-380.
Certainly, the 23 year gap between the work of Coates and Tagliamonte and Smith would seem to suggest
that if HAVE GOT TO was the most common form in 1983 and HAVE TO is the most common more
recently, that a change is taking/has taken place.
Timothy Colleman and Bernard De Clerck
(University of Ghent)
The polysemy of the English ditransitive construction: a diachronic account
Friday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1098
Goldberg’s version of Construction Grammar presents the English ditransitive [SBJ V OBJ1 OBJ2]
argument structure construction as a prime case of constructional polysemy: the construction’s
semantic structure consists of a family of related senses built around a prototypical ‘Agent
causes Recipient to receive Patient’ sense (Goldberg 1995, 2006). Each of the construction’s
subsenses is associated with one or a few semantic classes of verbs: the combination of verbs of
refusal such as deny and refuse with double object syntax, for instance, instantiates the subsense
‘Agent causes Recipient not to receive Patient’.
This paper explores the (recent) semantic history of the English ditransitive. On the basis of data
from the CLMET corpus of Late Modern British English (De Smet 2006), it will be shown that
in 17th- to 19th-century English, the construction was compatible with a larger array of semantic
verb classes than it is in the present-day version of the language. Examples of uses which have
either completely disappeared from the grammar or which have been marginalized include the
use of the ditransitive with ‘banishment’ verbs such as banish and dismiss, the use of the
ditransitive to encode “true” benefactive events which do not involve a subevent of reception
(e.g. ‘Open me the door’), and the use of the construction with attitudinal verbs such as envy and
forgive. These and other examples suggest that the semantic range of the construction has
decreased considerably over the last three to four centuries. The proposed paper will document
this semantic shift and will investigate to which extent these obsolete uses – and their demise –
can be accounted for within a polysemous approach to constructional semantics.
De Smet, Hendrik (2005) A corpus of Late Modern English. ICAME-Journal 29: 69-82. Goldberg, Adele E. 1995.
Constructions: a Construction Grammar Approach to Argument Structure. University of Chicago Press.
____ (2006) Constructions at Work: The Nature of Generalisation in Language. Oxford University Press.
Antoine Consigny and C. Yousfi
(University of Strasbourg)
A case of reduced polysemy: phrasal verbs and nominalisation
Wednesday, 12:30 – 13:00, Room 1019
The present study aims to look at the polysemy of phrasal verbs and their syntactic behaviour.
For our purpose, these are taken to include only verb + adverbial particle constructions. The
polysemous nature of PVs is not new. Whole dictionaries of phrasal verbs exist to show it. It has
also been the subject of numerous studies. However, most of the studies devoted to the meanings
of PVs have concerned either of two aspects. First, some have tried to show that PVs are
idiomatic, semantically opaque constructions (Fraser, 1974; Courtney, 1985, among others). This
claim has been shown not to be sufficiently sustained, which has led to the second aspect of
semantic studies of PVs, namely the semantic behaviour of the parts in the combination
(Lindner, 1981; Side, 1990; Consigny, 2000 etc.). To our knowledge, no study so far has studied
the relationship between the polysemy of PVs and their syntactic behaviour. By this is meant the
various parts of speech which can be taken on by a given PV – verb, noun, adjective.
Taking as a starting point the various meanings of PVs found in a corpus, the study then looks at
the way those meanings are selected when nominalisation occurs. In particular, the relationship
between nominalisation and the choice of preposition in postmodification is a factor for sense
distinction (Yousfi, 2003). This is in turn linked to the degree of lexicalisation of the nominalised
use of the PV. Once a PV has been relexicalised as a noun, then the latter seems to take on one
meaning and sometimes even orthographic status as a single word (e.g. “a takeover”). In other
words, it becomes somewhat stabilised, while more verbal forms will remain more polysemous,
in a similar way to the verb itself.
Claire Cowie
(University of Edinburgh)
The system of intensifiers in Indian English
Friday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1023
Accounts of the grammar of Indian English typically highlight a handful of features which
contrast with Standard British English, for example the extension of the progressive to stative
verbs (I am knowing you). There is seldom a consideration of (1) the role of substrate influence,
(2) system-internal constraints on the construction in question, and (3) the distribution of
constructions across users. An exception is Sharma (2005), which shows, for instance, that
articles with less specificity are more likely to be deleted in Indian English, but shows that this
dialect feature is still governed to some extent by proficiency.
It is well known that varieties of English may share the same set of intensifiers, but that the
distribution of individual intensifiers differs; for example, the grammaticalization of really and
so as intensifiers is considerably more advanced in American English than British English (Ito
and Tagliamonte 2003). The distribution of intensifiers in British English (particularly very
versus really) has changed considerably in the last 50 years. Data from the ICE-India corpus
show that, predictably, intensifiers in Indian English reflect an earlier ‘stage’ of the BrE
intensifier system. There are however also substrate effects.
This investigation of intensifiers in Indian English is influenced by Lim (2007) which shows
how pragmatic particles in Singapore English reflect different stages of contact between English
and Bazaar Malay, Hokkien, Cantonese and Mandarin respectively. An approach to grammar
that is simultaneously typological, contact-oriented and sociolinguistic may reconcile the firm
contention by Indian academics that “there is no Indian English”, and the firm contention of
academics outside of India that Indian English is a prominent example of a World English.
Lim, Lisa. 2007. Mergers and acquisitions: On the ages and origins of Singapore English particles. World Englishes
26(4): 446-473
Ito, Rika and Sali A. Tagliamonte. 2003. Well weird, right dodgy, very strange, really cool: Layering and recycling
in English intensifiers. Language in Society 32(2): 257-279.
Sharma, Devyani. 2005. Dialect stabilization and speaker awareness in non-native varieties of English. Journal of
Sociolinguistics 9(2): 194–224
David Crystal
(University of Bangor)
Fathoming Fowler: how normative is the Dictionary of Modern English Usage?
Thursday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1015
A commission from Oxford University Press to introduce a new printing for its World Classics
series of the first edition of Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage provided the
motivation to read the whole of this remarkable work in detail – a first for me (and a task which,
I suspect, few others have ever contemplated). The exercise has enabled me to take a view about
the extent to which the work can be described without qualification as normative. There is more
descriptive content in the work than is generally acknowledged, but the tension between
Fowler’s observational accuracy and his normative instincts is evident throughout, resulting in a
preponderance of idiosyncrasy and inconsistency.
David Crystal
(University of Bangor)
The ISLE is full of new noises: some trends in applied English linguistics
Plenary III, Thursday, 18:00 – 19:00, Room 1010
There seems to be no end to fresh areas of application for English linguistics. Having grown up
in an era when such well-recognized domains as stylistics, lexicography, educational linguistics,
and foreign language teaching filled the applied horizon, it came as something of a surprise to
realize that these by no means exhausted the potential applications of our subject. The paper
outlines three new domains in which I have found myself (unexpectedly) involved in the past
five years. An application of English historical phonology met the request by Shakespeare’s
Globe for an ‘original pronunciation’ version of Shakespeare’s plays. Several independent
proposals have motivated the exploration of a museological English linguistics. And an unknown
number of domains are emerging within applied English internet linguistics, in such fields as
search-engine assistance, automatic document classification, contextual advertising, ecommerce, and internet security. I illustrate where we are up to in each of these domains, and
suggest some research directions.
Hubert Cuyckens
(University of Leuven)
The emergence of new subjects in English non-finite clauses
Friday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1098
In the course of its history, English has seen a substantial increase in its reliance on non-finite
clauses. This general increase has been accompanied by a recurrent change, whereby an element
from the matrix clause has come to be recruited as subject to a non-finite clause. The change can
be characterized in terms of a shift from a pragmatic control relationship to a syntactic subjectpredicate relationship. The best-known example is the development of the for…to-infinitive
construction, where a (benefactive) for-NP serving as complement to a matrix
verb/adjective/noun shifted from being the controller of the following to-infinitive to being its
subject (cp. Fischer 1988). Compare:
(1) a.
Window locks can make it extremely difficult for the thief to break in (CB)
In these cases it is wise for patients to be taken to casualty first (CB)
Drawing on Middle and Modern English corpus data (PPCME2, PPCEME, CLMETEV, CEN
CB), it is shown in this paper that the development of the for...to-infinitive construction is not an
isolated phenomenon. In particular, we will examine the development of similar constructions
such as the on...to-infinitive construction following the verbs count and depend (2) (cp. Rudanko
1988) and the bare NP … to-infinitive construction (3). It will be examined to what extent these
newly developed constructions can be shown to be share characteristics with such, at first sight
different, constructions as participial with-clauses (4), and presentative there-constructions (5).
(2) a.
(3) a.
(4) a.
(5) a.
but before I call on you to drink this toast I’ll ask the Bishop to spake to you. (CEN)
But can I count on your software to do everything you claim it will? (CB)
it is goode a man to þenke of his owne mysdedis (Visser 1963-73: 964)
hit is nat commendable one knyght to be on horsebak and the other on foote (Visser
1963: 964)
hee caused in all the haste al his seruauntes to bee called vppe, and so with his owne
householde aboute hym, and euerie manne weaponed, hee tooke the greate Seale with
him (HC)
Well with there being so few people erm did you all do everything [...]? (CB)
but, instead of the Queen, there was the leg of mutton sitting in the chair. (CLMETEV)
Fischer, O. (1988) The rise of the for NP to V construction. In G. Nixon and J. Honey (eds) An historic tongue.
London: Routledge. 67-88.
Rudanko, J. (1988) On the grammar of for clauses in English. English Studies 69: 433-452.
Data sources: PPCME2 = Penn-Helsinki Parsed corpus of Middle English, Second edition.—PPCEME = PennHelsinki Parsed corpus of Early Modern English.—CLMETEV = Corpus of Late Modern English texts (extended
version).—CEN = Corpus of English Novels—CB = Collins Cobuild Corpus.
Marta Degani and Alexander Onysko
(University of Verona)
Is English mana-munching Maori? The phenomenon of hybrid compounding in
New Zealand English
Wednesday, 17:00 – 17:30, Room 1019
In New Zealand, the indigenous Maori language and English have created a language contact
scenario of unbalanced but mutual influence (cf. Benton 1985). While the minority language has
been under significant pressure, New Zealand English (NZE) has mainly taken lexical
borrowings from Maori. Indeed, the presence of Maori terms in NZE is one of the most striking
peculiarities of this English variety (see Cheshire 1991, Kachru 2006).
On this background, the focus of the present paper is on the impact of Maori lexical borrowings
on NZE and, more specifically, on the phenomenon of hybrid compounding. As noted by
Schneider, hybrid compounds such as whare boy (‘a shepherd or farm worker residing in
designated accommodation’), blind pakihi (‘a tract of open land with connotation of bareness’)
and manuka blight (‘blight of a kind of tree’) emerged as peculiar features of NZE vocabulary
only at the beginning of the twentieth century (2007: 130).
From a present perspective, hybrid compounding appears as a productive lexical process in
written NZE. Specifically, well-established Maori loanwords show a tendency to combine with
English terms (e.g., aroha job, mana-muncher, rugby mana and marae-style). To understand the
formation of such constructions, it is necessary to consider the function of the Maori element and
the semantic relation of the compound components. Taking these two crucial issues as the basis
of analysis, the paper will investigate hybrid compounds according to:
- the role of the Maori element as head or specifier
- semantic frame theory (cf. Fillmore and Atkins 1992) and contiguity (cf. Koch 1999)
- conceptual blending theory (for metaphorical compounds) (cf. Coulson 2001: 125-33,
Fauconnier and Turner 2002, Sweetser 1999)
In order to find examples of hybrid compounds, frequent borrowings of Maori origin (cf.
Kennedy 2001: 71) will be selected and searched for in The New Zealand Herald, the most
popular NZ newspaper. The corpus will be accessed via Lexis Nexis in the time span from 2000
to 2007.
Benton, Richard A. (1985) Maori, English, and Maori English. In Cross-Cultural Encounters: Communication and
Mis-communication. Pride, John B. (ed.) Melbourne: River Seine Publications. 110-120.
Cheshire Jenny (ed.) (1991) English Around the World. Sociolinguistic Perspectives. Cambridge: CUP.
Coulson, Seana. 2001. Semantic Leaps: Frame-Shifting and Conceptual Blending in Meaning Construction.
Cambridge: CUP. 125-33.
Fauconnier, Gilles, Mark Turner (2002) The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden
Complexities. New York: Basic Books.
Fillmore, Charles, Beryl Atkins (1992) Toward a frame-based lexicon: the semantics of RISK and its neighbors. In
Frames, fields and contrasts: new essays in semantic and lexical organization. Lehrer, Adrienne and Eva
Feder Kittay (eds.) Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. 75-102.
Kachru, Braj et al. (2006) The Handbook of World Englishes. Malden: Blackwell.
Kennedy, Graeme (2001) Lexical borrowing from Maori in New Zealand English. In Who’s centric now? The
present state of post-colonial Englishes. Moore, Bruce (ed.) Melbourne: OUP. 59-81
Koch, Peter (1999) “Frame and contiguity: on the cognitive bases of metonymy and certain types of word
formation.” In Metonymy in Language and Thought. Panther, Klaus-Uwe and Günter Radden (eds.)
Amsterdam, Philadelphia: Benjamins. 139-67.
Schneider, Edgar (2007) Postcolonial English. Varieties around the World. Cambridge: CUP.
Sweetser, Eve (1999) “Compositionality and blending: semantic composition in a cognitively realistic framework.”
In Cognitive Linguistics: Foundations, Scope, and Methodology. Janssen, Theo and Gisela Redeker (eds.)
Berlin, New York: De Gruyter. 129-62.
David Denison
(University of Manchester)
Wednesday, 12:00 – 12:30, Room 1098
Participles are always interesting from the point of view of word classes: verb or adjective? The
synchronic problem of where to draw category boundaries for participles is not confined to
English, and within English is not confined to the present day. However, within the fairly recent
history of English there has been an observable change in distribution of both -ing forms and
past participles, illustrated by the allegedly obsolete forms:
She seems sleeping.
I am much interested.
Compare the fully grammatical
She seems happy.
I am very interested.
There is therefore a diachronic angle.
The absence of (1) in PDE is taken to be a clear descriptive fact (it may not be), and furthermore
the test of occurrence in the complement of seem is taken as a cast-iron test of adjectivehood
over verbhood. Since forms like (1) were certainly possibly earlier in the Modern English period,
we appear to have a loss of adjectival behaviour in the participle. (Alternatively, a change in the
subcategorisation of seem must be invoked.)
As for (2), the modifier much is one that characteristically occurs with verbs, whereas the very of
(4) makes the participle interested look like an adjective. In this case, then, the transition appears
to be in the converse direction, from verb to adjective.
In this paper I wish to explore these changes further than hitherto, looking closely at very recent
change in participle distribution in corpora and “in the wild” in order to establish the facts more
securely, and clarifying the theoretical positions which can legitimately be taken on those facts.
David Denison, Kersti Börjars and Alan Scott
(University of Manchester)
What’s wrong with possessive ’s?
Thursday, 14:30 – 15:00, Room 1023
Possessive ’s is widely regarded as either a clitic or a phrasal affix, since it is apparently always
found at the right edge of an NP:
(1) [the tree]’s branches
(2) [the tree that we cut down]’s branches
Unlike most accounts, the Cambridge Grammar treats HEAD GENITIVES, with inflection on the
head noun as in (1), and PHRASAL GENITIVES as in (2), as syntactically distinct, claiming that
head genitives are incompatible with a post-head dependent (Payne and Huddleston 2002: 47981). Example (3) is noted as ‘not acceptable and frequent enough to qualify as grammatical’
(ibid.: 479 n.65):
(3) I could feel the hair stand up on the back of my neck like [a dog’s that is going to get
into a fight]
In fact the grammatical (2) type is of low frequency, and its possessor NP is usually a fixed
phrase and/or ends with a noun. In our comprehensive database of all possessives in the spoken
part of the BNC (10 million words), phrasal genitives constitute just 0.17% of possessive ’s (16
examples). Head genitives with a post-head dependent are almost as common (14 examples):
(4) oh you must put something in a person’s mouth that has epilepsy
And all but one have possessum expressed.
The main aim of this paper, therefore, is to argue that there is only one ’s, and that its position is
governed not so much by attraction to the right edge of the NP as by avoidance of other positions
that are more disfavoured. Morphological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic/discourse factors
are all implicated. Another aim is to refine recent findings – e.g. (Rosenbach 2005, 2007,
Szmrecsanyi and Hinrichs 2007) – on factors conditioning the choice between the ’s possessive
and of.
Payne, John and Rodney Huddleston (2002) Nouns and noun phrases. In Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K.
Pullum (eds.), The Cambridge grammar of the English language, 323-523. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
Rosenbach, Anette (2005) Animacy versus weight as determinants of grammatical variation in English. Language
81, 613-44.
Rosenbach, Anette (2007) Emerging variation: Determiner genitives and noun modifiers in English. English
Language and Linguistics 11, 145-91.
Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt and Lars Hinrichs (2007) Recent changes in the function and frequency of Standard English
genitive constructions: A multivariate analysis of tagged corpora. English Language and Linguistics 11,
Susan Reed and Ilse Depraetere
(Catholic University of Leuven / University of Lille III)
Towards a more explicit taxonomy of root possibility meaning
Thursday, 10:30 – 11:00, Room 1023
This paper outlines a taxonomy of root possibility interpretations of English modal auxiliaries
and semi-auxiliaries.
It will be shown that five root possibility interpretations can be distinguished on the basis of
three criteria, the interpretations being: ability, enablement, permission, general situation
possibility and permissibility. The defining criteria are: (a) the scope of the modality, (b) the
source of the modality, (c) the understanding (or its absence) that there is a potential for the
source to impose a barrier to actualisation.
Even though many taxonomies of root modality have been proposed in the literature, a detailed
examination of these proposals reveals a number of deficiencies: in some cases, the criteria
suggested are not systematically applied to all the interpretations; in other cases, types of root
modality are named without a clear definition of what the category involves.
Taking our cue from Bybee (1985), and drawing on the ground-breaking insights in Nordlinger
and Traugott (1997), we will show how scope provides a first criterion that sets apart, on the one
hand, general situation possibility and permissibility from, on the other hand, ability, enablement
and permission: does the possibility concern the actualisation of a whole situation or the relation
between subject referent and the action (etc.) referred to in the VP? The criterion of ‘source’ (cf
e.g. Van der Auwera and Plungian 1998, Depraetere and Verhulst to appear) results in a division
between, on the one hand, general situation possibility, permissibility, opportunity and
permission, and on the other hand, ability. The third criterion, ‘potential barrier’ sets permission
apart from the other narrow-scope root possibility interpretations (in particular opportunity) and
sets permissibility apart from general situation possibility.
Bybee, Joan (1985) Morphology. A study of the relation between meaning and form. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John
Nordlinger, Rachel; Closs-Traugott, Elizabeth (1997) Scope and the development of epistemic modality: evidence
from ought to, English language and linguistics 1/2, 295-317.
Depraetere, Ilse and An Verhulst (to appear) Source of modality: a reassessment, English language and linguistics.
Reed, Susan and Ilse Depraetere (ms) A taxonomy of root possibility in English.
Van der Auwera, J.; Plungian, V. (1998) Modality’s semantic map. Linguistic Typology 2, 79-124.
Hendrik De Smet and Liesbet Heyvaert
(University of Flanders / University of Leuven)
Gerunds, participles or gerund-participles? A usage-based perspective on some of their
distributional, formal and semantic properties
Saturday, 10:30 – 11:00, Room 1015
Following traditional grammar, English has gerundive and participial -ing constructions, as in (1)
and (2):
(1) I enjoyed reading this book … (BNC)
(2) she is often depicted with a cat’s head while carrying a shield and rattle ... (BNC)
While gerundive and participial -ing constructions have developed from distinct structures (i.e.
gerunds from a nominal structure and participials from adjectival deverbatives in -ende), their
classificatory status in present-day English has come to be questioned. In Huddleston and Pullum
(2002) they are treated as one single category, i.e. that of ‘gerund-participles’. In this paper, we
explore the distributional, formal and semantic arguments that can be used to establish the
categorial status of gerundive vs. participial -ing, using synchronic and diachronic corpus data to
come to a better understanding of the language user’s manipulation of both systems.
We argue in favour of a complex and layered typology of -ing clauses. First, we show that the
historical distributional association of gerundive -ing constructions with noun phrases still
permeates the use of the great majority of gerundive -ing constructions, indicating that the
gerund is still salient as a categorial generalisation. The same holds for the historical tie between
present and past participles.
Second, the language user to a certain degree generalizes across both systems formally, i.e. by
using formal features of one system in the other as well. These formal features are the (originally
gerundive) use of of to mark patient arguments in participial ing constructions, as in (3), and the
phonologically reduced form /in/, which historically derives from participials (Labov 1989) in
gerundive ing constructions.
(3) They … came into his gardein … and found him weding of his ground. (1553, OED)
These formal cross-overs indicate that the highly general category of gerundive-participles does
have some salience as a category, although the statistical distribution of the features still largely
respects the historical categorial boundaries (Labov 1989).
Third, we zoom in on the semantics of gerundive and participial -ing and, in particular, on the
semantics of imperfectivization (most typical of the participial, i.e. progressive use of -ing) that
has also come to be associated with certain uses of the verbal gerund, as in (4).
(4) It’s hard to imagine her sitting in front of the telly on a Saturday night (CB)
We map out the contexts and conditions in which this imperfective meaning is found with verbal
gerunds and determine its position within the gerundive system in general.
De Smet, H. (forthcoming) Diffusional change in the English system of complementation. Gerunds, participles and
for...to-infinitives. Doctoral thesis, University of Leuven: Department of Linguistics.
Huddleston, R. and G. Pullum (2002) The Cambridge Grammar of the English language. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
Labov, W. (1989) The child as linguistic historian. Language Variation and Change 1: 85-94.
Dagmar Deuber
(University of Freiburg)
Where are the limits of (the linguistics of) English? Corpus-based approaches to
grammatical variation in Caribbean contexts
Friday, 14:00 – 14:30, Room 1016
While the linguistics of English in a broad sense certainly includes the study of English-based
Creoles, there is also a strong tradition in Creole linguistics which seeks to establish these
varieties as independent languages, thus placing them outside the scope of the linguistics of
English in a narrow sense. In the anglophone Caribbean context, where a range of intermediate
forms typically exists between the English “acrolect” and an English-based Creole, such a
narrow definition raises the question of where to draw the line.
This question has recently come into focus in corpus linguistics: The International Corpus of
English (ICE), whose Jamaican component is all but complete, with another Caribbean
component (Trinidad and Tobago) at an early stage, has an explicitly narrow focus on “standard
English”, but types of texts which, in the Caribbean context, hardly favour the use of the
acrolect, notably conversations, occupy an important place in the corpus design. A possible
solution to this dilemma, and the one adopted by the compilers of the Caribbean ICE corpora, is
to include the kind of “Creolized English” which may be used in semi-formal contexts in the
corpus, with the recording situations for the conversations appropriately controlled. A
quantitative approach demonstrates that “Creolized English” shows more Creole features than
more formal types of English represented in the respective ICE corpora but remains within the
range that can be considered as English, as the overall frequency of Creole features is still fairly
low. However, such a perspective tends to downplay the importance of Creole elements: these
often have important discourse functions whose analysis requires a qualitative approach. The
paper shows how Caribbean ICE data can be fruitfully examined from such complementary
quantitative and qualitative perspectives, with examples drawn from the author’s work on
grammatical variation in Jamaican and Trinidadian English.
Hans-Jürgen Diller
(University of Bochum)
Emotion vs. Passion: the evolution of an a-moral category
Saturday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1016
It is well known that in the Middle Ages the superordinate term for such phenomena as grief,
fear, love and joy used to be passion (and occasionally affection). In the modern period passion
was gradually replaced by emotion. Theologian Thomas Dixon (2003) has explained this change
as the “creation of a secular category”. While Dixon can point to changes in philosophical, moral
and theological writings to support his thesis, it is still awkward that David Hume, certainly a
secular writer, should use passion about eight times as often as emotion and that emotion should
be quite common in religious tracts of the early 18th and even the 17th century. Moreover, an
analysis of literary, philosophical and religious texts (gathered from Gutenberg, Online Books
Page, Christian Classics Ethereal Library et al.) suggests that even in the 19th century passion is
still (slightly) more common than emotion. Above all, Dixon neglects the earlier Modern English
period which is still dominated by passion but during which emotion is gradually carving out its
As a first step, the paper will give an overview of 17th- to 19th-century authors using / not using
emotion; it will then trace the semantic development of emotion by a detailed contrastive
analysis of the syntactic contexts of passion and emotion from the first attestation of emotion, i.e.
John Florio’s translation of Montaigne’s Essais (not recorded in OED) and end with Hume’s
Treatise of Human Nature (1739/40). It will be demonstrated that emotion, while not strictly
‘secular’ from the beginning, never showed the moral overtones which were always connoted by
To avoid overlap, the paper will be written in close consultation with Heli Tissari (Helsinki).
Dixon, Thomas (2003) From Passions to Emotions. The Creation of a Secular Psychological Category. Cambridge:
Stefan Dollinger
(University of British Columbia)
N/V(ing)+N Compounds in North American English: on the trail of the S-curve
Wednesday, 16:30 – 17:00, Room 1019
Compounding is one of the most actively studied areas in English word-formation (Bauer and
Renouf 2001:120) and at the same time a field where “intricate problems abound” (Plag
2003:132). The present study addresses compounding of the N/V+N type, by focussing on the
long-drawn competition between N(ing) or V(ing) + N and N/V+N, shown in word forms such
as sailing boat vs. sail boat, frying pan vs. fry pan and, more recently, waiting time vs. wait time.
The change seems to progress in the direction of N(ing)/V(ing)+N > N/V+N, but some forms
seem to be lexicalized (Brinton and Traugott 2005), e.g. shopping centre vs. **shop centre,
sharpening stone vs. sharp stone.
In the linguistic literature, the trend towards clipped forms was originally identified in post-war
Britain as an American phenomenon (Barber 1964: 21), but the process can be antedated to at
least the mid-19th century, as both filing-pail and file-pail are found in Bartlett’s Dictionary of
Americanisms (1848) (Gold 1969: fn7). In Canadian English, which is known for its preference
of compounds (Harris 1975: 88), the earliest attestation of sail boat is from the 1850s, while wait
time, attested since the early 1980s, has taken a rapid increase in frequency since 2005, when,
after years of dormancy, it tripled its change ratio in the past two years.
The present paper aims inquire into the transition of the change, by interpreting corpus-based
data in the context of lexical diffusion (Wang and Cheng 1970). Based on all eligible compounds
in fascicle D in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary (Barber 2004) and supplemented with eligible
compounds from the Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles project (Dollinger and
Brinton forthc.:§2), the study outlines the constraints governing the clipping. First results reveal
‘small’ frequency s-curves for individual formations, as well as behaviour comparable to
cumulative s-curves for the loss of -ing as the change runs through eligible contexts. For newer
variables, such as wait vs. waiting time, results from sociolinguistic fieldwork allow first insights
into the social embedding of the change in Vancouver English.
Barber, Charles (1964) Linguistic change in Present-Day English. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd.
Barber, Katharine (ed.) (2004) Canadian Oxford Dictionary. 2nd ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press.
Bauer, Laurie and Antoinette Renouf (2001) A corpus-based study of compounding in English. Journal of English
Linguistics 29(2):101-23.
Dollinger, Stefan and Laurel Brinton (forthc) “Canadian English lexis: historical and variationist perspectives”.
Anglistik. Special Issue “Focus on Canada” ed. by Matthias Meyer.
Gold, David L. (1969) Frying pan versus frypan: a trend in English compounds? American Speech 44: 299-302.
Plag, Ingo (2003) Word-formation in English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wang, William S.-Y. and C. C. Cheng. (1970) Implementation of phonological change: the Shuang-feng Chinese
case. Chicago Linguistics Society 6:552-59.
Gavin Falconer
(University of Belfast)
A second national language? Substrate and standard in Irish parliamentary transcription
Friday, 14:30 – 15:00, Room 1021
English in Ireland is in an ambivalent position. Despite being the de facto national tongue, it is
constitutionally and symbolically inferior to the minority or second language Irish. While much
national effort has gone into standardisation and corpus planning for the latter, now split into
divergent dialect islands and exhibiting polycentric codification for pragmatic reasons, the national
dialect of English has not been independently codified at all. Nor are there “Irish” dictionaries of
Standard English equivalent to Scottish models. At the same time, the speed with which English
replaced Irish in the nineteenth century through uncontrolled learning outside the school system
has meant that its Goidelic substrate is arguably more apparent than that of Highland English, with
at least one commentator (Henry 1957) arguing that its strongest form constitutes “a new
language”. The twentieth century, a time of Irish pre-eminence in English literature, also saw the
re-establishment of a parliament in Dublin and the independence of 26 Southern counties.
Notwithstanding the fact that the first session of the Dáil was conducted largely through the
medium of Irish, the language of political debate is the national dialect of English. In this paper, I
consider how far the formal, and formulaic, language of parliamentary transcription adheres to
extraterritorial norms and, conversely, consider to what extent it retains its national character.
Henry, P. L. (1957) An Anglo-Irish Dialect of North Roscommon. Dublin: Department of English, University College.
Anita Fetzer
(University of Lüneburg)
Theme zones in English media discourse: forms and functions
Wednesday, 12:00 – 12:30, Room 1023
This contribution employs an integrated approach to the investigation of the form and function of
the theme zone in English media discourse giving particular attention to the discourse genre of
political interview. It is informed by a function-based outlook on language and by a
sociopragmatic frame of reference thus supplementing and refining function-based results with
context-based parameters (production format, recipient design and genre).
The first part examines the connectedness between a local theme zone and its function in local
and global contexts considering especially its definitions and delimitations. Because of its
forward- and backward-pointing potentials, the theme zone is of key importance to the
construction of discourse coherence, where it may signify a (dis)continuation in the flow of
discourse regarding topic, force or attitude. For this reason, a theme zone is assigned the status of
a contextualization cue.
The second part examines the functions of a theme zone and classifies them into marked and
unmarked configurations with respect to (1) genre, (2) mode and (3) sequential status. It
identifies the necessary and sufficient conditions for a theme zone to be assigned the status of an
(un)marked configuration and examines their context-preserving, context-modifying and
context-changing functions thus demonstrating their connectedness with other constructions of
intersubjectivity (Verhagen 2005).
The third part systematizes the results obtained and demonstrates that a context- and
contextualization-based investigation of theme zones adds further evidence for the dialogical
nature of language and language use.
Givón, T. (1993) English grammar: a function-based introduction. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Gómez-Gonzáles, M. (2001) The theme-topic interface. Evidence from English. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Gumperz, J.J. (1992) Contextualization and understanding. In Rethinking Context: Language as an Interactive
Phenomenon, A. Duranti and C. Goodwin (eds), 229-252. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Halliday, M.A.K. (1996) Introduction to functional grammar. London: Arnold.
Verhagen, A. (2005) Constructions of intersubjectivity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Markku Filppula, Juhani Klemola and Heli Paulasto
(University of Joensuu / University of Tampere)
In search of vernacular universals: evidence from British Isles Englishes and beyond
Wednesday, 16:30 – 17:00, Room 1015
First proposed by Jack Chambers (Chambers 1995), the notion of vernacular universals (VUs)
has been much debated in recent years (see, e.g. Filppula, Klemola and Paulasto [eds] 2008). On
the one hand, data from numerous varieties of English and other languages have been adduced to
vindicate the concept (Schreier 2008). On the other, it has been argued that vernacular data are
either too heterogeneous to allow meaningful generalisations in terms of universals or too
domain-specific to be restricted to vernacular or nonstandard forms (Siemund 2008; Trudgill
In this paper we approach the problem of putative VUs in the light of data drawn from different
kinds of vernacular Englishes spoken in the British Isles. The SED Tape recordings offer a rare
window to probably the oldest forms of authentic spoken English anywhere and thus make them
an ideal testing ground for most of the proposed VUs. We will compare the SED data with
similar data from the spoken Englishes of Wales, Ireland and Scotland, which add to the
equation the strong presence of another sociolinguistic variable, viz. contacts with other
languages. The results point to the existence of ‘genuine’ VUs in the case of syntactic features
such as so-called singular concord in certain types of context and (lack of) plural marking with
nouns of measurement. Significantly, both of these are common in other varieties and languages.
However, a clear division emerges between ‘high contact’ and ‘low contact’ varieties with
respect to other features such as definite article usage. Taken together, our findings shed
interesting new light on the nature and ‘locus’ of VUs.
Chambers, J.K. (1995) Sociolinguistic Theory. Linguistic Variation and its Social Significance. Oxford: Blackwell.
Filppula, M., Klemola, J. and H. Paulasto (eds.) (2008) Vernacular Universals and Language Contacts: Evidence
from Varieties of English and Beyond. London/New York: Routledge.
Schreier, D. (2008) ‘How diagnostic are English universals?’ In Filppula, Klemola and Paulasto (eds).
Siemund, P. (2008) ‘Linguistic Universals and Vernacular Data’. In Filppula, Klemola and Paulasto (eds).
Trudgill, P. (2008) ‘Vernacular universals and the sociolinguistic typology of English dialects’. In Filppula, Klemola
and Paulasto (eds).
Olga Fischer
(University of Amsterdam)
The importance of analogy in language acquisition and change
Plenary IV, Friday, 9:00 – 10:00, Room 1010
There is one fundamental difference between functional and formal linguistics with respect to
what are considered important mechanisms in language change. Whereas functional linguists
emphasize that the language system is the result of adaptation to the pressure of language usage,
formal linguists by and large ignore the circumstances under which language is used, because
they believe in a strong role being played by the presence of an innate or universal grammar.
Two well-known approaches to language change (and language acquisition for that matter, since
similar mechanisms must be at work in both), the functional grammaticalization approach and
the formal Principles and Parameters approach, well illustrate this difference.
Grammaticalization linguists are mainly interested in the semantic-pragmatic factors guiding
change, which they believe is gradual, while the Principle and Parameters linguists concentrate
on more instantaneous parameter shifts involving mainly intra-linguistic structural factors.
For my talk I would like to emphasize that form and meaning (or function) are equally
important: the linguistic sign (this includes lexical morphemes as well as more abstract
structures) comprises both form and meaning as two sides of the same coin. These are indivisible
and make up what Anttila (2003, in the Blackwell Handbook of Historical Linguistics) has called
‘the analogical grid’. I will argue that analogy should be seen as the main mechanism operating
in change (cf. Itkonen 2005, Fischer 2007, Wanner 2006, pace Harris and Campbell 1995,
Hopper and Traugott 2003 and others who consider re-analysis the most important mechanism).
I shall illustrate the important role played by analogy, as a general cognitive principle, linking it
to the two evolutionary oldest modes of thinking: the iconic and the indexical mode (cf. Deacon
1997). I will show by means of a case study concerning the development of pragmatic markers
that the grammaticalization approach is not adequate in that more notice should be taken of the
conventionalized formal system of language in which the development takes place and which,
next to external factors, influences the course of development. I will indicate that it is analogy
rather than the usual Lehmannian parameters of grammaticalization or subjectification, that is at
work in the change. This approach has a further advantage. It will explain the awkward
behaviour of scope, which according to Tabor and Traugott (1998) increases rather than
decreases (as it should according to Lehmann’s parameters). In addition, it takes into account
other problems noted in connection with grammaticalization, which an increasing number of
formal and/or historical linguists believe should be seen as an epiphenomenon rather than as a
mechanism of change in and by itself.
Bettina Fischer-Starcke
(University of Vienna)
Corpus-linguistic approaches to the study of literature
Thursday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1098
Literary texts are highly valued in our culture and have been studied linguistically in stylistics.
But their analyses have frequently been restricted to short texts, such as poems, or to extracts
from longer texts. This has been due to a lack of usable techniques for the analysis of longer
texts such as novels. However, the technical development in corpus linguistics now allows for
the analysis of large quantities of data so that also longer texts have become open to analysis.
This paper demonstrates firstly how literary meaning of Jane Austen’s novel Northanger Abbey
can be extracted by using corpus linguistic techniques in the analysis of some of the text’s
recurrent phraseological units. These units contribute not only to cohesion and coherence but
also encode implicit meaning in the novel. They encode, for example, the characterization of
protagonists and places and help to explain readers’ intuitive reactions to the text.
Secondly, the most frequent phraseological units from a corpus of literature contemporary to
Austen are presented and structural features of the corpus are identified by way of its most
frequent phraseological units. The differences between the most frequent phraseological units
identified for Northanger Abbey and for the corpus are used to identify and illustrate structural
differences between the two sets of data. Then, differences between potentials for the analysis of
these two kinds of data by way of the same linguistic techniques are discussed.
Finally, this paper suggests that the techniques demonstrated for the analysis of fiction texts and
corpora can also be used for the analysis of non-fiction texts and corpora. This shows that corpus
stylistics could take a key position in the development of techniques for text analysis.
Monika Fludernik
(University of Freiburg)
From discourse analysis to historical pragmatics and diachronic narratology
Thursday, 16:30 – 17:00, Room 1098
The paper is meant to illustrate the stimulating impact of linguistics both in its modern (discourse
analysis) and philological (historical pragmatics) garb for diachronic narratology. The example I
want to focus on is narrative structure, particularly the use of discourse markers and the
historical present tense, in natural narrative (everyday conversational narratives) and in early
English narrative texts (1250-1750). The emphasis will not be on laying out the facts primarily
(these I have dealt with extensively in published work and am refining in work in progress), but
on discussing the theoretical and methodological challenges of combining a philological toolkit
with the terminology and methodology of modern linguistics in various subdisciplines. In
particular, I will be talking about the difficult borderline between stylistics and rule-governed
syntactic analysis. I will also focus on the form-function relations and on the problem of
diachronic development and the kind of questions that an emphasis on change give rise to. These
latter include, for instance, the problem of restructuring of a system; the issue of
refunctionalizing elements that had a specific place within one system at point A into elements
that serve a quite different function within a new pattern; or the conundrum of performance
within a historical framework.
Maximiliane Frobenius
(University of Saarbrücken)
Identity and monologic compensation in video blogs
Wednesday, 12:30 – 13:00, Room 1023
In this paper, I explore the construction of identity in narratives by bloggers on the video
platform “youtube”. This genre-bound investigation aims at the particular features involved in
speech on video blogs (vlogs). Most vloggers film themselves with no one else around. Later this
footage is uploaded to the internet, free for anyone to watch. Since there is no real-time
communication (as in the case of chat/video-chat), most vlogs are characterized by their
monologic nature. Identity is therefore not elicited in a joint production in conversation, but in a
one-person performance – planned beforehand to an unknown degree.
My paper explores examples where the speaker stops him- or herself as if interrupted by a
1 then we move over
2 I’ve got a fruiton
3 yeah I called it a fruiton (background: the speaker is giving a tour through the part of
his house where he makes his videos)
Here, the speaker tells his viewers about a piece of furniture (which, judging from the pictures,
appears to be a regular couch). The “yeah I called it a fruiton” in line three acts like the answer to
an imagined question by the viewers “do you really call that a fruiton?” With this example, such
an extra explanation is understandable, since “fruiton” is an invented word (presumably a blend
of “fruit” and “futon”), and if there were some listener present to react directly, there would very
likely be some kind of question about that word.
My paper investigates bloggers’ construction of identity with respect to how they deal with the
fact that there can be no immediate reaction, how they compensate for that lack, and sometimes
use it for their own (humorous) purposes.
Spencer-Oatey, Helen (2007) Theories of identity and the analysis of face. Journal of Pragmatics 39. 639-656.
Volker Gast and Ekkehard König
(Free University of Berlin)
Sentence anaphora in English and German
Thursday, 10:30 – 11:00, Room 1019
In addition to NP/DP-anaphora (personal pronouns, etc.), verbal or VP-anaphora (do so) and
adjectival anaphora (so), languages typically also have expressions relating to sentential
antecedents. In English the neuter pronoun (it) and an expression originally denoting manner
deixis (so) are used in this function and may correspond to either es/das or ja in German. Our
paper will discuss the distribution, meaning and use of these sentential anaphors with a focus on
(i) the choice between the two anaphors in each language, and (ii) the contrasts between the two
In both English and German the two anaphors partly overlap in their distribution and thus may
contrast in their meaning:
English: She said it. vs.
German: Ich glaube es. vs.
She said so.
Ich glaube ja.
Only so is possible after sentential adverbials and in conditionals in English (cf. [3]–[5]). This
expression may also relate to an adjective as antecedent (cf. [6]):
apparently/unfortunately/... so
If so we will have to do something about it.
If you so wish, we can always leave immediately. (sentence anaphora)
Fred is intelligent and so is George. (adjectival anaphor)
Whether so is licensed in the object position of verbs embedding sentential objects seems to
depend on aspects of meaning. Precisely which factors play a role here (e.g. factivity vs.
propositional attitude) will be a major point of our discussion.
The choice between das/es and ja in German is only partly parallel to that between it and so in
English. It is doubtful whether ja can be considered as an anaphor at all, since this particle is
invariably stressed (in the relevant uses), and is typically in opposition to the other answering
particle nein. On the other hand it may also follow conditional conjunctions (falls ja, ...).
Our paper will also include a brief discussion of the historical development of so from a deictic
to an anaphoric marker. Moreover, we will take a brief look at some other languages in order to
find further evidence for the relatedness between manner deixis and affirmation (cf. tak in Polish
or si in Italian and Spanish).
Hans-Martin Gauger
(University of Freiburg)
Language criticism and nationalism
Friday, 16:30 – 17:00, Room 1021
Of course it is legitimate to criticize a language: (a) a particular language as such and (b) its usage.
Language and language usage are different things, although, in the last analysis, I conceive of a
language as the product of its usage. The only real – linguistic (in the sense of
sprachwissenschaftliche) – problem is to decide whether language criticism has a place within
linguistics proper. I clearly tend to say no. The task of linguistics is to describe and to explain, both
diachronically and synchronically, and this limitation (actually relating to an enormous field) is due
to the fact that criticism presupposes criteria and that it is downright impossible to find specifically
linguistic criteria for such a criticism (here ‘linguistic’ means ‘objective’).
On the other hand, from another point of view, criticizing language is inevitable and even
necessary. Moreover it corresponds to an element inherent in the ‘normal speakers’ themselves –
certainly in the educated ‘normal speakers’ (whatever that may be) who tend to use their language
in a way that distinguishes them from others they consider ‘less cultivated’. Now there is a sort of
language criticism, traditionally strong in Germany (but not at all limited to this country or to the
German speaking countries) which is problematic, reprehensible and even dangerous: the one
based on the national(ist) criterion. But here again we have no possibility to criticize this criterion
from the point of view of linguistics. We just can describe and explain it.
Then there is the problem (but once again not a problem of linguistics) to know exactly – but
this bordrline is most important – when the ‘national’ criterion, which could be considered as
legitimate or acceptable, turns ‘nationalist’. The argument against the increasing number of
English elements in everyday language usage traditionally put forward in Germany is summed up
in a word which is rather difficult to translate into English: Überfremdung (‘foreign infiltration’). It
expresses the fear the core of German language might be destroyed by this infiltration from
outside, the German language could cease to be German by a sort of erosion from outside because
of the lack of resistance from inside, the lack of ‘national dignity’ which characterizes, for
instance, we are told, the French and the Spanish speaking communities, etc. etc.
The “Verein für Deutsche Sprache”, a society successfully founded by the economist Walter
Krämer – successful at least by the astonishing number of its members – represents that sort of
national (or cryptonationalist?) language criticism. So ‘national’ or ‘nationalist’ – that is the
question. Well, one of the questions.
Gary D. German
(University of Western Brittany, Brest)
The Appalachian and African American oral traditions as
measures of linguistic convergence and divergence
Thursday, 16:30 – 17.00, Room 1016
In his classic book, English Dialect Grammar (1905), Joseph Wright made an often overlooked
but essential point, namely, that dialect speakers have their own standards of linguistic
acceptability. In other words, spoken vernaculars possess their own registers which do not
necessarily reflect those of the literary norm.
In the first part of this paper, I seek to determine whether this applies to Appalachian English
(southern white English more generally) and African American Vernacular English and, if so
what grammatical features characterize the registers. One source of inquiry which may offer
some insight into this question is the oral traditions of the linguistic communities under
investigation: religious texts (ex. King James Bible, the language of sermons and hymns), orally
transmitted lyrics of secular songs (ballads/working songs, blues) and, finally, selections of
spontaneous speech in the form of recorded interviews. Appalachian ballads, for instance, could
be of particular value given that a number of corresponding British versions dating to the 17th
century and before have survived. The underlying hypothesis is that certain grammatical features
will appear more frequently in some sources than in others. This idea, in turn, is reinforced by
the fact that, prior to the First World War, relatively few people in the American South and
Midland regions had access to formal schooling and that the influence of the national norm
(Standard American grammar and “General American” pronunciation) on the varieties
concerned was rather limited until quite recently.
The main objective of this paper will be to compare the linguistic features of these sources
according to linguistic community and text type in order to highlight points of linguistic
convergence and divergence and, more specifically, to distinguish between those characteristics
which can be traced back to Britain and/or Ireland and those that may have developed on the
North American continent as a result of Creole influence and/or the development of (a) North
American koiné(s)).
Lobke Ghesquière
(University of Leuven)
Subjectification and intersubjectification processes manifested by the adjectives of
completeness complete, total and whole
Friday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1015
The English noun phrase (NP) has a specific functional-structural make up, with a long
prenominal string accommodating different adjectival functions. Synchronically, the prenominal
string is generally considered to constitute a left-right subjective-objective continuum (e.g. Quirk
et al. 1972, Vandelanotte 2002). Diachronically, it has been hypothesized that prenominal
elements may acquire increasingly subjective meanings and at the same time move to more
leftward positions in the NP-structure (Adamson 2000). For this paper, the development of
completeness adjectives will function as a test case of Adamson’s (2000) leftward movement
(LM) hypothesis, which for its theorizing refers mainly to Traugott’s hypothesis of unidirectional
non-subjective > subjective > intersubjective
(Traugott 2003)
A functional-grammatical analysis of complete, total and whole was carried out, using data from
four diachronic corpora (York-Toronto-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Old English Prose (YCOE),
Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English (PPCME) and Early Modern English
(PPCEME), and the Corpus of Late Modern English Texts (CLMET)) and the synchronic
COBUILD corpus.
Analysis showed that all three adjectives have developed both subjective strengthening uses and
intersubjective postdeterminer uses, but that the different paths to these uses did not always fit in
with the unidirectionality and LM hypotheses. For complete, for instance, postdeterminer uses,
as in (1), which are situated at the leftmost end of the NP, were found some 200 years prior to
the emphasizer use, as in (2). Moreover, it seems that the subjective emphasizer use developed
from the intersubjective postdeterminer use. The development of complete thus questions both
the unidirectionality and the LM hypothesis.
(1) Wee have thought fit in pursuance thereof to signify to you Our Pleasure that the last
choice made by the Lord Mayor of that Our Citty of the compleate number of Com~on
Counsell men all at once,… (PPCEME)
(2) But, indeed, the great peculiarity of this writer is the complete one-sidedness of his
argument. (CLMET)
This paper will explore to what extent the hypotheses of unidirectional (inter)subjectification and
concomitant progressive leftward movement in the English NP apply to the development of
complete, total and whole. Particular attention will also be paid to the different pragmaticsemantic changes taking place in the development of the completeness adjectives.
Adamson, Sylvia (2000) A lovely little example: word order options and category shift in the premodifying string.
In Olga Fischer, Anette Rosenbach and Dieter Stein (eds.) Pathways of change: grammaticalization in
English. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 39-66.
Quirk, Randolph et al. (1972) A Grammar of Contemporary English. London: Longman.
Traugott, Elizabeth Closs (2003) From subjectification to intersubjectification. In Raymond Hickey (ed.) Motives for
language change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 124-139.
Vandelanotte, Lieven (2002) Prenominal adjectives in English: Structures and ordering. In Folia Linguistica
XXXVI 3-4. 219-259.
Gaëtanelle Gilquin and Sylviane Granger
(Université Catholique de Louvain)
From EFL to ESL: evidence from the International Corpus of Learner English
Wednesday, 11:00 – 11.30, Room 1021
Far from being a clear-cut distinction, the EFL–ESL distinction should be viewed as a
continuum, with exclusive classroom learning in a country where the target language (TL) is not
a native or second official language at one end, and exclusive naturalistic acquisition in a country
where the target language is a native or second language, at the other, and a large number of
intermediary stages. Broughton et al (1980: 7) provide the following illustrations: “The
distinctions between English as a second language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language
(EFL) are […] not as clear cut as the above may suggest. The decreasing role of English in India
and Sri Lanka has, of recent years, made for a shift of emphasis to change a long established
second language situation to something nearer to a foreign language situation. Elsewhere,
political decisions are changing former foreign language situations. Official policies in, for
example, Sweden and Holland are aiming towards a bilingual position where all educated people
have a good command of English, which is rapidly becoming an alternate language with Swedish
and Dutch – a position much closer to ESL on the EFL/ESL continuum.”
The International Corpus of Learner English (Granger et al., forthcoming), which contains data
from 16 different learner populations in a wide range of learning/acquisition settings, is an ideal
resource to investigate the effects of these contextual differences. In our presentation we will
compare the following four populations: (1) Spanish-speaking learners, who have learnt English
in a classroom setting in a non-TL environment with very little exposure to the TL; (2) Frenchspeaking learners, who have learnt English in a similar context but with greater attention to form
in the classroom; (3) Dutch-speaking learners, who have also learnt English in a non-TL
environment but have had extended exposure to English from an early age via other means
(television, non-dubbed films, etc.); (4) Tswana learners who, although living in a country where
English is a second language, have had very little contact with native speakers of English in their
daily lives but have had instruction in English from the fifth grade onwards.
We will focus on one of the aspects of language which one can expect to benefit most from
wider exposure, viz. phraseology, and more particularly on a subset of multiword verbs that
Schneider (2004) calls ‘particle verbs’, i.e. idiomatic combinations of a verb and a particle
(preposition as in look after or adverb as in give up). These verbs have been the focus of a range
of recent studies based on expanding and/or outer circle varieties of English. Although
distinctive uses of these verbs are presented as (largely L1-induced) infelicities or errors in the
former (Milton 2001, Rong-Rong 2001, Brala 2002) and new nativized norms or creative
innovations in the latter (Lowenberg 2002, Schneider 2004, Mukherjee forthcoming), the two
sets of data clearly have a degree of commonality (Nesselhauf 2007), as evidenced by the joint
use (though in different frequencies) of particle verbs such as discuss about, invite for or
emphasize on.
In our presentation we will report the preliminary findings of a large scale corpus-based
investigation of these verbs in the four ICLE subcorpora referred to above. We will highlight the
link between the amount of exposure to English and the frequency and type of particle verbs
used, thus showing to what extent the EFL-ESL continuum defined for the subcorpora on the
basis of the learning/acquisition setting is reflected in the learner production. By doing so, we
hope to shed light on the recent field of “learner Englishes” and open up new avenues for
research in this domain.
Brala, M. (2002) Understanding and translating (spatial) prepositions: An exercise in cognitive semantics for
lexicographic purposes. Working paper of the Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics.
Cambridge University.
Broughton, G., Brumfit, C., Flavell, R., Hill, P. and Pincas, A. (1980) Teaching English as a Foreign Language.
Second Edition. London and New York: Routledge.
Granger, S., Dagneaux, E., Meunier, P. and Paquot, M. (eds) (forthcoming) The International Corpus of Learner
English. Version 2.0. CD-ROM and Handbook. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses Universitaires de Louvain.
Lowenberg, P.H. (2002) Assessing English proficiency in the Expanding Circle. World Englishes 21/3, 431-435.
Milton, J. (2001) Elements of a written interlanguage: A computational and corpus-based study of institutional
influences on the acquisition of English by Hong Kong Chinese students. Language Centre: The Hong Kong
University of Science and Technology. Available at http://repository.ust.hk/dspace/handle/1783.1/1055.
Mukherjee, J. (forthcoming) Corpus-based insights into verb-complementational innovations in Indian English: Cases
of nativized semantico-structural analogy.
Nesselhauf, N. (2007) Co-selection phenomena across New Englishes : Do L2 varieties behave like foreign learner
language. Paper presented at the Chunks in Corpus Linguistics and Cognitive Linguistics workshop held in
Erlangen, 25-27 October, 2007.
Rong-Rong, K. (2001) Where have the prepositions gone? A study of English prepositional verbs and input
enhancement in instructed SLA. IRAL 39, 195-215.
Schneider, E.W. (2004) How to trace structural nativization: particle verbs in world Englishes. World Englishes 23/2,
Nikolas Gisborne
(University of Edinburgh)
Non-nominative subjects, construction grammars and grammaticalization
Friday, 15:30 – 16:00, Room 1098
In this paper I argue that construction grammars offer a theoretical basis for exploring
grammaticalization: because construction grammars are symbolic theories of grammar, they
permit the analyst to model incremental changes in semantics (such as bleaching and
subjectification) and how those changes can lead to reanalysis of the syntactic associations
within a construction. However, the argument for a symbolic theory of grammar, which is
organized in terms of meaningful constructional units, does not necessarily mean that
constructions can undergo grammaticalization. We could argue simply that constructions allow
lexical items’ distributions to change and that grammaticalization happens to lexical items
through different constructions.
In this paper, on the other hand, I argue that constructions themselves can undergo
grammaticalization—certain kinds of meaning can become conventionalized within
constructions as part of the constructional meaning; constructions can develop polysemy, leading
to changes in their meanings; and constructions can become increasingly schematic. There are
various well known processes that took place in the history of English which allow us to explore
this area of meaning.
In this paper, I look at quirky case marking which is found both in earlier varieties of English
and Icelandic. These are patterns where the apparent subject of a raising verb surfaces in the
‘wrong’ (dative) case (Andrews 1982). Similar phenomena are found in south-Asian languages
(Bhaskararao and Subbarao 2004). In these cases, the quirky case marked NP meets the usual
syntactic diagnostics for a subject, for all that it is in the wrong case. I argue that constructions
are made up of smaller constructions, and that semantics can drive a reanalysis of relations like
subject-of, which are part of the larger predicative construction, giving rise to a mismatch
phenomenon where the morphosyntactic realization of an argument is out of kilter with its
syntactic standing. At the same time, nominal case is sensitive to lexical and constructional
semantics: crucially here the dative case marking is a consequence of the constructional
meaning. Quirky case marking is argued to be an ‘interim’ construction of the kind that can
occur during processes of grammaticalization.
Modelling the changes involved in the development (and loss) of quirky case marking in English
in this way requires a some rethinking of the nature of construction grammars. In particular,
there are questions about granularity and syntactic relations. Often, construction grammars are
understood to be associations between phrasal syntax and semantic frames. In order to model
quirky case marking, it is necessary to treat specific grammatical relations such as Subject-of as
constructions, and to model the kinds of regular semantic association between grammatical
relations and semantic functions as a level of constructionhood. Grammatical relations are
commonly taken to be parts of constructions—Goldberg (1995) and Croft and Cruse (2004)—
but we shall see that treating grammatical relations as a specific class of constructions permits a
subtle fine-grained analysis of this particular grammatical change.
Sandra Götz and Marco Schilk
(University of Giessen)
Formulaic sequences in spoken ENL, ESL and EFL
Wednesday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1021
It has been pointed out in previous research (cf. e.g. Conklin and Schmitt 2007) that frequent
formulaic sequences (or multiword chunks or lexical bundles) are not only characteristic of
English as a Native Language (ENL), but can also be found in non-native Englishes. There are,
however, differences between native speakers and non-native speakers with regard to the
frequencies and functions of formulaic sequences. To a certain degree, these differences are
caused by the different acquisition processes, as first-language acquisition is held to be more
holistic in nature while second-language acquisition tends to be more analytic (cf. Wray 2002).
Also, non-native speakers have been shown to use prefabricated language in functionally
different ways from native speakers by, for example, using more pragmatic prefabs than lexical
prefabs (cf. Wiktorsson 2000). Such functional differences in the use of formulaic sequences
may be related to different contextual conditions for the use of English as well as by different
fluency strategies in native and non-native users’ speech.
We assume that the use of formulaic sequences by competent speakers of institutionalised
varieties of English as a Second Language (ESL), e.g. Indian English speakers, shares some
aspects with ENL and some other aspects with English as a Foreign Language (EFL), e.g.
German learners’ use of English. The hypothesis is based on the fact that, on the one hand, ESL
varieties are nativised varieties with a wide range of intranational communication situations in
which English is regularly used (like ENL), while, on the other hand, ESL is acquired as a
second (or even third) language in educational institutions (like EFL).
In our talk, we will focus on formulaic sequences in corpora of spoken British English (ENL),
spoken Indian English (ESL) and English spoken by advanced German learners of English
(EFL). We will report on findings from a comparative pilot study and discuss to what extent the
use of formulaic sequences is the same across spoken ENL, ESL and EFL and where we find
differences in frequencies and functions. For example, our corpus data show that while there is a
large area of overlap in the use of frequent multiword expressions across ENL, ESL and EFL,
there are also variety-specific preferences, e.g. in the use of individual epistemological signals.
Native speakers, for example, prefer the expression (and) things like that, whereas the most
frequent and typical Indian English equivalent is (and) all those things and German learners tend
to use something like that. The present paper will provide a systematic overview of the use of
lexical and pragmatic prefabs in spoken variants of ENL, ESL and EFL.
Conklin, K and Schmitt, N. (2007) “Formulaic Sequences: Are They Processed More Quickly than Nonformulaic
Language by Native and Nonnative Speakers?”, Applied Linguistics 29(1), 72-89.
Wiktorsson, M. (2000) “Register Differences between Prefabs in Native and EFL English”. The Department of
English in Lund. Working Papers in Linguistics Vol. 1. Available at: <http://www.englund.lu.se/research/
Wray, A. (2002) Formulaic Language and the Lexicon. Cambridge: CUP.
Victorina González-Díaz and Nuria Yáñez-Bouza
(University of Liverpool / University of Manchester)
Prescriptivism and education practices in late 20th-c. British schools
Thursday, 16:30 – 17:00, Room 1015
Previous work on normative English linguistics has focused on two main areas of research,
namely, the works of late 18th c. grammarians (e.g. Tieken-Boon van Ostade 2005) and their
impact on social networks (e.g. Tieken-Boon van Ostade 1996, 2000; Sairio 2006) and general
contemporary language usage (e.g. Auer 2006, Auer and González-Díaz 2005).
More recently, Beal’s (2007) pioneering work has looked into manifestations of what she labels
instances of “new prescriptivism” in present-day manuals of etiquette and rhetoric, concluding
that the new prescriptivism “signals a backlash against what is perceived as the laissez-faire
attitude of late twentieth-century linguists and educationalists”. It is the latter group that interests
us in this paper.
The history of English grammar teaching in schools has gone through a predominantly
prescriptive tradition in the 18th c. to an allegedly descriptive approach in the 20th c.: the most
important features of the National Curriculum (1991) are “the absence of the word error” and
that grammar-teaching is intended to be “descriptive, not prescriptive” (Hudson and Walmsley
2005:611). The years immediately before the NC thus deserve special attention.
Based on the LLMC Corpus (a collection of school surveys commissioned by the government’s
Assessment Performance Unit between 1979 and 1988), this paper investigates the prevalence of
the 18th c. grammar-teaching tradition (Michael 1987) in the late 20th c. educational domain. We
will first draw a comparative analysis of selected grammatical and orthographical features in two
data sets. These latter will at a later stage be matched against contemporary teaching materials
(cf. Burns 1976). This type of analysis will allow us not only to track short-term changes in the
educational agenda of Thatcherite government but also to examine critically the extent to which
its goals and methods mirror those of the 18th c. prescriptive approaches to grammar-teaching.
Auer, A. (2006) Precept and Practice: The Influence of Prescriptivism on the English Subjunctive. Dalton-Puffer,
C., D. Kastovsky, N. Ritt and Herbert Schendl eds. Syntax, Style and Grammatical Norms: English from
1500-2000. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 33-53.
Auer, A. and V. González-Díaz (2005) Eighteenth-century prescriptivism in English – A re-evaluation of its effects
on actual language usage. Multilingua 24(4), 317-41.
Beal, J. C. (2007) Three Hundred Years of Prescriptivism (and counting…). Plenary paper at the Third Late Modern
English Conference (LMEC3), 30 August – 1 September 2007, Leiden (The Netherlands).
Burns, S. (1976) An Annotated Bibliography of Texts on Writing Skills: Grammar and Usage, Composition,
Rhetoric, and Technical Writing. New York: Garland.
Hudson, Richard and John Walmsley (2005) The English patient: English grammar and teaching in the twentieth
century. Journal of Linguistics 41, 593-622.
Michael, I. (1987) The teaching of English from the sixteenth century to 1870. Cambridge: CUP.
Sairio, A. (2006) Network roles and linguistic influence in the Bluestocking network: The progressive and
preposition stranding as case studies. Paper presented at DELS (Directions in English Language Studies),
Manchester, 6-8 April 2006.
Tieken-Boon van Ostade, I. (1996) Social Network Theory and Eighteenth-century English: the Case of Boswell.
Britton D. ed. English Historical Linguistics 1994, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 327–337.
Tieken-Boon van Ostade, I. (2000) Robert Dodsley and the Genesis of Lowth’s Short Introduction to English
Grammar. Historiographia Linguistica 27, 21–36.
Tieken-Boon van Ostade, I. (2005) Of Social Networks and Linguistic Influence: the Language of Robert Lowth and
his Correspondents. Conde-Silvestre, J. C. (ed.) Sociolinguistics and the History of English. Special issue of
International Journal of English Studies 5, 135-157.
Marina Gorlach
(State College of Denver)
Evolution of some English modal auxiliaries – from grammaticalization to merger
Friday, 15:00 – 15:30, Room 1015
This paper will discuss some aspects of the historical development of certain English modal
auxiliaries, namely may and ought (to), focusing in particular on the semantic change and the
decrease in frequency of their occurrence in literary texts.
There exists a general consensus on the change currently happening in spoken English: can and
should are consistently replacing may and ought (to) in many of their functions. How established
this change is can probably be concluded from the analysis of the written body of language,
which traditionally embraces semantic change with delay. I will compare the occurrence of the
two pairs of modal auxiliaries that seem to be showing the tendency of merging together in
numerous British and American literary texts of the 19th and 20th centuries by the renowned
authors (e.g., J. Austen, A. Christie, J.K. Rowling, and others).
I am going to analyze the semantic functions of may that have been adopted by can, among them
the expression of possibility and permission, contributing to the more extensive use of the latter.
I will also discuss how the ability of should to participate in subjunctive constructions may be
viewed as one of the factors reducing the role of ought on the semantic map of English.
The steady decline in the use of may and ought by writers is not a recent phenomenon, but rather
a reflection of the systematic process of semantic change that has been taking place for several
centuries, usually following the spatial-temporal-existential path of development. I will give a
brief overview of this change from the Old English texts, where they function as proper verbs,
through their grammaticalization and subsequent semantic change (Middle English texts) to
merger of their functions (contemporary texts). I will attempt to explain the direction of the
semantic change observed and account for the internal (from concrete to abstract meaning) and
external (globalization and pidginization/creolization processes) factors promoting it and making
it possible.
Closs, Elizabeth (1965) Diachronic Syntax and Generative grammar. Language 41: 401-414.
Hopper, Paul, and Elizabeth Closs Traugott. [1993] (2003) Grammaticalization. 2nd ed., revised and enlarged
edition. (Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sweetser, Eve. E. (1990) From Etymology to Pragmatics: Metaphorical and Cultural Aspects of Semantic Structure.
(Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 54.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Krug, Manfred G. (2000) Emerging English Modals: A Corpus-Based Study of Grammaticalization. (Topics in
English Linguistics [TiEL] 32.) Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Eva-Maria Graf
(University of Klagenfurt)
What happens really in coaching and how does it happen? From theory to practice with the
help of an applied and qualitatively oriented pragmatic analysis
Thursday, 17:00 – 17:30, Room 1021
Unlike psychotherapy and counseling, doctor-patient interaction and other professional
discourses, the communicative interaction of coaching has slipped linguists’ attention. This is a
rather unfortunate fact, as coaching is currently in the process of professionalization and
standardization. Experts from many different fields such as organizational psychology,
(psycho)therapy, business, human resource development etc. are working together on this
The present methodology, broadly defined as applied and qualitatively oriented pragmatic
analysis, aims at a first functional description of the discourse in (person)-oriented coaching. The
method integrates both conversation analytic and critical discourse analytic concepts to
qualitatively describe the interactive patterns found in face-to-face coaching interactions.
Whereas CA offers important equipment to capture communicative-internal structures such as
turn-taking, turn-construction etc., CDA raises the awareness that the particular discourse type of
coaching is professional, institutionalized communication that is influenced by questions of
power and dependency.
Starting out from the stocks of interaction knowledge (Peräkylä and Vehviläinen 2003), based on
the (idealized) coaching literature and training concepts of how coaches should
communicatively interact with their clients, this method wants to show how coaches really
communicate with their clients, both on a strategic as well as tactical level.
Peräkylä, A. and S. Vehviläinen (2003) “Conversation analysis and the professional stocks of interactional
knowledge”, Discourse and Society 14(6), 727-750.
Solveig Granath and Michael Wherrity
(University of Karlstad)
Just what everybody is loving and wanting: a unified approach to
so-called stative verbs in the progressive
Thursday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1023
English verbs are often classified on the basis of whether they refer to events or states; the
former are usually called dynamic and the latter stative. One characteristic of stative verbs, often
mentioned in grammars, is that they are only rarely used in the progressive. Quirk et al.’s
explanation for this is that “stative verb meanings are inimical to the idea that some phenomenon
is ‘in progress’” (Quirk et al. 1985: 198). The same idea is behind Mair’s claim that “it seems
plausible to regard the use of progressives with stative verbs as an instance of
contextually/pragmatically licensed rule-breaking for specific rhetorical or expressive effect”
(Mair 2006: 92; our italics). Quirk et al. (1985: 178) also maintain that the distinction is based on
meaning rather than properties of the verbs as such, and that “one verb may shift, in meaning,
from one category to another” when it appears in the progressive.
In this paper, we take a functional-semantic approach and argue that -ing has a basic, invariant
meaning, PROCESS, which is operative in all linguistic contexts, and that speakers’ choice of the
[BE + Ving] construction with all verbs is motivated by the message(s) they wish to
communicate (see Wherrity 2001). Such -ing messages as ‘vividness’ and ‘continuous activity’
for example (which are ultimately answerable to the basic meaning) represent additional
semantic parameters which, while elaborating on, do not involve a shift in verb meaning. We
also propose that the notion of progressivity (advancing), when present, does not come from the
-ing or the construction itself, but rather from the semantics of the verb (as in ‘the leaf is
decaying’) and/or from additional elements in the utterance. Thus, in the case of the “stative”
love, the message may be directional and incremental (hence ‘progressive’): ‘I’m loving you
more and more each day’ or non-directional and non-incremental: ‘I’m loving every minute of it’
(cf. the parallel case with the “dynamic” verb boil: ‘the water is boiling away’ vs. ‘the water is
boiling’). Finally we argue that irrespective of whether rules based on the questionable
dichotomy of stative/dynamic are broken, so-called stative verbs can be and are used in the [BE
+ Ving] construction whenever the communicative need arises.
To support our analysis, we conducted a search of a British newspaper corpus, the
Guardian/Observer, spanning almost two decades, for examples of verbs normally classified as
statives appearing in the [BE + Ving] construction. In brief, we found that not only do most of
the 48 verbs investigated occur in this construction, but that in the case of some, e.g. love, think,
hear and see, there has been a slow but steady increase in frequency of occurrence since 1990.
Mair, Christian (2006) Twentieth-Century English: History, Variation and Standardization. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech and Jan Svartvik (1985) A Comprehensive Grammar of the
English Language. London: Longman.
Wherrity, Michael P. (2001) The Gerund/Infinitive Contrast in English Verb Complementation. Ann Arbor, Mich.:
UMI Dissertation Services.
Joachim Grzega
(University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt)
The idea of “Basic Global English” as an example of linguistics for a broad global public
Friday, 14:00 – 14:30, Room 1019
Linguists have already carried out valuable corpus-based research on English as a lingua franca,
on cross-cultural pragmatics, on cross-cultural semantics and on communicative success and
failure. Since a competence in English is nowadays a key qualification on the international as
well as on national labor markets, the results of these linguistic studies have been used to create a
language model that aims at enabling people to acquire global communicative competence in a
rapid way: Basic Global English (BGE). BGE consists of 750 words to be mastered by all
learners and 250 words to be selected by each learner individually, some word-formation rules, a
low number of grammatical rules, the most important phonetic rules and a number of
transculturally useable conversational strategies. The paper shall illustrate the development of
BGE and a report on its first experiences with children and adults.
Ulrike Gut
(University of Augsburg)
Transfer and learner errors – an explanation for structural variation in the new English
Wednesday, 12:00 – 12:30, Room 1021
Concepts such as ‘native language transfer’ and ‘learner errors’ are often invoked for the
description and explanation of the structural properties of new English varieties. Quirk (1990: 5)
calls them results of general second language acquisition processes. Hickey (2004: 529) posits
that a speaker’s first language (L1) has a decisive influence on the structure of their L2 English.
Likewise, Schneider (2003: 248) proposes that new varieties of English show features that are
based on transfer from indigenous languages. However, the few empirical studies comparing
structures in new English varieties and second language productions did not find convincing
evidence for L1 transfer. Rather, they suggest that it is extra-linguistic factors such as norm
orientation which determine the specific structural properties of the New Englishes (Simo Bobda
2003, Gut 2007).
In this talk, some of the key questions in the field will be raised: To what extent does L1 transfer
constitute the basis of some structural properties of the New Englishes? Can they be described as
learner errors? At what stage in the development of a variety does transfer occur? Which of the
‘learner errors’ is likely to enter the structure of an emerging variety? I will argue that the
discrepancy between theoretical claims and empirical findings is due to the complex nature of
the concepts ‘L1 transfer’ and ‘learner error’. Based on findings from second language research,
an overview will be given of the different ways in which L1 structures can be transferred to a
second language. It will be shown that L1 influence should be conceptualized not as direct
structural transfer but rather as the use of L1 knowledge that can manifest itself in very diverse
ways. Further, a corpus-based analysis of some features in the Singaporean, Nigerian, Jamaican
and East African varieties of English will be interpreted in this light.
Gut, Ulrike (2007) First language influence and final consonant clusters in the new Englishes of Singapore and
Nigeria. World Englishes, 26(3), 346-359.
Hickey, Raymond (2004) Englishes in Asia and Africa: origin and structure. In Legacies of Colonial English. Edited
by Raymond Hickey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 503-535.
Quirk, Randolph (1990) Language varieties and standard language. English Today, 21, 3-10.
Schneider, Edgar (2003) The dynamics of new Englishes: from identity construction to dialect birth. Language, 79,
Simo Bobda, Augustin (2003) The formation of regional and national features in African English pronunciation.
English World-Wide, 24, 17-42.
Florian Haas
(Free University of Berlin)
Comparing constraints on passivisation in English and German: the case of ‘symmetric
Thursday, 12:00 – 12:30, Room 1019
Constraints on passivization have mainly been formulated in terms of semantic properties of
verbs and their arguments. Comparative data from English and German suggest that at least in
some areas of the lexicon other factors are at work as well. Different uses of the English verb
meet have been investigated with respect to their occurrence in the active and passive diatheses.
It turns out that there are striking differences between these uses, for some (near-) categorical
and for others in terms of frequency. A comparison to their German counterparts, each realized
as a formally distinct lexeme and each conforming to the general frequency distribution of
actives and passives in German, reveals that semantic and pragmatic motivations cannot
sufficiently account for the English distribution. I propose that it is the distinguishability of
meanings between formally identical verb forms which is responsible for the tighter association
of use type and diathesis in English.
Stephanie Hackert
(University of Regensburg)
Linguistic nationalism and the emergence of the English native speaker
Friday, 15:30 – 16:00, Room 1021
The proposed paper examines the rhetoric of national character as deployed in the concept of the
English native speaker.
At least since Chomsky (1965: 3) famously defined linguistic theory as “concerned primarily
with an ideal speaker-listener, in a completely homogenous speech-community,” the native
speaker has been conceived of as “a common reference point for all branches of linguistics”
(Coulmas 1981: 1). Over the past twenty-five years, however, dissatisfaction with the concept
has grown, particularly in connection with the study of World Englishes, where it has become
clear that reality is much more complex than the neat distinction into native and non-native
speakers of English appears to suggest (cf., e.g., Schneider 2003: 238). A number of researchers
(cf. Singh 1998) have also pointed out that, while there may be linguistic differences between
native and non-native speakers of English, these differences are not what matters, as the native
speaker is really a political construct carrying a particular ideological baggage.
In my paper, I will show that many of the associations that burden the native speaker and make
the concept’s application to the World Englishes context problematic have a long history.
Employing a corpus of texts that extends from the mid-nineteenth century to just after World
War I and includes not only the classics of the linguistic literature but also collections of lesser
known periodical articles such as Harris (1995), I will retrace some of the discourses surrounding
the emergence of the English native speaker. In order to do so, I will draw on methods of
discourse analysis as developed particularly by the discourse-historical approach in Critical
Discourse Analysis (Wodak 2001).
The link between linguistic nativeness and the ideology of nationalism has been made before
(e.g., Kramsch 1997: 359; Piller 2001: 114; Acevedo Butcher 2005: 16; Foley 2007: 16) but has
not, to my knowledge, been explored explicitly. However, a look at Marsh (1859), the text in
which the phrase native speaker first occurs, shows that it is clearly present from the concept’s
inception. A surge of nationalist feeling pervades not only Marsh (1859) but much of the
linguistic literature between the mid-nineteenth century and World War I. Underlying it was
Anglo-Saxonism, a powerful historical ideology and political theory which, during the second
half of the nineteenth and first decades of the twentieth centuries, encompassed the British
Empire and the U.S. in a logic of racial exceptionalism based on both descent and culture. In that
framework, language played a crucial role, as the traits of the English-speaking people – an
expansionist drive, a youthful and manly character, and an emphasis on political liberties – were
seen to be traveling along lines of Anglo-Saxon blood (cf., e.g., Horsman 1981; Kramer 2002).
Also important were developments in nationalism as they took place in Britain and the U.S. in
the second half of the nineteenth century: whereas the former experienced a “moment of
Englishness” (Kumar 2003: 175), which focused nationalist sentiment less on the civic and
political institutions of Britain (cf. Colley 1994) than on the ethnic and cultural characteristics of
England and the English, the U.S. saw a redefinition and focusing of what being American
implied, a strong nativist movement being part of this (Parish 1995: 223).
What the analysis of the discourses surrounding the emergence of the native speaker shows is
that the second half of the nineteenth century was a period in which linguists started to think
differently about languages and their speakers. As a new term characterizing particular language
users and setting them off from other groups, the native speaker provided an important way of
conceptualizing and labeling a particular linguistic identity and drawing boundaries between
some speakers and others. In sum, if we are to understand the ideology of the English native
speaker today, we need to understand, as fully as possible, the historical origins of the
assumptions and beliefs upon which it rests.
Acevedo Butcher, Carmen (2005) “The case against the ‘native speaker.’” English Today 21/2: 13-24.
Chomsky, Noam (1965) Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press.
Colley, Linda (1994) Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837. London: Pimlico.
Coulmas, Florian (1981) “Introduction: The concept of native speaker.” A Festschrift for Native Speaker. Ed. by F.
Coulmas. The Hague: Mouton, 1-25.
Crowley, Tony (22003) Standard English and the Politics of Language. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave
Foley, Joseph A. (2007) “English as a global language: My two satangs’ worth.” RELC Journal 38/1: 7-17.
Harris, Roy (1995) Language and Linguistics. 4 vols. Ed. by. R. Harris. London: Routledge, Thoemmes Press.
Horsman, Reginald (1981) Race and Manifest Destiny: The Origins of American Racial Anglo-Saxonism.
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Kramer, Paul A. (2002) “Empires, exceptions, and Anglo-Saxons: Race and rule between the British and United
States Empires, 1880-1910.”
The Journal of American History 88/4. Accessed at
<http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/ jah/88.4/kramer.html>.
Kramsch, Claire (1997) “The privilege of the nonnative speaker.” PMLA 112/3: 359-69.
Kumar, Krishan (2003) The Making of English National Identity. Cambridge: CUP.
Marsh, George P. (1859) “Address.” In Inaugural Addresses of Theodore W. Dwight, Professor of Law, and of
George P. Marsh, Professor of English Literature, in Columbia College, New York. New York: By
Authority of the Trustees. Accessed at <http://name.umdl.umich.edu/age3247>.
Milroy, James (1999) “The consequences of standardisation in descriptive linguistics.” Standard English: The
Widening Debate. Ed. by T. Bex and R. J. Watts. London: Routledge, 16-42.
Parish, Peter (1995) “An exception to most of the rules: What made American nationalism different in the midnineteenth century?” Prologue 27/3: 219-30.
Piller, Ingrid (2001) “Who, if anyone, is a native speaker?” Anglistik 12/2: 109-21.
Singh, Rajendra (1998) The Native Speaker: Multilingual Perspectives. Ed. by R. Singh. New Delhi, Thousand
Oaks, London: Sage.
Wodak, Ruth (2001) “The discourse-historical approach.” Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. Ed. by R. Wodak
and M. Meyer. London: Sage, 63-94.
Beate Hampe
(University of Jena)
Have one’s N V-ed in the BNC: the English “passive of experience” vs. causative have
Thursday, 17:00 – 17:30, Room 1019
Studies of the (diachronic) syntax of English (Brinton 1988; Denison 1993) have mentioned a
verbal construction of the form have one’s N V-ed, which Brinton (1988, 2000) calls the “passive
of experience” (ex (1a-c)), and which resembles the passive voice to some extent: (i) only
passivizable verbs can occur in it, (ii) a non-agentive NP expressing the patient/ experiencer
appears in subject position serving as the topic, and (iii) the agent of the action can be expressed
by means of a by-phrase, but is usually left unspecified.
(1) a. He had his head cut off.
(vs. His head was cut off.)
b. He had his hopes dashed.
(vs. His hopes were dashed.)
c. He had his reputation tarnished by the news. (vs. His reputation was tarnished by the
On the other hand, the construction is very unlike the passive in that the auxiliary involved is
have, and in that a second NP, formally the direct object of the verb, intrudes between the
auxiliary and the main verb – a highly unusual present-day English word order. Additionally, in
all examples provided in the literature, the NP exhibits a possessive determiner that is co-indexed
with the subject-NP referent and restricts the object NP’s reference to a (literal or metaphorical)
part or possession of the subject-NP’s referent. This creates a very strong emphasis on the
experiencer/patient, which thus does not only appear in topic position, but also fills the
comment-slot, albeit with the focus much narrowed down. The examples given in the literature
furthermore suggest that this emphasis goes along with a strong negative prosody.
In the literature (Denison 1993), the “passive of experience” is contrasted with various, formally
related constructions (ex (2)-(4)), all of which exhibit the same auxiliary and word order, but
lack the possessive determiner with the NP and thus the emphatic double-focus in the
information structure. While the subject-NP in (2) is also non-agentive, this is not the case with
(3) and (4), which differ from (1) in that they exhibit so-called “causative have” and in that their
subject-NP is agentive, at least in an non-immediate sense.
“have passive”:
“conclusive have perfect”:
“causative have”:
He had some books given to him.
She’ll have the police convinced of your innocence.
She’ll have you arrested.
The case study presented here uses methods from quantitative corpus linguistics in order to
investigate the 1,280 instances of have one’s N V-ed to be found in the BNC. In order to identify
the central uses of the construction, its lexical realisations are evaluated by means of two
“collostruction methods”, i.e. simple and covarying collexeme analysis (Stefanowitsch and Gries
2003; Gries and Stefanowitsch 2004). In a second step, these basic uses are related to the genres
in which they predominantly occur. Finally, in a more exploratory, but complementary sort of
quantitative analysis, a hierarchical configurational frequency analysis (hcfa) is employed to
identify the most important combinations of some of the construction’s major semantic features
(such thematic role of subject NP, or control over and desirability of the result achieved).
It is shown that (i) the lexical realizations of this verbal construction, both as regards the object
NPs and as regards the participles involved, only utilize a small part of the semantic space that
could in principle be sanctioned by the syntactic construction – thus arguing for a constructional
meaning which is a lot more restricted than that of the passive voice, and (ii) that the seemingly
contrasting constructions (1) and (4) do in fact not present two clearly distinct syntactic
constructions, but rather the endpoints of a semantic cline along which the subject-NP is
decreasingly agentive and in control.
Thomas Herbst and Susen Schüller
(University of Erlangen-Nürnberg)
A valency approach to syntax
Thursday, 12:00 – 12:30, Room 1021
The aim of this paper is to outline the basic principles of an approach to syntactic analysis that
combines elements of lexis (valency) and grammar (sentence structure). This approach forms the
basis of a new introduction to syntactic analysis for students of English.
The paper will focus on decisions that had to be taken with respect to word classes and phrases
and outline major points of difference between our approach and more traditional models. In
particular the valency-based notion of particle and particle phrases (subsuming traditional
prepositional phrases and subordinate clauses) will be discussed.
Raymond Hickey
(University of Essen)
Irish English and the ‘inner circle’ / ‘outer circle’ distinction
Thursday, 14:00 – 14.30, Room 1016
This contribution will consider the nature of English in Ireland (Hickey 2007) in the context of
the so-called ‘Inner Circle’/‘Outer Circle’ distinction among different forms of the language
(originally proposed by Kachru, see Kachru 1986). It will attempt to draw a clear structural
picture of the types of features which are found in the English of older colonies and that of more
recent colonies, both those of the northern hemisphere (earlier overseas colonies) and those of
the southern hemisphere (later overseas colonies). In particular the role of language contact and
language shift will be considered (Hickey (ed.) 2009, Mesthrie 1992). Here the input languages
have played a role, but also general features of language contact/shift scenarios have been
important. Furthermore, the paper will look at whether the general social and cultural position of
postcolonial countries would seem to lead, or have led, to similar structural features arising in
areas which are not geographically contiguous and which have not been in contact throughout
their recent history (Schneider 2007). Different linguistic models, e.g. Schneider (2003), which
have been put forward to explain the linguistic nature of inner and outer circle Englishes will
also be considered as will the question of whether postcolonial Englishes have gone through a
cyclic development.
Hickey, Raymond (2007) Irish English. History and Present-day Forms. Cambridge: University Press.
Hickey, Raymond (ed.) (2009) Handbook of Language Contact. Oxford: Blackwells.
Kachru, Braj 1986. The alchemy of English. The spread, functions, and models of non-native Englishes. English in a
global context Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
Mesthrie, Rajend (1992) English in Language Shift. The History, Structure and Sociolinguistics of South African
Indian English. Cambridge: University Press.
Schneider, Edgar (2003) ‘The dynamics of New Englishes: from identity construction to dialect birth’, Language
79: 233-281.
Schneider, Edgar (2007) Postcolonial English. Varieties around the World. Cambridge: University Press.
Michaela Hilbert
(University of Hamburg)
Interrogative inversion in varieties of English: a case of Angloversals?
Wednesday, 12:30 – 13:00, Room 1021
Interrogative constructions are a field of syntax in which varieties of English show a range of
common features not shared by Standard English, including the absence of inversion in main
clause interrogatives (Where he went?) and the presence of inversion in embedded interrogatives
(I don’t know where is he.) Such phenomena have primarily been studied from the perspectives
of regional dialectology and language contact. Additionally, since the phenomena in question
occur across the borders of region (Great Britain, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean) and variety
type (L1 varieties, L2 varieties, pidgins and creoles), claims of their status as potential
“universals” have given rise to new approaches from functional typology (“vernacular
universals”, Chambers 2004; “angloversals”, Mair 2003; “vernacular angloversals”, Kortmann
and Szmrecsanyi 2004).
Often, however, the two approaches have provided conflicting results: Filppula (2004), for
instance, claims that influence from Irish is the source of Irish English embedded inversion; this
does not, however, account for the occurrence of the same feature in Indian English, Singapore
English or Jamaican English. The cross-variety perspective, on the other hand, has so far not
provided explanations as to the specific sources of the phenomena in question, and has thus
failed to predict their presence in one variety and their absence in another.
This paper combines linguistic typology and contact linguistics on the methodological level by
comparing the factors that determine variation in interrogative inversion across a range of
varieties (as covered by the International Corpus of English). It will argue for a common
explanation of interrogative inversion in the varieties in question, including Irish English. It will
also show, however, that what looks the same, need not always be the same.
Chambers, J.K. (2004) “Dynamic typology and vernacular universals”. In Dialectology meets typology: Dialect
grammar from a cross-linguistic perspective, Bernd Kortmann et al. (eds.) Berlin, New York: Mouton de
Gruyter, 127-145.
Filppula, Markku (2004) “Irish English: morphology and syntax”. In A handbook of varieties of English, Bernd
Kortmann et al., (eds.), Berlin, New York: Mounton de Gruyter, 73-101.
Kortmann, Bernd and Benedikt Szmrecsanyi (2004) “Global synopsis: morphological and syntactic variation in
English”. In A handbook of varieties of English, Bernd Kortmann et al., (eds.), Berlin, New York: Mounton
de Gruyter, 1142-1202.
Mair, Christian (2003) “Kreolismen und verbales Identitätsmanagement im geschriebenen jamaikanischen
Englisch.” In Zwischen Ausgrenzung und Hybridisierung, E. Vogel, A. Napp and W. Lutterer (eds.),
Würzburg: Ergon, 79-96.
Lars Hinrichs
(University of Texas, Austin)
Internet data and the study of orthography as social action: the case of written Jamaican Creole
Friday, 15:30 – 16:00, Room 1016
Online communication is an immensely rich data source for the study of informal written
language. By applying corpus-linguistic methodology to these data we can study the issue of
nonstandard spelling variants, as well as their underlying motivations, in a principled way. This
paper utilizes a corpus of Jamaican online interactions (in e-mails, blogs, and online forums) to
produce a quantitative account of non-standard English spelling variants.
In linguistic studies of nonstandard orthography, questions of identity and subversiveness are
usually highlighted. Recent work on ‘orthography as social action’ (Sebba 2007) broadens the
view toward a more comprehensive picture of orthographic choices. In the case of an Englishbased creole language such as Jamaican Creole (JamC), additional factors contribute to the
orthographic choices that writers make. Since this creole is usually written in stylistic contrast with
Standard English (StE), its orthography can also serve to disambiguate codes, as in a division
between standard spelling in StE passages, and nonstandard spellings of English-based words in
Creole passages (cf. Deuber and Hinrichs 2007).
Thus, at least two factors constrain the choice of nonstandard spellings in written JamC: the desire
to define the writer’s – or another interactional participant’s – social identity in a way that
highlights opposition to the mainstream, and English-Creole disambiguation. In addition, the
location of the writer shows a significant statistical impact on spelling choices: writers in the
diaspora relate to written representations of language differently than those in the homeland.
Alternations between variants of high-frequency-items such as <me> and <mi>, <never> and
<neva>, and <you> and <yu(h)> are considered as a product of the interplay of all these factors.
Deuber, D. and L. Hinrichs (2007) “Dynamics of orthographic standardization in Jamaican Creole and Nigerian
Pidgin.” World Englishes 26(1): 22-47.
Sebba, M. (2007) Spelling and Society. Cambridge et al., Cambridge UP.
Christian Hoffmann
(University of Augsburg)
Once upon a blog … – blending the oral, literal and visual in travel blog narratives
Wednesday, 14:30 – 15:00, Room 1023
New media technologies greatly facilitate the use of multimodal resources (text, pictures, film,
audio) in computer-mediated communication (CMC), e.g. websites, weblogs, discussion boards, emails, etc. Yet, most linguistic approaches to the description of online communication still
privilege verbal (oral or written) over visual (pictures, films) modes of analysis, attributing mainly
decorative or illustrative functions to the latter semiotic resources. Taking Labov and Waletzky’s
generic structure of narrative analysis (1967) as a springboard, this paper illustrates how weblog
authors apply and allocate various multimodal means to a number of e-narratives in and across
travel blog posts. It appears that weblog communication lends itself particularly well to this type of
analysis as it represents an intermediary or “bridging” kind of electronic discourse which is located
between webpage and chat-room. As such, weblogs specifically mirror both the expressive limits
and contextual constraints of “written speech” in a malleable internet genre which oscillates
between communicative privacy and publicness, self-reflection and self-revelation, identity
construction and negotiation. I will attempt to capture weblogs’ medial, formal and functional
hybridity by proposing three cumulative prototypical degrees of interactivity which, I claim, are
basic to all types of online communication. Arguably, this basic subset of interactive dimensions
will serve to unravel at least some of the crucial interrelations which currently hold between the
socio-medial set up, the structural properties of spoken language (“written speech”) and semiotic
resources applied by online users.
Labov, William and Waletzky, Joshua (1967) “Narrative analysis” In: J. Helm (Ed.), Essays on the Verbal and Visual
Arts. Seattle: U. of Washington Press, 12-44.
Sebastian Hoffmann
(University of Lancaster)
Using internet-derived data as a proxy for authentic spoken language – an evaluation
Thursday, 14:00 – 14:30, Room 1021
In recent years, linguists have increasingly drawn on Internet-derived data to complement existing
standard corpora. However, the methodological implications of using this type of data have yet to
be fully evaluated – and my paper is intended as a contribution to this discussion.
In particular, I will focus on the use of Internet-derived data for the study of spoken language.
Given the difficulties (and costs) involved in compiling traditional spoken corpora, it is no wonder
that scholars turn to chat-rooms, electronic transcripts and discussion boards as possible proxies for
spoken data (cf. for example Hoffmann’s (2007) use of the CNN transcripts to investigate the
intensifier so or Buchstaller et al.’s (forthcoming) study of the quotative all on the basis of Usenet
data). However, the question needs to be asked to what extent this type of data in fact adequately
mirrors features of spoken language.
For my paper, I will concentrate on the potential uses of a large corpus of Usenet postings (> 1
billion words). I will first briefly discuss the technical issues involved in compiling such a corpus
and then focus in some detail on an evaluation of its speech-like qualities by comparing this set of
data to existing spoken corpora such as the spoken component of the BNC or the Longman Spoken
American Corpus. With the help of cluster analyses involving a whole range of different linguistic
features, I will attempt to determine which areas of linguistic description (e.g. lexis, morphology,
syntax) might be most adequately conducted on the basis of this type of “speech-like” data.
Preliminary findings – perhaps not unexpectedly – suggest that Usenet discussions differ on the
whole considerably from authentic speech and that extreme caution must therefore be exercised
when this type of data is used as a proxy for spoken language.
Buchstaller, I., Rickford, J.R., Traugott, E.C., Wasow, T. and Zwicky, A. (Forthcoming) “The Sociolinguistics of a
short-lived Innovation: Tracing the development of quotative all across real and apparent time.“
Hoffmann, S. (2007) “From Web-Page to Mega-Corpus: The CNN Transcripts.” In: M. Hundt, N. Nesselhauf and C.
Biewer (eds.) Corpus Linguistics and the Web. Amsterdam: Rodopi. 69-85.
Willem Hollmann and Anna Siewierska
(University of Lancaster)
Definite article reduction in Lancashire dialect: constructions in a sociolinguistic context
Friday, 14:00 – 14:30, Room 1098
One of the most stereotypical features of northern British English dialects is definite article
reduction (DAR), in which the can be reduced to [θ], [ʔ], or ∅:
(1) …they built the [ðə] school, Townley School
(2) Miss Riley she were er (.) er in the [ðə] infants you see
(3) Well colliers were coming on the [ðə] bottom erm near the [ʔ] bottom of the ∅
DAR has been considered in terms of its history (Jones 2002), its phonology (e.g. Barry 1972,
Petyt 1985, Jones 1999), and its pragmatic function (Rupp and Page-Verhoeff 2005). This paper
takes a different approach, in studying DAR not only in terms of its phonological environment
but also in relation to the nature and frequency of the grammatical construction in which it
occurs, as well as information structure factors. In doing so, we combine a sociolinguistic
investigation with the theoretical machinery of the usage-based model.
The usage-based model suggests that over time morphophonological reduction will be greater in
frequent constructions than in infrequent ones (e.g. Bybee and Scheibman 1999, Berkenfield
2001). There is convincing evidence for this, but it too often comes from standard language
varieties, ignoring non-standard features. Background information about the speakers is usually
limited, see e.g. Bybee and Scheibman, who simply note that their 6 informants reside in
Albuquerque, New Mexico (1999: 579). This bias towards the standard language and the lack of
attention to socio-geographic background is problematic because in non-standard varieties
expressions may acquire particular local significance and ‘resonance’ (in the sense of Beal 2000:
349), and so are susceptible to developing into identity markers. When this happens, the
correlation between token frequency and reduction may get distorted.
We illustrate this distortion with data from Lancashire, in the north west of England. First, we
corroborate existing literature which suggests that an explanation only in terms of phonological
environment does not fully account for DAR. Information structure does not explain all the facts
either. However, we show that a consideration of the grammatical construction in which DAR
occurs is insightful. For example, DAR is especially frequent in prepositional phrases. This is
interesting for syntactic theory, as it suggests that – in line with construction grammar (e.g.
Langacker 1987, Goldberg 1995, Croft 2001) – constructions are stored/used as wholes, rather
than assembled from constituent parts. Second, we show that frequency must not be considered
in isolation from local significance. For example, the speaker from whom examples (1-3) above
are taken systematically reduces the article preceding smallholdings, whereas with more frequent
nouns such as school reduction is less common. The usage-based model would predict the
opposite, but the observed pattern can be explained once we are aware of the local importance of
smallholdings, coupled with the local resonance of DAR.
The non-standard data lead us to conclude that the usage-based model/construction grammar
must be modified in order to account for those findings which typically reside in sociolinguistic
work. Since most speakers of a given language do not speak the standard variety, and as most
languages do not even have a clearly codified standard, this connection between sociolinguistics
and construction grammar is crucial.
Barry, M. V. (1972) The Morphemic Distribution of the Definite Article in Contemporary Regional English. In M.
F. Wakelin (ed.), Patterns in the Folk Speech of the British Isles. London: The Athlone Press.
Beal, Joan C. (2000) From Geordie Ridley to Viz: popular literature in Tyneside English. Language and Literature
Berkenfield, Catie (2001) The role of frequency in the realization of English that. In Joan L. Bybee and Paul J.
Hopper (eds.), Frequency and the emergence of linguistic structure, 281-308. Amsterdam/Philadelphia:
John Benjamins.
Bybee, Joan L. and Joanne Scheibman (1999) The effect of usage on degrees of constituency: the reduction of don’t
in English. Linguistics 37:575-596.
Coupland, Nikolas (1988) Dialect in use: sociolinguistic variation in Cardiff English. Cardiff: University of Wales
Croft, William (2001) Radical construction grammar. Syntactic theory in typological perspective. Oxford: Oxford
University Press.
Goldberg, Adele E. (1995) Constructions: a construction grammar approach to argument structure. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
Jones, Mark (1999) The Phonology of Definite Article Reduction. In Clive Upton and Katie Wales (eds), Dialectal
Variation in English: Proceedings of the Harold Orton Centenary Conference 1998, Leeds Studies in
English, XXX:103-122.
Jones, Mark (2002) The origin of definite article reduction in northern English dialects: evidence from dialect
allomorphy. English Language and Linguistics 6:325-345.
Langacker, Ronald W. (1987) Foundations of cognitive grammar. Vol.1: Theoretical prerequisites. Stanford:
Stanford University Press.
Petyt, K. M. (1985) Dialect and Accent in Industrial West Yorkshire. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Rupp, L. and Page-Verhoeff, H. (2005) Pragmatic and historical aspects of Definite Article Reduction in northern
English dialects. English World-Wide 26:325–346.
Magnus Huber
(University of Giessen)
Ethno-phonological variation in the development of New Englishes:
the case of English in Ghana
Friday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1019
The divergences of West African English from the historical input variety British English (BrE)
are seen as nothing more than errors by many local language teachers, who are concerned about
falling standards; others treat such differences as signs of indigenization. Ghana presents no
exception here: there is a strong “complaint tradition”, but recent years have also witnessed the
first signs of an acceptance of a local standard. Thus, in Schneider’s (2003) five-stage
developmental model of World Englishes, GhaE falls somewhere between Phase 3
‘Nativization’, characterized by L1 transfers and the spread of local norms, and Phase 4
‘Endonormative Stabilization’, which is “marked by the gradual adoption and acceptance of an
indigenous linguistic norm, supported by a new, locally rooted linguistic self-confidence” (p.
249). Schneider also mentions internal variation as characteristic of the birth of New Englishes
(p. 272). To shed more light on this phenomenon, the present paper will explore phonetic and
phonological variability in the emergence of GhaE. Focussing on speakers representing different
Ghanaian ethnicities, I will adopt a quantitative approach and analyze features such as the
variable quality and distribution of the STRUT vowel, the replacement of the RP postalveolar
fricatives [...] by [., .], substitution of <th> by [tè, dð] or [t, d], or the realization of <wh> as [hw]
or [.]. The aim is to determine whether variation in GhaE indicates an emergent community norm
in that local variants
are adopted even by those GhaE speakers whose L1 phonologies would in fact allow
forms closer to the BrE input or which would require to treat it differently,
2. cannot be attributed to African language influence but represent separate developments.
The establishment of such community norms is important from a theoretical point of view,
demonstrating that GhaE is developing towards an autonomous and stable system.
Schneider, Edgar W. (2003) “The dynamics of New Englishes: from identity construction to dialect birth”.Language
79: 233-281.
Marianne Hundt and Katrin Vogel
(University of Zurich)
Overuse of the progressive in ESL and Learner Englishes – fact or fiction?
Wednesday, 14:30 – 15:00, Room 1021
A more extensive and deviant use of the progressive is a feature that is mentioned within the
context of both New Englishes and learner varieties of English. To date, however, use of the
progressive in ESL and learner Englishes has been studied separately (cf. Rogers 2002 and
Vogel 2007 for new Englishes or Virtanen 1997 and Westergren-Axelson and Hahn 2001 on
learner Englishes). Moreover, research on the use of the progressive in the inner circle suggests
that some varieties are even more advanced in the spreading use of the progressive aspect than
others (cf. Hundt 1998). The paper will therefore bring together evidence from corpora of inner-,
outer- and expanding circle varieties of English to test the hypothesis of ‘overuse’ and
‘deviation’ in ESL and Learner Englishes.
Rogers, Chandrika K. (2001) ‘Syntactic features of Indian English: An examination of written Indian English.’ In
Randi Reppen, Susan M. Fitzmaurice and Douglas Biber Eds. Using Corpora to Explore Linguistic
Variation. Amsterdam: Benjamins. pp. 187-202.
Virtanen, Tuija (1997) ‘The progressive in non-native speaker and native speaker composition: Evidence from the
International Corpus of Learner English.’ In Magnus Ljung. Ed. Corpus-based studies in English: Papers
from the Seventeenth International Conference on English Language Research on Computerized Corpora
(ICAME 17). Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi. pp. 299-309.
Westergren-Axelson, Margareta and Angela Hahn (2001) ‘The use of the progressive in Swedish and German
advanced learner English – a corpus-based study.’ ICAME Journal 25: 5-30.
Vogel, Katrin (2007) Glocalization? A Case Study on the Progressive in Fijian and Kenyan English.
Zulassungsarbeit zum Ersten Staatsexamen. Anglistisches Seminar, Heidelberg.
Marianne Hundt
(University of Zurich)
“My language, my identity” – Fiji Indians in New Zealand
Plenary VI, Saturday, 9:00 – 10:00, Room 1010
Approximately 20 million Indians do not live in India, either as people of Indian origin (PIOs) or
non-resident Indians (NRIs). With a few exceptions (cf. the studies by Mesthrie 1991, 1992 and
Shameem 1994, 1998), however, the sociolinguistics of the (rather diverse) Indian diaspora has
not been studied in much detail. The paper will look into the double diaspora situation of Indians
who are descendants from indentured labourers in the Fiji islands but who, due to the political
situation in Fiji, decided to migrate to New Zealand. The data come from a series of interviews
conducted with first and second generation Fiji Indians in Wellington, New Zealand. The focus
will be on the discursive construction of identity in this double diaspora situation, including
issues of labelling, language use and attitudes towards varieties of English and Hindi. In
addition, the varieties of English used by Fiji Indians in New Zealand will be described
Mesthrie, Rajend (1991) Language in Indenture. A Sociolinguistic History of Bhojpuri-Hindi in South Africa.
Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.
Mesthrie, Rajend (1992) English in Language Shift. The History, Structure, and Sociolinguistics of South African
Indian English. Cambridge: CUP.
Shameem, Nikhat (1994) ‘The Wellington Indo-Fijians: Language shift among teenage new immigrants.’ Journal of
Multilingual and Multicultural Development 15(5): 399-418.
Shameem, Nikhat (1998) ‘Validating self-reported language proficiency by testing performance in an immigrant
community: The Wellington Indo-Fijians.’ Language Testing 15(1): 86-108.
Presley Ifukor
(University of Osnabrück)
Face claims on weblogs
Wednesday, 17:30 – 18:00, Room 1023
Since Goffman’s (1955) seminal work on face as “the positive social value a person claims for
himself by the line others assume he has taken during a particular contact” (p. 2), there has been
theoretical deconstructions and explications (cf. Bargiela-Chiappini, 2003; Brown and Levinson,
1978 [1987]; Nwoye, 1992; O’Driscoll, 1996; Ting-Toomey, 2005; Watts, 1992; 2003) on the
various ‘faces’ people claim in natural human-to-human speech interactions. Studies on
computer-mediated communication (e.g. Hiemstra, 1982; Morand and Ocker, 2003; Simmons,
1999), however, show that ‘face’ is also a crucial phenomenon in virtual conversation. The
weblog, otherwise known as online diary, provides ample data for the examination and analysis
of face claims by diaspora Nigerians as well as home-based Nigerians. With event-driven data
culled from Nigerian weblogs or weblogs about Nigeria before and during the Nigerian 2007
General Elections, we investigate the socio-political influences, communal concerns, and
democratic aspirations that shaped people’s use of language and the face claims that emerge. We
assert that virtual face claims by Nigerians, in our corpus, are predicated on citizen activism.
Attempts are made to situate ‘face’ within the modern Nigerian context as a multi-cultural
construct rooted not merely on individualistic expectations but on the collective well-being of the
polity. This study, therefore, introduces the weblog as a new genre of online conversation among
Nigerians, and examines the pragmatics of language use in this new media.
Bargiela-Chiappini, F. (2003) Face and Politeness: New (Insights) for Old (Concepts). Journal of Pragmatics 35:
Brown, P., and Levinson, S. C. (1987) Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge: CUP.
Goffman, E. (1955) On Face-work: An Analysis of Ritual Elements of Social Interaction. Psychiatry: Journal for
the Study of Interpersonal Processes. 18(3), 213-231.
Hiemstra, G. (1982) Teleconferencing, concern for face, and organizational culture. In: M. Burgoon (Ed.)
Communication Yearbook. Sage: Newbury Park, CA. 874-904.
Morand, D. A. and Ocker, R. J. (2003) Politeness theory and Computer-Mediated communication: A Sociolinguistic
Approach to Analyzing Relational Messages. Proceeding of the 36th Hawaii International Conference on
System Sciences. HICSS’03.
Nwoye, O. G. (1992) Linguistic Politeness and Socio-cultural Variations of the Notion of Face. Journal of
Pragmatics 18: 309-328
Simmons, T. L. (1999) Face threats in a faceless medium: Negotiating ideological parameters in computer mediated
communication. In: Jef Verschueren, ed., Language and ideology: Selected papers from 6th International
Pragmatics Conference. Antwerp, Belgium: International Pragmatics Association. 514-543.
Ting-Toomey, S. (2005) The Matrix of Face: An updated face-negotiation theory. In: William B. Gudykunst (ed.)
Theorizing about Intercultural Communication. London: SAGE Publications. 71-92.
Richard W. Janney
(University of München)
Modeling film as discourse
Thursday, 15:30 – 16:00, Room 1021
Despite many obvious differences between film and language, certain similarities exist between
visual and verbal discourse that make it possible in principle to consider analyzing patterns of
filmic expression using concepts adapted from linguistic pragmatics. Modeled as a mode of
expression (as opposed to a text), film becomes analyzable as a communicative activity involving
an audiovisual enunciator (the filmmaker) narrating filmic events to an audience (the spectators)
with certain communicative intentions in mind. The cinematic performance itself – the ‘telling’ of
the story – relies on the strategic use of a wide range of conventional cinematic depictive tools and
techniques. The contextualizing functions of these in film often seem analogous to those of certain
types of framing, foregrounding, and perspectivizing strategies in language. This paper introduces
an approach to film based on linguistic pragmatic principles. It is an attempt to extend discourse
pragmatics beyond language into the complex audiovisual realm of film.
Susanne Jantos
(University of Freiburg)
A corpus-based comparison of existential there + be constructions in Jamaican English with
native and non-native varieties of English
Friday, 14:30 – 15:00, Room 1016
This paper presents a corpus-based study which compares subject-verb agreement in existential
there + be constructions in spoken educated Jamaican English with four other national varieties of
English in the International Corpus of English, in order to gain insights into the complex factors
contributing to the development of Standard Jamaican English.
In past decades, most research on the Jamaican language situation has concentrated on the basilectal
end of the creole continuum characterising the Jamaican language situation, while only few studies
have focused on the acrolect, the underlying assumption being that this variety was identical to
standard British English, the language traditionally regarded as the norm in Jamaica due to its
association with the British colonialists. However, first a number of teachers and applied linguists
(cf. Christie 1989, amongst others) and later sociolinguists studying the acrolect have shown a
tendency for Jamaican educated English to move away from the postulated British norm (see Sand,
1999: 13-14), with the latter consequently concluding that the emergence of a new standard,
Jamaican Standard English, must be taking place (cf. Mair 2002). Various linguists have suggested
that Jamaican English may be influenced both by British English and, due to its closer proximity,
American English, but also by vernacular universals applying to all contact varieties of English.
In order to test this hypothesis, agreement and non-agreement in existential constructions in
educated Jamaican English will be analysed with regard to the linguistic factors tense, subject
number, contractedness and polarity, and the results will be compared to those found in the native
varieties British and American English, as well as in two non-native contact varieties, Indian
English and Singapore English, both of which were historically British-oriented. Because of the
parallel assembly of the respective one-million word sub-corpora of the International Corpus of
English, these are an excellent basis for a direct comparison of four of the varieties1.
Christie, Pauline (1989) “Questions of standards and intra-regional differences in Caribbean examinations.” Ed. O.
Garcia and R. Otheguy. English Across Cultures, Cultures Across English: A Reader in Cross-Cultural
Communication. Berlin; New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 243-262.
Mair, Christian (2002) “Creolisms in an Emerging Standard.” English World-Wide 23 (1), 31-58.
Sand, Andrea (1999) Linguistic Variation in Jamaica: A Corpus-Based Study of Radio and Newspaper Usage.
(Language in Performance 29) Tübingen: Narr.
As there is presently no ICE-USA, the comparison will be based on the Santa Barbara Corpus of Spoken
American English, which comprises about 249,000 words and will form part of a future American section of ICE.
Lesley Jeffries
(University of Huddersfield)
Grammatical iconicity in poetry: information structure in English clauses and its signifying
Thursday, 14:30 – 15:00, Room 1098
Though stylistics often claims to be able to produce new and rigorous insights into the linguistic
features of literary works, there is little work that addresses the direct signifying potential of
syntax. Though onomatopoeia and sound symbolism more generally are regularly taught on
courses on poetic language, the equivalent direct encoding of meaning in the structure of the
clause is not. The question of iconicity, then, has been largely the preserve of phonology, and
though Jeffries (1993) introduces grammatical iconicity, this is the first detailed discussion of the
potential of English for reflecting meaning through structure.
Through a study of a number of examples of contemporary poetry, this paper will illustrate this
potential for syntactic signification and address the charges of interpretative positivism which
such analyses sometimes attract.
Jeffries, L. (1993) The Language of Twentieth Century Poetry. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Andrew James Johnston
(Free University of Berlin)
Rum, Ram, Ruf: Chaucer as linguistic ideologue
Friday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1021
Chaucer’s Parson famously explains his preference for prose by arguing that he is a “Southren
man,/ I kan nat geeste ‘rum, ram, ruf,’ by lettre”. Although this is ostensibly a statement on
poetry in general, scholars were quick to note the implicit slur on alliterative poetry and were
equally quick to attribute this slur to Chaucer, the poet, himself. But the particular linguistic
consequences of Chaucer’s act of literary criticism have not been fully investigated yet. Before
the backdrop of our ever-increasing knowledge of England’s late fourteenth-century literary
scene Chaucer’s remark begins to sound suspicious. Engaged in an attempt to gain dominance
over the vernacular literary field, Chaucer effectively blurs the distinctions between poetry and
dialectology, between literature and linguistics. By inventing the image of an unproblematic
correspondence between linguistic dialect and literary form Chaucer has powerfully contributed
to the establishment of categories which have provided the basis for our understanding of the
relationship between language and literature in the Middle English period. This paper seeks to
take a closer look at the context of Chaucer’s famous remark and thus to question some of the
received truths of Middle English linguistic and literary history.
John M. Kirk, Markku Filppula and Jeffrey L. Kallen
(University of Belfast / University of Joensuu / Trinity College Dublin)
Nobody must’ve bought it yet: modality in Irish Standard English
Wednesday, 14:30 – 15:00, Room 1015
Fewer topics have attracted more attention in descriptive linguistics than modality. The attraction
of modality rests with its complex set of semantic categories, the endless variability of the
exponence of these categories, and the pragmatic functions associated with particular exponents.
Studies of modality in the spoken English of different regional or national varieties of English
(e.g. Miller 2004 in Scotland; Collins and Peters 2004 in Australia) show different combinations
of semantic categories and exponents, while very recent studies of spoken and written English
(e.g. Kortmann, et al. 2004, Algeo 2006, Mair 2006) have revealed further changes even within
British English itself.
One of the surprising gaps in the study of Irish English of any variety is the lack of a systematic
description of the modal auxiliary verb system. Using the now-completed Irish component of the
International Corpus of English (ICE-Ireland) (cf. Kallen and Kirk 2007), this paper is designed
to address the question of modality in Irish English by studying, in the first instance, the modal
auxiliary realisations of the semantic fields of obligation, necessity and epistemic possibility, for
which there are several recent studies for other varieties of English (e.g. Leech 2003, Smith
2003, Mair 2006). By using these studies as our starting point, we demonstrate the typological
affinities between Irish English and other international Englishes as well as the distinctiveness of
examples from the ICE-Ireland corpus such as I’ve to do one in January; what time have I to
stop? and You must have also had to bear in mind.
Kristina Kösling
(University of Siegen)
Does branching direction determine stress assignment?
Empirical investigations of the prominence patterns of triconstituent compounds
Wednesday, 15:30 – 16:00, Room 1019
It is generally assumed that English NNN compounds are stressed according to their morphosyntactic structure, i.e. left branching compounds are stressed on the leftmost constituent (e.g.
[séat belt] law]) whereas in right branching compounds it is typically the second constituent of
the whole compound that carries the main stress (e.g.[ team [ lócker room]). This generalization
is captured, for instance, in Liberman and Prince’s (1977) Lexical Category Prominence Rule
However, there are two major problems with the LCPR prediction. First, it has never been
thoroughly tested in a larger empirical study. Second, the generalization about stress assignment
seems to rely primarily on the researchers’ own intuition about stress rather than on more
objective methods, as for instance measuring the acoustic correlates of stress.
This paper presents a first systematic study on stress assignment in English triconstituent
compounds using experimental and speech corpus data. Measuring pitch as the most important
correlate of compound stress (e.g. Farnetani and Cosi 1988, Plag 2006, Kunter and Plag 2007),
about 500 NNN compounds taken from the Boston University Radio Speech Corpus, and about
500 NNN compounds obtained in a reading experiment, are investigated as to whether the
predictions of the LCPR actually hold.
The analysis shows that, while most compounds follow the LCPR, a significant proportion of the
data cannot be accounted for by reference to branching direction. This is due to the fact that the
LCPR ignores the existence of right-stressed compounds in English (e.g. Giegerich 2004, Plag
2006). The possibility of rightward stress in compounds, however, does have serious
consequences for stress assignment in triconstituent compounds. We will show these
consequences and provide a more adequate account of NNN stress assignment.
Daniela Kolbe and Benedikt Szmrecsanyi
(University of Trier / University of Freiburg)
Complementizer choice in written and spoken English
Thursday, 16:30 – 17:00, Room 1023
The overarching aim of this talk is to elucidate the role that processing-related factors might play in
that retention or omission. As is well known, zero-that clauses, as in (She thinks) Ø the concert was
good are by far more frequent in spoken English than their counterparts with retained
complementizer, as in (She thinks) that the concert was good. In written text types, however, retained
that is more frequent (Biber 1999: 680-683).
As for the determinants of that – retention or omission, in written English that seems to be used more
frequently in cognitively more complex sentences (Rohdenburg 1996: 160ff., 1999: 102f.).
Thompson and Mulac focus on the grammaticization of the epistemic expression I think which
frequently introduces that clauses and is almost exclusively followed by zero-that clauses (1991).
Two recent studies have shown that the choice of complementizer is determined by the interplay of
various factors (Tagliamonte and Smith 2005, Jaeger 2006: 51-95) in spoken English. One of these
factors is the influence of preceding discourse on the choice of complementizer: thanks to syntactic
persistence, for instance, speakers should be more likely to retain the complementizer if it has already
occurred before their utterance.
There is a dearth of research systematically comparing the influence of processing-related factors in
spoken vs. written text types. To remedy this gap, we will utilize appropriate statistical techniques to
quantify the determinants of complementizer choice in a sample of that-clauses from the Freiburg
Corpus of English Dialects (FRED) vis-à-vis parallel samples of that-clauses from ICE-GB. Owing
to our research question and the data sources tapped (conservative dialect speech vs. spoken and
written standard English), the talk marries corpus-based psycholinguistics to the study of language
variation and change.
Biber, D., Conrad, S., and Leech, G. (1999) Longman grammar of spoken and written English. Harlow: Longman.
Jäger, T. F. (2006) Redundancy and syntactic reduction in spontaneous speech. PhD thesis, Stanford University.
Rohdenburg, G. (1996) Cognitive complexity and increased grammatical explicitness in English. Cognitive Linguistics 7: 149-182.
Rohdenburg, G. (1999) Clausal complementation and cognitive complexity in English. In F.-W. Neumann, S. Schülting
(eds.), Anglistentag 1998 Erfurt. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, 101-112.
Tagliamonte, S., and Smith, J. (2005) No momentary fancy! The zero ‘complementizer’ in English dialects. English
Language and Linguistics 9: 289-309.
Thompson, S., and Mulac, A. (1991 b) The discourse conditions for the use of the complementizer that in conversational
English. Journal of Pragmatics 16: 237-251.
Bernd Kortmann and Benedikt Szmrecsanyi
(University of Freiburg)
Analyticity and syntheticity in L2 varieties and learner varieties of English
Wednesday, 15:00 – 15.30, Room 1021
Szmrecsanyi and Kortmann (to appear) draw on corpus data (for instance, the International Corpus
of English) to demonstrate that varieties of English can be classified with regard to the degree of
analyticity and syntheticity that they exhibit. In particular, it is shown that L2-varieties do not trade
off purportedly L2-difficult inflectional marking for analytical marking; instead, they avoid
grammatical marking whatsoever as far as possible.
In this paper, we seek to complement this line of research by also including learner varieties (as
documented in the International Corpus of Learner English) in our variety portfolio.
Our primary interest will lie with whether learner varieties pattern with L2 varieties of English, such
as Hong Kong English, or rather with L1 varieties of English, such as New Zealand English. By way
of conclusion, we discuss affinities between the analyticity/ syntheticity levels exhibited in
learner/L2 varieties of English and in English learners’ respective native languages.
Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt and Bernd Kortmann (to appear) “Between simplification and complexification: non-standard
varieties of English around the world”. In: Geoffrey Sampson, David Gil and Peter Trudgill (eds.), Language
Complexity as a Variable Concept. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Manfred Krug
(University of Bamberg)
New approaches to the study of variation and change in new Englishes: focus on Malta
Wednesday, 12:30 – 13:00, Room 1015
Continental Europe is framed by three speech communities in which a first or official language
English is in close contact with one or more Romance languages or dialects: Malta, Gibraltar and
the Channel Islands. Except for the level of phonology, research on the English spoken in these
insular and peninsular contexts is scarce (despite Kellermann 2002; Mazzon 1992ff; Ramisch
1989ff). The present paper, in which Malta takes centre stage, forms part of larger a project
whose major goals are the following:
to offer more detailed descriptions for the lexicon and morphosyntax of all three
(emerging) varieties of English;
to place them relative to the well-studied poles of British and American English;
(iii) to integrate individual findings into a more general framework of language variation
and change.
In this paper I will report on questionnaire data elicited from educated speakers of Maltese
English. The questionnaire draws on two main sources: first, our own observations and
qualitative statements found in the literature; second, the 76 features used in A Handbook of
Varieties of English (Kortmann and Schneider, eds., 2004). As will be seen, there is a substantial
intersection between these two sets, which suggests that various of the features reported for the
(pen)insular contexts reflect more general trends in non-standard (and indeed standard) Englishes
– rather than characteristics of specific new Englishes. Convergence vs. divergence of world
Englishes and ‘glocalization’ are therefore focal points of interest.
I shall discuss in more detail linguistic variables that deserve closer investigation because of (a)
trends in other Englishes and (b) potentially influencing structures in the Romance and Arabic
contact languages in Malta. Items to be investigated include, on the lexical level, choices where
British and American English traditionally diverged and, on the grammatical level, subjunctives,
progressives, tag questions, split infinitives, existential constructions as well as regularizing past
tense and past participle forms (cf. Krug 1998, 2004; Nesselhauf 2007; Ramisch 1989;
Rohdenburg and Schlüter in press).
Kellermann, Anja (2002) A New New English: Language, Politics and Identity in Gibraltar. Norderstedt: Books on
Kortmann, Bernd and Schneider, Edgar W., eds. (2004) A Handbook of Varieties of English: A Multimedia
Reference Tool. Vol. 1: Phonology. Vol. 2: Morphology and Syntax. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Krug, Manfred (1998) British English is Developing a New Discourse Marker, Innit? A Study in Lexicalisation
Based on Social, Regional and Stylistic Variation. Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik 23:2, 145-197.
Krug, Manfred (2004) “Concord and constituency in English copular constructions.” Paper given at ICAME Verona.
Mazzon, Gabriella (1992) L’inglese di Malta. Liguori.
Mazzon, Gabriella (1993) “English in Malta.” English World-Wide 14:2, 171-208.
Nesselhauf, Nadja (2007) The spread of the progressive and its ‘future’ use. English Language and Linguistics 11:1,
Ramisch, Heinrich (1989) The variation of English in Guernsey, Channel Islands. (Bamberger Beiträge zur
englischen Sprachwissenschaft 24). Frankfurt: Lang.
Ramisch, Heinrich (forthcoming) “English in the Channel Islands.” In: Britain, David (ed.) Language in the British
Isles [2nd ed.]. Cambridge: CUP, 176-182.
Rohdenburg, Günter and Schlüter, Julia (in press) “New departures in the study of British-American grammatical
differences.” In: Rohdenburg, Günter and Julia Schlüter (eds.) One Language, Two Grammars? Differences
between British and American English. Cambridge: CUP.
Igor Lakič
(University of Podgorica)
Print media discourse: a case of war reporting
Saturday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1021
This presentation deals with a discourse analysis of three British dailies (Guardian, Independent,
Times) on NATO Airstrikes on Yugoslavia in 1999. I will first offer a theoretical background to
the analysis, taking into consideration (1) Teun van Dijk’s theory on news schemata and the
concepts of macro and micro structure, and (2) Norman Fairclough’s approach to critical
discourse analysis. The analysis started from the presumption that a pure linguistic analysis,
especially on the micro level, is not adequate in analysing any kind of discourse and cannot
therefore be an end in itself. On the other hand, the approach of critical discourse analysis can be
quite subjective without reliable linguistic data. I would argue that a combination of the two
approaches can give satisfactory results in analysing discourse, bridging the gaps that the two
approaches can have when taken separately. The second part of the presentation will contain
examples from the analysed texts, to support the theoretical claims.
Claudia Lange
(University of Dresden)
‘Hindi never, English ever’ – language nationalism and linguistic conflicts in modern India
Friday, 14:00 – 14:30, Room 1021
The Indian Constitution (1950) declared Hindi as the official language of the Union and granted
English the status of secondary official language for a transitional period of fifteen years, so that
from 1965 onwards, Hindi was to be India’s sole national language. In January 1965, shortly
before the end of the deadline for English, students in Madras in Southern India rallied against
this decision with the slogan “Hindi Never, English Ever” (Kumaramangalam 1965). In the
following months, the state of Madras saw strikes and violent clashes; 66 people died during the
unrest. Eventually, the constitutional provision to hold on to English as second official language
was extended indefinitely.
This paper explores the ambivalent role of English in India after independence, and specifically
its appropriation for quite separate nationalist agendas. Whereas Gandhi deemed it absolutely
essential for the project of decolonization to get rid of English altogether, the urban élites from
the Dravidian southern states successfully conceptualized the continued use of English as a
defence against Hindi- and Hindu-dominance. More recently, English has again been pitted
against Hindi, but with reversed roles: for Dalits and other so-called backward castes in Indian
society, English and access to English equals liberation from a sanskritized Hindi, far removed
from ordinary language use, which is perceived as the language of the still dominant Brahmins
(Anand 1999, Vaish 2005).
Agnihotri, Rama Kant (2007) “Identity and Multilinguality: The Case of India.” In: A. B. M. Tsui and J. W.
Tollefson (eds.), Language Policy, Culture, and Identity in Asian Contexts. Mahwah, New Jersey:
Lawrence Erlbaum, 185-204.
Anand, S. (1999) “Sanskrit, English and Dalits.” Economic and Political Weekly. Accessed at
Das Gupta, Jyotirindra (2003) “Language Policy and National Development in India.” In: M. E. Brown and S.
Ganguly (eds.), Fighting Words: Language Policy and Ethnic Relations in Asia.. Cambridge, Mass.,
London: MIT Press, 21-50.
Dua, Hans R. (1996) “The spread of English in India: Politics of language conflict and language power.” In: J. A.
Fishman, A. W. Conrad and A. Rubal-Lopez (eds.), Post-Imperial English. Status Change in Former
British and American Colonies, 1940-1990.. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 557-88.
King, Robert D. (1997) Nehru and the Language Politics of India. Delhi: OUP.
Krishnaswamy, N. and Archana S. Burde (1998) The Politics of Indians’ English. Linguistic Colonialism and the
Expanding English Empire. New Delhi: OUP.
Kumaramangalam, S. Mohan (1965) India’s language crisis: An introductory study. Madras: New Century Book House.
Rao, B. V. R. (2003) The Constitution and Language Politics of India. Delhi: B. R. Publishing Corporation.
Vaish, Viniti (2005) “A peripherist view of English as a language of decolonization in India.” Language Policy 4:
Tatiana Larina and Svetlana Kurtes
(University of Moscow / Cambridge)
Cultural, pragmatic and stylistic variations of English as a global language:
a didactic perspective
Friday, 14:30 – 15:00, Room 1019
The paper will discuss some aspects of intercultural pragmatics related to English as a global
language and possible ways of their didacticisation. More precisely, in the present-day world
English as a global lingua franca is used by people of diverse cultural backgrounds, which
contributes to its numerous variational segmentation. Focusing on debates over the possibility of
its fragmentation into regional dialects, Crystal (1999) suggests that these might end up
coexisting alongside some form of “World Standard Spoken English”. But the crucial issue here
is that language cannot exist without culture deeply embedded in its structure, and, consequently,
the issue with Global English, being no-one’s mother tongue, is that it does not have a single set
of cultural norms and values to be based on.
Starting from the above premise, we shall argue that in order to become a successful
intercultural communicator one has to be aware of these culture specific variations and their
characteristic discoursal manifestations. By implementing some more recent versions of
Wierzbicka’s theoretical framework, the theories of natural semantic metalanguage and
cultural scripts in particular (1997, 2006, etc), we shall propose an analytical model that can be
used for identifying and defining culture-specific communicative styles, taking examples from
spoken and written data produced by Slavonic speaking learners of English.
We shall conclude by illustrating how the proposed analytical model could find its practical
didactic and potentially auto-didactic application. By inviting the learners to reflect upon their
own experiences, knowledge and understanding of both their own culture and the culture of the
target language, the teacher can help them not only to develop relevant metacognitive strategies
that will ensure more successful and more autonomous language learning and learning in
general, but also to improve their cultural fluency that will enable them to function more
efficiently in the intercultural context.
Geoffrey Leech and Nicholas Smith
(University of Lancaster / University of Salford)
Changing patterns of grammatical frequency over the 20th century: evidence from the
comparable corpora of the Brown family 1901-1991
Wednesday, 14:30 – 15:00, Room 1098
The technique of comparing equivalently-sampled corpora of differing temporal or regional
provenance has already shown with unprecedented precision how the use of grammar can change
markedly over a comparatively short period. This has been demonstrated, for recent standard
written English, through the comparison of four corpora of the Brown family: Brown and LOB
(1961) and Frown and F-LOB (1991-2).
For British English it is now becoming possible to trace the history of grammatical usage further
back using the provisional (pre-release) version of the matching Lanc-31 corpus (1928-34), and
it is planned at the ISLE conference to present early results from the equivalent Lanc-01 corpus
(1900-1904). This is an important advance ‘backwards’, so to speak, enabling quantitative
analysis of matching corpora to reveal changes across two or three equivalent generation gaps
(roughly 1901-1931-1961-1991), and hence to track changing speed and direction of change
across earlier as well as later decades of the twentieth century.
Among results so far, we find that the modal auxiliaries, after remaining in a steady state pre1961, underwent a significant decline of frequency after that date. The modal must, however,
was already declining in the 1931-1961 period, with an accelerated decline after that date. The
related ‘semi-modals’ have to and need to, on the other hand, increased markedly in frequency,
with the greatest increases being shown by have to prior to 1961, and need to post-1961.
Whereas the passive suffered an increasing rate of frequency decline towards the end of the
century, the progressive aspect, in contrast, showed a virtually steady rate of increase through the
1931-1991 period, as, more dramatically, did the s-genitive.
More detailed genre-sensitive comparative analysis of the matched corpora yields hypotheses
regarding the differential effects of underlying causative processes such as grammaticalization,
colloquialization, and democratization.
Leech, Geoffrey and Smith, Nicholas (2005) ‘Extending the possibilities of corpus-based research on English in the
twentieth century: a prequel to LOB and FLOB’, ICAME Journal, 29: 83-98.
Leech, Geoffrey and Smith, Nicholas (2006) ‘Recent grammatical change in written English 1961-1992: some
preliminary findings of a comparison of American with British English.’ In Renouf, Antoinette and Kehoe,
Andrew (ed.), The Changing Face of Corpus Linguistics, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 186-204.
Leech, Geoffrey, Hundt, Marianne, Mair, Christian and Smith, Nicholas (forthcoming) Change in Contemporary
English: A Grammatical Study. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mair, Christian and Leech, Geoffrey (2006) ‘Current change in English syntax’, Chapter 14 in Bas Aarts and April
MacMahon (eds.) The Handbook of English Linguistics, Oxford: Blackwell, 318-342.
Mair, Christian (2006) Twentieth Century English: History, Variation and Standardization. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
Jakob R.E. Leimgruber
(University of Oxford)
‘Singlish’, ‘Good English’, and what’s in between: a model for sociolinguistic variation in
Saturday, 10:30 – 11:00, Room 1019
As a recently nativised (Gupta 1994) variety of English, Singapore English has often been
analysed as a continuum (Platt 1975; Pakir 1991; Poedjosoedarmo 1995), with Standard
(Singapore) English at the top and the basilect ‘Singlish’ at the bottom of a range of lects that are
used for stylistic purposes. A more recent approach (Gupta 1994; 2001) views this variation as
one reflecting a diglossic situation: the Standard is H(igh), and the native ‘Singlish’ is L(ow).
This paper presents findings from recent research into these two approaches.
The study investigates how the speech community uses Singapore English’s inherent variation.
Specifically, data collected from fieldwork show that there is a preference for using more
acrolectal or H variants in formal settings than in less formal ones, where basilectal or L variants
are preferred. The distribution of percentage rates according to situational settings seems, at first
sight, to favour the diglossic view proposed by Gupta. Observable differences across groups with
different educational qualifications, however, suggest a slightly different analysis.
I propose herein a model that takes into account the two above-mentioned models. Rather than
being mutually exclusive, the post-creole continuum (DeCamp 1971; Platt 1975) and the
diglossic approach (Ferguson 1959; Gupta 1994) can be combined to give a better-informed
understanding of the variation in Singapore English: while it seems clear that there is, within the
speech community, an awareness of a bipolar system (H and L), this is not independent from the
speaker’s position on a scale of educational achievement. The new model takes this into account
and proposes an intermediate approach, where speakers have access to their own H and L, and
use them in a diglossic framework.
DeCamp, David. 1971. Towards a generative analysis of a post-creole speech continuum. In D. Hymes (Ed.),
Pidginisation and Creolisation of Languages, 349-370.Cambridge University Press.
Gupta, Anthea Fraser. 1994. The Step-Tongue: Children’s English in Singapore. Multilingual Matters.
Gupta, Anthea Fraser. 2001. English in the linguistic ecology of Singapore. The Cultural Politics of English as a
World Language. GNEL/MALVEN.
Ferguson, Charles Albert. 1959. Diglossia. Word 15.1, 325-340.
Pakir, Anne. 1991. The range and depth of English-knowing bilinguals in Singapore. World Englishes 10.2:167-179.
Platt, John Talbot. 1975. The Singapore English speech continuum and its basilect ‘Singlish’ as a ‘creoloid’.
Anthropological Linguistics 17.7:363-374.
Poedjosoedarmo, Gloria. 1995. Lectal variation in the media and the classroom: a preliminary analysis of attitudes.
In S.C. Teng and M.-L. Ho (Eds.), The English Language in Singapore: Implications for Teaching, 53-67.
Singapore Association for Applied Linguistics.
Gerhard Leitner
(Free University of Berlin)
Modelling the English language – a further step forward
Wednesday, 12:00 – 12.30, Room 1015
There are a growing number of attempts to model English in its many-facetted manifestations of
today that marks clear progress towards a better understanding of language developments. I will
suggest a model that takes the reciprocal nature of contact seriously, sees developments as part
of the transformation of entire languages habitats and avoids the isolationist view of English.
The old controversy between the Quirk school and Braj Kachru centred on whether English
consisted of a core and (a diverse, if little understood range of) peripheries or whether it was best
described in terms of three overlapping circles. The circle model turned out to be more
persuasive and generated so many ‘Englishes’ that its central claims, e.g. that an English has (or
should have) an internally-driven or endo-centric dynamism and that this only partly mirrored
the acquisitional types, could not be taken seriously. In Leitner (1992) I argued that the two
models were not entirely incompatible since the Quirk school focussed on language as a network
of linguistic expressions, while Kachru on social norms (and attitudes). I argued that there were
many fewer Englishes than Kachru and his large group of followers made us believe and that the
tension between global and local developments were not even taken note of. Other models
centred on the life-cycle of Englishes (Moag), on interconnections of standard Englishes
(MacArthur), on a rough and ready linguistic typology (Trudgill) or on the relevance of two
types of English, i.e. a southern and a northern type (Bailey, Leitner).
More recent proposals took a different starting point: they attempted to define common
developmental stages. Trudgill’s determinist model (2004), for instance. argues that the input
and the demographic strength of input dialects account deterministically for the subsequent
development of a new (native) variety of English. He outlined several developmental stages that
drew on earlier work of his. His model was confined to his very own interpretation of the
historical data of New Zealand English so that his central claim, i.e. that social factors do not
play a role at all, was not even discarded from the authoritative analysis of the ONZE project
(xxx). A big step forward is Edgar Schneider’s 5-step model of development (2003), which
begins with the foundation stage, turns to stabilization, exo- and endo-normativity and ends with
differentiation. It has been expanded considerably in his (2007) monograph. The great advantage
is that it does away with circles or acquisition types (that have always remained static). It
introduces a dynamic element though his claim of a cycle is unfounded. There is no cyclical
element in it, which would permit regression and different paths.
The idea of cyclicity is based on the idea that developments towards endo-normativity may be
arrested or indeed retreat to take a fresh start later. That is well-known in creolistics but plays a
role too in varieties such as Australian English. A cyclic model has been developed and applied
in the two volumes Australia’s many voices (2004a/b). But the model developed there has further
crucial features. It does not see the development of varieties as a uni-directional path from a
presumptive inception (or foundation) stage to de facto completion, with internal differentiation.
There can be a renewed outside push, a second cycle, that re-routes the development. The rise of
a cultivated variety in Australian English is a case in point. Finally, developments are located
inside a language(s) habitat, as contact always has been reciprocal or multi-facetted. The habitat
idea is further developed in Leitner/Malcolm’s (2007) collection of papers on the Aboriginal
Australian language habitats.
More than that, my study of the impact of Aboriginal concepts on Australian English (2007),
shows that contact must be interpreted inside the wider cultural, political and linguistic context
that stretches over the time of contact. The naming of Aborigines, for instance, has to be
embedded in a century-old European discourse that spans from the earliest explorations of the
southern hemisphere to the growth of scientific disciplines in the 19th c. and the growth of
political forces such as Marxism and Leninism. In all studies of English it is confined to the
interaction of English (speakers) with indigenous populations. The Romanist Christian Schmitt
(19xx) has pointed to the neo-Latin tendencies in all European languages that are not shared in
the so-called post-colonial varieties of Romance languages in Africa and presumably elsewhere.
Language developments are thus driven by pan-European ideas.
It is time to overcome the pervasive Anglo-centrism in anglistics and to embed developments
inside what has become known in French as géo-histoire de la mondialisation (Grataloup 2007).
Grataloup, Christian (2007) Géohistoire de la modialisation. Le temps long du Monde. Paris: Armand Colin.
Leitner, Gerhard (1992) English as a pluricentric language, in: Michael Clyne, Pluricentric languages. Berlin: Mouton
de Gruyter.
Leitner, Gerhard (2003) Beyond Alexander Mitchell’s views on the history of Australian English, Australian Journal
of Linguistics 24(1), 99-126.
Leitner, Gerhard (2004a) Australia’s many voices. Australian English – the national language. Berlin: Mouton de
Leitner, Gerhard (2004b) Australia’s many voices. Ethnic Englishes, Indigenous and migrant languages. Policy and
education. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Leitner, Gerhard, Ian Malcolm, eds. (2007) The habitat of Australia’s Aboriginal languages. Past, present and future.
Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Osterhammel, Jürgen, Niels Petersson (2003) Geschichte der Globalisierung. Dimensionen und Prozesse. München:
C.H. Beck.
Schneider, Edgar (2003) The dynamics of New Englishes: from identity construction to dialect birth, Language 79, 233-281.
Schneider, Edgar (2007) Post-colonial English. Varieties around the world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Trudgill, Peter (2004) New-dialect formation. The inevitability of colonial Englishes. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Sirpa Leppänen, Päivi Pahta and Mikko Laitinen
(University of Jyväskylä / University of Tampere)
Global English on internet contact zones: corpus-driven analyses of multilingual weblogs
Thursday, 14:30 – 15:00, Room 1021
In today’s world of cultural and economic globalization, rapid development of ICTs and
mediatization, English is spreading into new contexts, gaining new functions and meanings, and
contributing to new patterns of variation in language use, often in contact with other languages.
One of the new sites for examining English in contact is the Internet, an increasingly
multilingual textual space (Danet and Herring 2007). Its discourse is typically hybrid, involving
the use of a wide range of registers (Biber and Kurjian 2007), and linguistic, generic and stylistic
mixtures (Leppänen 2007).
Our paper examines English in a recent online genre, the weblog, focusing on the uses of
English in multilingual discourse. To date there is relatively little research on multilingual webbased discourse, with the exception of some qualitative sociolinguistic and discourse analytic
studies (e.g. Androutsopoulos 2006, 2007). However, to analyze and understand this vast and
rhizomatic multilingual space, research also needs to make use of balanced and representative
corpora, rendering both micro and macrolevel investigations necessary. In this paper we present
the first results from a new project combining methodological insights provided by discourse
analysis and corpus linguistics to the analysis of multilingual weblogs. Our data comes from a
corpus of linguistically hybrid weblogs, written by Finns in 2004-2007, in which English
alternates with Finnish in various ways. Such an approach can reveal general and quantifiable
patterns of language choice in balanced samples of discourse and yield insights into the contextspecific uses of these language choices and functions. The approach can provide a diagnostic
tool and a test bed for identifying recurring linguistic features and patterns which can then be
subjected to a detailed investigation in individual discourse samples (Baker 2006; Biber et al.
2007). The project is part of a large-scale research venture by the Research Unit for Variation,
Contacts and Change in English at the Universities of Helsinki and Jyväskylä, aiming to account
for the uses and functions of English as a global language with Finland as a case study.
Androutsopoulos, Jannis (ed.) (2006) Sociolinguistics and Computer-mediated Communication. Journal of
Sociolinguistics 10.
Androutsopoulos, Jannis (2007) Bilingualism in the mass media and on the internet. In Heller, Monica (ed.)
Bilingualism: A Social Approach. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan. 207-232.
Baker, Paul (2006) Using Corpora in Discourse Analysis. London – New York: Continuum.
Biber, Douglas, Ulla Connor and Thomas A. Upton (2007) Discourse on the Move: Using Corpus Analysis to
Describe Discourse Structure. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins.
Biber, Douglas and Jerry Kurjian (2007) Towards a taxonomy of web registers and text types: A multidimensional
analysis. In Hundt, Marianne, Nadja Nesselhauf and Carolin Biewer (eds.) Corpus Linguistics and the Web.
Amsterdam – New York: Rodopi. 109-131.
Danet, Brenda and Susan Herring (2007) The Multilingual Internet. Oxford: OUP.
Leppänen, Sirpa (2007) Youth language in media contexts: Some insights into the spread of English in Finland.
World Englishes 26(2): 149-169.
Diana Lewis
(University of Lyon)
On the expression of directional motion events in present-day spoken English
Saturday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1015
English speakers typically encode directional motion events using a verb of movement-andmanner together with a spatial particle (‘satellite’) indicating direction, as in ex. 1:
(1) Mary walked up the path.
The prevalence of this pattern is behind Talmy’s ([1985] 2007, 2000) characterisation of English
as ‘satellite-framed’. A number of studies have posited a cross-linguistic bias favouring goal
over source in the expression of motion events: goal is said to be more frequently encoded
(Stefanowitsch and Rohde 2004) or to be encoded by more specialized means (Bourdin 1997).
This paper investigates the extent of these preferences in the encoding of directional motion
events in spoken English. Using Talmy’s components of a motion event (including motion,
figure/trajector, ground and path) as a starting point, it aims to identify the distribution of these
components across verbs and spatial particles and their complements, and to test for goal bias.
Evidence is drawn from both experimental data and corpus data. The former comes from twelve
subjects describing fifty-odd short videoed motion events involving human figures moving about
in typical ways in relation to a variety of grounds. This onomasiological approach, maintaining
the event constant and generating expressions of it, provides evidence for degree of association
between motion-event type and construction-type. The data comes from a wider, typological
project investigating the cross-linguistic expression of motion events. The findings reveal a high
degree of convergence in the use of particular V + particle combinations for particular scenes,
strongly confirm a tendency to conflate motion and manner in V and reveal some goal bias. The
corpus data, which comes from the demographically sampled portion of the British National
Corpus, allows quantitative data to be gathered on specific verb-particle constructions to
investigate their typical usage in conversation. Evidence for goal bias is considerably stronger in
the conversation data.
Bourdin, P. (1997) On goal-bias across languages: modal, configurational and orientational parameters. In B. Palek
(ed.) Proceedings of LP96. Prague: Charles University Press.
Stefanowitsch, A. and Rohde, A (2004) The goal bias in the encoding of motion events. In K.-U. Panther and G.
Radden (eds) Motivation in Grammar, 249-268. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Talmy, L. (2000) Toward a Cognitive Semantics. Vol. II: Typology and Process in Concept Structuring. Cambridge,
MA: MIT Press.
Talmy, L. (2007) Lexical typologies. In T. Shopen (ed.) Language Typology and Syntactic Description, Vol. 3:
Grammatical Categories and the Lexicon, 2nd edn, 66-168. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press [1st
edn 1985].
Lisa Lim
(University of Amsterdam)
Revisiting English prosody: Sinitic tone in Singapore English
Friday, 14:30 – 15:00, Room 1023
Singapore English (SE) is an intriguing variety for investigation where lexifier-substrate
typology is concerned, in no small part because of the rapid changes in ecology over mere
decades, resulting in dominance of different languages and features in the feature pool during
different eras (Lim 2007). In this paper I focus on the more recent period when Mandarin and
Cantonese substrates dominate the ecology and the implications this has for the typological
make-up of the evolving variety of English in Singapore.
Sinitic languages are dominant in SE’s ecology, with 78% of the population Chinese, and
involving numerous languages such as Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese, Hakka, etc; crucially,
what is common is that they are all tone languages: tone is thus an element high in frequency in
the feature pool. Given that tone is recognised as an areal feature, acquired easily by languages
in contact, it is not surprising that tone is found in SE. Clearly noted in the set of SE discourse
particles acquired from Cantonese wholesale in segmental form, meaning and tone (Lim 2007),
tonal features are also observed in SE prosody where intonation moves in a series of level steps
(Lim 2004).
What does this herald for the linguistics of English? I argue that in the consideration of ‘new’
Englishes – here, Asian (but also African) Englishes – the traditional view of English as a
stress/intonation language needs revising. Recent work has demonstrated that English varieties
(and other contact languages) evolving in an ecology where tone languages are present do indeed
either combine aspects of tone languages or display tone (e.g. Gut 2005; Lim in prep). Such
varieties should not be seen as aberrant in comparison to ‘standard’ English, but should be
recognised as having their own prosodic system due to substrate typology, possibly even
classified as tone languages (Lim in prep).
Gut, U. (2005) Nigerian English prosody. English World Wide 26(2): 153-177.
Lim, L. (2007) Mergers and acquisitions: On the ages and origins of Singapore English particles. World Englishes
26(4): 446-473.
Lim, L. (in prep.) English can be tone language meh55? Singapore English wat21! Particles and prosody in a contact
variety of English.
Hans Lindquist and Magnus Levin
(University of Växjö)
Formulaic language: from descriptive theory to explanatory theory
Friday, 14:00 – 14:30, Room 1015
Every description presupposes some sort of theory, as pointed out by for instance Dryer (2006),
so there is no such thing as an atheoretical description. Dryer further argues for a distinction
between descriptive theories and explanatory theories, finding however that arguably even
descriptive theories are explanatory in the sense that they explain specific facts about a language.
In corpus linguistics, which has been accused of being atheoretical, of merely counting what can
be counted, Sinclair (passim) and Tognini-Bonelli (2001) have developed the notion of corpusdriven research, which in its idealized form starts with data from un-annotated corpora and
induces grammatical rules from the concordance lines without help from any preconceived
theory. Even this method, however, must be based on a set of basic theoretical notions, what
Dixon (1997) has called Basic Linguistic Theory. Many of the concepts coded in Basic
Linguistic Theory also lie behind the description in comprehensive grammars like Quirk et al
(1985) and even a theory-oriented descriptive grammar like Huddleston and Pullum (2002) – cf.
Leech (2004).
Recent work on formulaic language in corpus linguistics (Stubbs passim) and psycholinguistics
(Wray 2002) has demonstrated the formulaic nature of both spoken and written language. These
findings challenge the primacy of rule-based generation of novel sentences and support usagebased theories of grammar, the importance of frequency and the notions of grammaticalization
and emerging grammar.
In the present paper, a set of English formulaic sequences occurring in large corpora are
described from the point of view of their syntactic, semantic and pragmatic properties. In
particular, the relation between frequency, lexicalization and grammaticalization is explored in
line with Hawkins’ claim that “[g]rammars are ‘frozen’ or ‘fixed’ performance preferences”
(2004:46) and Stubbs’ assertion that “[f]requency in text becomes probability in the system”
(Stubbs 2007:127), with the aim of going from description to explanation.
Dixon, R.M.W. (1997) The rise and fall of languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dryer, Matthew S. (2006) Descriptive theories, explanatory theories, and basic linguistic theory. In: Felix K.
Ameka, Alan Dench and Nicholas Evans (eds.), Catching language: The standing challenge of grammar
writing. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Hawkins, John A. (2004) Efficiency and complexity in grammars. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Leech, Geoffrey (2004) A new Gray’s anatomy of English grammar. Review of Huddleston and Pullum 2002.
English Language and Linguistics 8 (1) 133–159.
Stubbs, Michael (2007) On texts, corpora and models of language. In: Michael Hoey, Michaela Mahlberg, Michael
Stubbs and Wolfgang Teubert, Text, discourse and corpora. London: Continuum.
Tognini-Bonelli, Elena (2001) Corpus linguistics at work. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Wray, Alison. 2002. Formulaic language and the lexicon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Maria José López-Couso and Belén Méndez-Naya
(University of Santiago de Compostela)
On the margins of complementation: exploring complementizer choice
in the history of English
Wednesday, 15:30 – 16:00, Room 1016
While the study of the major declarative complementizers that and zero has attracted
considerable attention in the literature on complementation, so-called minor declarative links
have been largely ignored. Over the last few years we have paid due attention to these
connectives in their diachronic dimension, and have examined the origin and development of a
number of minor declarative complementizers, such as but, lest, how, if and though (cf. the
references below). In the present paper we intend to bring together and systematize the empirical
evidence we have collected in our research project so far in order to address the following
research questions: (i) what do all these minor links have in common?; (ii) what makes them
eligible to fulfil a complementizer function; (iii) can they be considered true variants of the
default connective that?; (iv) what are the implications of this study for the distinction between
adverbial subordination and complementation, and hence for the understanding of clause
linkage?; (v) can the development of minor declarative complementizers be regarded as an
instance of grammaticalization? and, if so, is this specific to English or does it represent a crosslinguistic tendency? The empirical data for our study have been retrieved from the major corpora
covering the history of English, namely The Helsinki Corpus of English Texts and ARCHER-2.
López-Couso, María José (2007) “Adverbial connectives within and beyond adverbial subordination: The history of
lest.” In Ursula Lenker and Anneli Meurman-Solin (eds.) Clausal Connection in the History of English.
Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins: 11-29.
López-Couso, María José and Belén Méndez-Naya (1998) “On minor declarative complementisers in the history of
English: The case of but.” In Jacek Fisiak and Marcin Krygier (eds.) Advances in English Historical
Linguistics. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter: 161-171.
López-Couso, María José and Belén Méndez-Naya (2001) “On the history of if- and though-links with declarative
complement clauses.” English Language and Linguistics 5/1: 93-107.
López-Couso, María José and Belén Méndez-Naya (2007a) “Tracking down minor functions: A close look at the
declarative complementizer how in the history of English.” Paper presented at ICAME 28, Stratford-uponAvon, 23-27 May 2007.
López-Couso, María José and Belén Méndez-Naya (2007b) “The declarative use of complementizer how: Late
Modern English in focus.” Paper presented at the 3LModE conference, Leiden, 30 August – 1 September
Bettelou Los
(University of Nijmegen)
Syntax and information structure in interaction:
the loss of verb-second in English and its consequences
Wednesday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1016
Translating a verb-second language like Dutch into the (XP) – S – V structure of PDE shows
immediate problems relating to information structure rather than syntax. Consider (1):
a. Hier heeft Andy Cole zijn eerste hattrick gescoord (Dutch)
b. Here, Andy Cole scored his first hattrick
c. This is where Andy Cole scored his first hattrick (Hannay and Keizer 1993)
Although (1b) is syntactically possible, translation handbooks warn strongly against it, as the
presubject position in PDE is a marked, prominent one. To convey old information with the same
lack of prominence as in the Dutch source, English requires a subject (e.g. Downing and Locke
1995), which is why the handbooks recommend (1c) which creates the deictic NP subject to
replace the preposed deictic adverbial in Dutch.
If subjects become so important for the information flow, we would expect to see more strategies
for creating subjects after late ME, and there are indeed new constructions in early Modern
English that do just that. Passives become more frequent (Seoane 2005), including the
theoretically problematical Exceptional Case-Marking construction with to-infinitives (as in
‘John was alleged to be a fool’), which from its earliest emergence appears almost exclusively in
the passive, typically with discourse-old subjects (Noël 1998), which suggests that this new
construction emerged as a response to information structural pressures.
Other evidence that the syntax no longer fitted the discourse needs of its users after the loss of
V2 is the emergence of constructions known as stressed-focus clefts (‘It is people like this who
will benefit most’), a type of construction that has long been recognized to function primarily as
a information packaging device (Birner and Ward 2002). This function was earlier achieved by
Contrastive Left Dislocation (CLD). As CLD is strongly associated with V2 (de Vries 2007), its
loss in late Middle English shows once more the pervasive effects of the loss of V2.
What the rise of these new constructions shows is how syntax and information structure
interacts, with bi-directional effects: syntactic change affects information structure, and pressure
from information structure results in new constructions.
Ball, K. N. (1991) The Historical Development of the It-Cleft. Dissertation University of Pennsylvania. Ann Arbor:
Birner, B. and G. Ward (2002) Information Packaging: Chapter 16 in The Cambridge Grammar of the English
Language, ed. by R. Huddleston and G.K. Pullum, 1363-1427. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Downing, A. and Ph. Locke (1995) A University Course in English Grammar. Hemel Hempstead: Phoenix ELT.
Hannay, M. and E. Keizer (1993) Translation and contrastive grammar: The grammatical vs the communicative
strategy. Vertalen in Onderwijs en beroep: Toegepaste Taalwetenschap in artikelen 45, 65-88.
Noël, D. (1998) ‘Infinitival copular complement clauses in English: Explaining the predominance of passive matrix
verbs.’ Linguistics 36:6, 1045-1063.
Seoane, E. (2006) Information structure and word order change: The passive as an information-rearranging strategy in
the history of English. In: The Handbook of the History of English, edited by A. van Kemenade and B. Los,
360-391.Oxford: Blackwell.
Vries, Mark de (2007) Dislocation and backgrounding. Linguistics in the Netherlands 2007, ed. by B. Los and M. van
Koppen, 236-248. Amsterdam/Philadelpia: John Benjamins.
Michaela Mahlberg
(University of Liverpool)
A corpus stylistic approach to clusters as building blocks of fictional worlds
Thursday, 12:00 – 12:30, Room 1098
Corpus stylistic studies combine quantitative and qualitative methods for the analysis of literary
texts (e.g. Semino and Short 2004, Stubbs 2005, O’Halloran 2007, Mahlberg 2007). A corpus
stylistic approach can help to identify in a more systematic way than previously possible
components of textual worlds. The paper investigates clusters, i.e. repeated sequences of words
(e.g. in the very act of, I should like to see), in a corpus of texts by Charles Dickens and in a
corpus of texts by other 19th-century authors. All 5-word clusters in both corpora (i.e. 52 texts)
have been classified into five groups of clusters: labels, speech clusters, time and place clusters,
‘As If’ clusters and body part clusters (cf. Mahlberg 2007). These groups point to aspects of
textual worlds that are built through the labelling of characters and themes, characters’ speech,
references to time and place, comparisons with as if, as well as body language and the
description of characters with regard to their appearance. The paper looks at the distribution of
the cluster groups across the texts in the two corpora, it discusses functional similarities between
different types of clusters, and it deals with the question to what extent the cluster groups can be
regarded as being characteristic of the language of Charles Dickens or to what extent they are
general building blocks of fictional worlds.
Mahlberg, M. (2007) “Clusters, key clusters and local textual functions in Dickens”, Corpora, 2(1), 1-31.
O’Halloran, K. (2007) “The subconscious in James Joyce’s ‘Eveline’: a corpus stylistic analysis that chews on the
‘Fish hook’. Language and Literature, 16 (3), 227-244.
Semino, E. and M. Short (2004) Corpus Stylistics. Speech, Writing and Thought Presentation in a Corpus of English
Writing. London: Routledge.
Stubbs, M. (2005) “Conrad in the computer: examples of quantitative stylistics methods”, Language and Literature,
14 (1), 5-24.
Christian Mair
(University of Freiburg)
Right in the middle of the s-shaped curve: on the spread of specificational clefts in 20th
century English
Wednesday, 15:00 – 15:30, Room 1098
As recent research by Traugott (forthcoming) has shown, there has been complex variation
between the use of bare and marked infinitival clauses in specificational clefts in English for
several centuries. The following examples from the F-LOB corpus illustrate the variable and its
Look here, if that’s really all the truth you’ve told me, I think the best thing you
can do is to tell it to Wilson himself; or I will, if you like. (BLOB L)
None of these things is going to help propagate Marxist-Leninist doctrines.
Therefore, Durieux continued when he could hear himself thinking, I must
somehow save myself. The best thing I can do is lie still and let him think that he
has knocked me out. (LOB N)
The variation is not stable but reflects a diachronic change, from pattern (1a) to pattern (1b). On
the basis of a range of standard linguistic reference corpora, mainly the “Brown family” and
additional larger textual data bases I show that the change is currently undergoing its most
dynamic phase, with reversals of preference notable in practically the entire range of relevant
contexts of use.
Elizabeth Traugott (forthcoming) “‘All that he endeavoured to prove was …’: on the emergence of grammatical
constructions in dialogual and dialogic contexts.” In Ruth Kempson and Robin Cooper, eds. Language
change and evolution.
Juana I. Marín-Arrese
(University of Madrid)
Passive and construal: parameters motivating the expression of the by-phrase
Saturday, 12:00 – 12:30, Room 1023
The assumption that defocusing of the agent phrase is the main function of the passive, and that the
by-phrase is always an optional element, has generally gone unchallenged (Shibatani 1985, inter
alia). Crosslinguistic studies show that agented passives, with unnatural patient-to-agent ‘attention
flow’, are highly marked and much less frequent than agentless passives (DeLancey 1981). Some
scholars, however, have drawn attention to certain contexts where omission of the agent is
impossible (Van Oosten 1986; Grimshaw and Vikner 1993).
Passive essentially involves a choice in perspective, a shift in trajector/landmark alignment: the
primary landmark of the verb stem (V) becomes the trajector of the passive clausal head, and the
trajector of V is either left implicit or specified by means of a by-phrase (Langacker 1990).
Perspective is linked to the degree of topicality of both the passive subject and the by-phrase
element. A by-phrase agent high in topicality and saliency tends to be unexpressed, in order to
avoid further imbalance in prominence in unnatural patient-to-agent ‘attention flow’; in contrast,
agents low in topicality are typically expressed (Marín-Arrese 1997). This paper examines cases
in English where the expression of the agent is necessary (e.g., A14.6. The storms were always
followed [[by]] flocks of scavenging birds). It will be argued that: (i) Choice of perspective and
expression of the agent by-phrase will depend on the relative degree of topicality of passive
subject and agent; (ii) The effect of schemas in structuring our experience will be brought to bear
on the way we construe an event designated by the V in the passive construction, and thus in the
specification of the by-phrase element in passives.
The paper presents results of a case study based on samples from two corpora, my own corpus of
passives in English, and a random selection from the BNC corpus. Preliminary results point to the
interaction between event construal dimensions (perspective, image schemas and force-dynamic
schemas; Johnson 1987; Talmy 1988; Clausner and Croft 1999), semantic parameters
(schematicity of the verb stem, perfective/imperfective aspect, negation), and discourse-pragmatic
parameters (natural topicality, discourse topicality; Givon 1983; Croft 1991) motivating the
obligatory expression of the by-phrase.
Clausner, T.C. and W. Croft (1999) Domains and image schemas. Cognitive Linguistics 10-1: 1-31.
Croft, W. (1991) Syntactic Categories and Grammatical Relations. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
DeLancey, S. (1981) An interpretation of Split Ergativity and related patterns. Language 57: 627-657.
Givon, T. (1983) Topic continuity in discourse: An introduction. In T. Givon (ed.) Topic Continuity in Discourse:
Quantitative Cross-Language Studies. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 1-42.
Grimshaw, J. and S. Vikner (1993) Obligatory Adjuncts and the Structure of Events. In: E. Reuland and W.
Abraham (eds.) Knowledge and Language, Vol. II, Lexical and Conceptual Structure. Kluwer Academic
Johnson, (1987) The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press.
Langacker, R. (1990) Concept, Image and Symbol: The Cognitive Basis of Grammar. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Marín-Arrese, J. (1997) Cognitive and discourse-pragmatic factors in passivisation. ATLANTIS, XIX-1: 203-218.
Shibatani, M. (1985) Passives and related constructions: a prototype analysis. Language 61: 821-848.
Talmy, L. (1988) Force dynamics in language and cognition. Cognitive Science 12: 49-100.
van Oosten, J. (1986) The Nature of Subjects, Topics and Agents: A Cognitive Explanation. Bloomington, IN.:
Indiana University Linguistics Club.
Manfred Markus
(University of Innsbruck)
Spoken features of interjections in Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary
Wednesday, 17:30 – 18:00, Room 1019
The “purely emotive” quality that Quirk et al. 1985 have attributed to interjections is not quite as
inaccessible as the scholarly neglect of this word class suggests. Rather, interjections share many
of the formal characteristics of spoken language. The present paper will analyse these features on
the basis of the vast material that Wright's English Dialect Dictionary (EDD), in its new beta
version, provides. The dialect words or phrases of English from 1700 to 1900 will be used as a
medium of the spoken language. The results will range from phonological and phonotactic
observations to aspects of word formation (primary and secondary interjections), and to semantic
as well as pragmatic features. A quantitative comparison of the results gained from Wright's
EDD with findings from OED2 will, finally, test the hypothesis that interjections in English are a
predominatly spoken word class.
Ameka, Felix 1992. “Interjections: The universal yet neglected part of speech.” Journal of Pragmatics 18.2/3:101117.
Nübling, Damaris 2004. “Die prototypische Interjektion: Ein Definitionsvorschlag.” Zeitschrift für Semiotik
Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoofrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik 1985. A Comprehensive Grammar of the
English Language. London: Longman.
Reisigl, Martin 1999. Sekundäre Interjektion: Eine diskursanalytische Annäherung. Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 1999.
Karl Maroldt
(University of Berlin)
Ideological bends in the creolisation debate
Friday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1021
One of the major issues in language variation and historical linguistics is how to determine, in a
sea of continuous drift of language change, when there is a disruption and which exceptional
linguistic current, wave, or tsunami brought it about. We must, however, not be carried away by
the power of our imagery. What we observe as more or less radical language change in the
remote past, might be no more than an apparent acceleration or slow-down of development, false
impressions of disruption or continuity induced by an accidental tradition of written language.
Also, we have to reflect with care how a discontinuity can really come about and spread in a heterogeneous community of speakers. In addition, since our human cognitive and linguistic abilities appear to restrict the range of structural possibilities in a principled way, most if not all
phenomena showing up in extreme linguistic situations have counterpart developments in
normal, steady internal (what has been called “natural”) as well as in contact-induced change.
So, many arguments raised as qualitative causal evidence for a discontinuity have been rejected
by referring to similar or parallel internal or universal tendencies, not even considering the
possibility of foreign influence as a significant force.
As newly-born languages have always been associated with evaluative notions such as
primitiveness, it would not come as a surprise if such evaluative categories carried over into
general attitudes towards contact and mixture. Speakers (including linguists) often have
enormous reservations about cultural and linguistic contact. The notion that languages and
countries go together is at the root of this type of prejudice. A violent history of fighting and
suppressing linguistic diversity in the development of European (and extra-European) national
states provides numerous examples of how much passion and emotion can be involved. In phases
of very intense contact and mixture, traditional identifications with languages, cultures, and
nations are under siege. Some of the pidgins and creoles which developed as a side effect (or in
the aftermath) of colonialism, have become (one of the) national languages of the (typically
multilingual) states that were often formed arbitrarily in connection with independence. These
daughter languages of English (and other languages) can give us certain hints regarding typical
structural properties and social situations; but whereas the biologically determined births of
human beings are very similar, the “births” of our mental offspring, such as a new language, (or
its change into a shape that we—at a certain point in time—consider to be a “new” language,
unintelligible to speakers of a certain distant set of its predecessors) can proceed along quite
diverse paths. In the case of English, a national identification with the “Englishness” of Middle
English can easily be shown to have been in place in the fourteenth century, when the language
already displays its major contact features, which were obviously not considered “foreign” or in
contradiction with being English (and not French).
This contribution will focus on three issues: the linguistic reasoning at the start of the
creolization debate, the main stages and argumentations through which the debate went, and the
repercussions of different mindsets and attitudes towards mixture and borrowing in linguistic
theorizing about the birth of the national language of England, which, whatever its lineage,
preserved its Germanic name—contrary to its rival French, which is generally considered to be a
Latin-derived Romance language, but has a Germanic name (in spite of a strong, though recent,
association with a bunch of Gallic warriors).
Stephen Matthews and Nikolas Gisborne
(University of Hong Kong / University of Edinburgh)
Hong Kong English from a typological perspective – Morphosyntax
Friday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1023
English and Cantonese are the main two languages in contact in Hong Kong, together with other
Sinitic languages and a variety of Austronesian languages spoken by domestic helpers.
Cantonese and English are typologically dissimilar in terms of word order; tense, mood and
aspect marking; noun phrase structure; relative clause formation; the formation of interrogatives;
and argument structure. Yet there is no work which systematically explores how these
morphosyntactic typological differences are revealed in Hong Kong English, except for Gisborne
(2000), which limits itself to relative clauses and the expression of finiteness.
In this paper, we set out to explore how a typological perspective facilitates an analysis of some
of the key features of Hong Kong English. For example, while Standard English has a two-way
distinction between past and non-past; Cantonese has no expression of tense on the verb. HKE
likewise shows a lack of tense. Gisborne (2000) reports the following examples.
a. She like to go there.
b. Have you try?
At first glance, it is not obvious whether these involve a reduction of syllable-final consonant
clusters, or whether there is a lack of a tense contrast in HKE. We propose that HKE, like
Cantonese (following Hu, Pan and Xu 2001), essentially lacks a finiteness contrast. Evidence
comes from examples like (2).
I suggest him to go.
While the normal valency for SUGGEST involves its taking a full tensed clause, in a language
where there is no finiteness contrast there is no way for the speaker to distinguish between a full
finite complement clause and the control structure of (2). In this paper we explore the finiteness
distinction in HKE, and look at the consequences of taking a typological approach to a range of
data such as (2).
Anna Mauranen
(University of Helsinki)
Linearity in English
Thursday, 16:30 – 17:00, Room 1019
We are used to modelling language from a synoptic point of view, which has resulted in
hierarchical grammars. Yet the reality of language is fundamentally linear: for the hearer, this
linearity manifests itself as temporality, for the reader, as the spatial organisation of text.
Modelling English from this perspective marks a new departure in its description. The Linear
Unit Grammar by Sinclair and Mauranen (2006) takes linearity as its starting point and builds a
theoretically grounded model on this basis: the building blocks of grammar are elements which
follow each other in time. Such a grammar adopts the position of the competent language user
who operates under the constraints of real-time language processing. This paper explains the
principles of Linear Unit Grammar applying it to transcribed spoken English.
Dan McIntyre and Jonathan Culpeper
(University of Huddersfield / University of Lancaster)
Activity types and characterisation in dramatic discourse
Thursday, 15:00 – 15:30, Room 1098
This paper aims to enhance our understanding of how characterisation works in dramatic texts,
whether written for the stage or the film screen, and to futher the development of a stylistics of
drama. Regarding characterisation, we aim to contribute both to an understanding of how
characters are constructed in texts by writers and to how they are conceived by readers. Thus,
our general approach might be described as cognitive stylistic, although this paper will focus
much more on language than cognition. Regarding the stylistics of drama, we hope to assist in
the redress of the quantitative imbalance in work investigating the different literary genres: the
quantity of work on drama pales into insignificance compared with work on poetry and prose.
Even less work has looked at language and characterisation in plays.
Central to this paper is the notion of ‘activity type’ (Levinson [1979] 1992). In a nutshell, an
activity type (such as a seminar, a family dinner event, or a birthday party) is a collection of
particular speech acts (such as requests, questions and offers) that stand in particular pragmatic
relationships to each other and have become a relatively conventionalised whole. Contrary to
this, treatments of the language of plays, as exemplified, for example, in the studies in Culpeper
et al. (1998), tend to be relatively atomistic in approach; that is to say, they adopt frameworks
that treat a specific dimension of the dialogue, or even individual segments of dialogue.
Moreover, activity types involve an approach to context that is particularly suited to the dialogue
of plays, since this approach involves language determining context rather than the opposite,
which is more often the case in traditional pragmatic approaches to context. As far as
characterisation is concerned, individual speech acts have an important role, because they
embody speakers’ intentions and are realized in ways that reflect the speaker’s position in social
space. Furthermore, activity types have a cognitive dimension and thus play a role in the
knowledge-based inferencing that is so important in ‘fleshing out’ our conceptions of characters.
The first part of this paper elaborates the notion of activity type, and concludes with a focus on
one specific kind of activity type, the ‘interview’. In the following part, we apply this notion in
the analysis of two extracts from dramatic texts (John Hodge’s 1994 screenplay for Danny
Boyle’s film Trainspotting and an episode of the television sitcom One Foot in the Grave).
Finally, we consider the implications of what we have discussed and demonstrated in the paper
for drama and characterisation.
Jennifer McManus*
(University of Liverpool)
Present-day prescriptivist discourse: a transitivity analysis
Thursday, 15:00 – 15:30, Room 1015
Research by Beal (2006) suggested that C18th English prescriptivism left ‘a legacy of linguistic
insecurity’, which, in the present day, has led to the emergence of instances of what she terms
‘New Prescriptivism’ (cf., among others, the publications by Parrish (2002) and Truss (2003)).
Following this, recent research (González-Díaz 2007) explored the similarities and differences
between the ideological ‘trends’ of the 18th century and the ‘new’ prescriptivism and provided
some pointers regarding the construction of the ‘new’ prescriptivist discourse. One of the main
conclusions of the latter work was the need for a more fine-grained analysis of the linguistic
choices in the ‘new’ prescriptivist discourse. This is where my research comes in.
Using a corpus of prescriptive texts sourced from the ‘letters to the editor’ in The Times and The
Guardian (1985-2007)), in this paper I will employ Halliday’s (1994) transitivity model as a
means of elucidating the ideologies construed in the prescriptive discourse. Although some
transitivity analysis of this kind was carried out in González-Díaz (2007), the scale was very
small (16 texts); therefore further research is required. Specifically, the following questions are
1. What do the transitivity choices suggest about the ideologies of ‘new prescriptivisvm’
and how do they compare with a) those noted by González-Díaz (2007) and b) the
relevant theoretical insights on the topic (Thomas, 1991)?
2. In light of the fact that the ‘grammar panic’ (Cameron, 1995) is attributed to the late
1980s, are there any differences between the ideological concerns in the 1985-1995 and
1995-2007 data?
3. Are there any differences between the ideological concerns of the two newspapers?
(González-Díaz (2007) perceives a more ‘alarmist’ tone in The Times, although does not
investigate this objectively).
In addition to providing answers to the above questions, thus expanding on a relatively smallscale initial study, the paper brings to the fore some methodological questions (cf. Straaijer
2007) and suggests that transitivity analysis may constitute an effective contribution towards
generating a more objective way of approaching prescriptive data.
Beal, J. (2006) ‘Plus ça change…: The New Prescriptivism’. Paper submitted to DELS, Manchester, April 2006.
Cameron, D. (1995) Verbal hygiene. London: Routledge.
González-Díaz, V. (2007) ‘Prescriptivism in English: a synchronic and diachronic study’. Paper presented at
Colloque International: Prescriptions en Langue, Paris, November 2007.
Halliday, M.A.K. (1994) An Introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Arnold.
Straaijer, R. (2007) ‘Towards a quantification of prescriptivism’. Paper presented at the Third Late Modern English
Conference, Leiden, August 2007.
Thomas, G. (1991) Linguistic Purism. London: Longman.
* This is a joint research project with Victorina González-Díaz (University of Liverpool).
Christiane Meierkord
(University of Münster)
English at its edges
Wednesday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1015
Throughout its history, English has developed into a heterogeneous cluster of different forms.
Some of these have become standardised, others have been given the status of institutionalised
varieties (e.g. Indian English), and yet further forms are discussed from within the pidgins and
creoles paradigm.
Besides these, new forms of language have recently emerged in many postcolonial contexts. In,
for example, South Africa and Kenya, but also in India and elsewhere, mixed codes have
developed (cf. Schneider 2007). Although they obviously perform the role of identity markers,
these codes seem to be difficult to integrate into regular descriptions of English, and they are
mostly referred to as slang or youth language. Particularly in Kenya, however, their use has
extended into the adult speech community as well as into the print media (cf. Meierkord
My presentation will concentrate on mixed codes which exist in African countries: Sheng and
English as spoken in Kenya, and the Afrikaans-English mixed code used in parts of Cape Town.
I will start from describing the similarities between these codes as regards their form and utilise
the results of these comparisons to discuss:
what English looks like at its fuzzy boundaries with other languages
how these forms can contribute to our understanding of the nature of language in
general (i.e. when is a code a variety or even a language)
and how these forms can contribute to newly emerging paradigm such as cognitive
sociolinguistics, ethnosyntax, and postcolonial pragmatics.
Schneider, Edgar W. (2007) Postcolonial English. Varieties Around the World. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Meierkord, Christiane (forthcoming) Constraints on linguistic identity construction in postcolonial contexts. In:
Janney, Richard; Anchimbe, Eric; Versluys, Eline (eds.) Postcolonial Pragmatics. Special issue ol the
Journal of Pragmatics.
Gunnel Melchers
(University of Stockholm)
“Are you heard it?” – be as a perfective auxiliary in varieties of English
Thursday, 12:00 – 12.30, Room 1016
This paper reconsiders and develops an earlier study of mine entitled “Du’s no heard da last
o’dis” — on the use of BE as a perfective auxiliary in Shetland dialect (Melchers 1992), and thus
confirms the truth of the claim expressed in that title. There are several reasons for returning to
this topic, such as the publication of the monumental Mouton Handbook of Varieties of English
(2004), recent data collection in Shetland and Orkney by myself and others, and challenging new
theories on the evolution of English grammar (cf. e.g. McWhorter 2002).
In the traditional dialects of the Northern Isles (Orkney and Shetland), be rather than have is used
as a perfective auxiliary, not restricted to verbs of motion but categorically, as in I war paid him
afore that (Orkney) and I’m been dere twartree times (Shetland). Unlike most other
characteristics of Shetland and Orkney dialects, this feature is probably not to be unequivocally
explained by the Norse substratum. It would appear, however, to be a result of the complicated
language contact situation in the Northern Isles, bringing with it a great deal of ambiguity and
confusion of expressions referring to transitivity vs. intransitivity and active vs. passive.
As once claimed by Joseph Wright and recently demonstrated in the Mouton Handbook global
synopsis of features, the be perfective is not unique to Shetland and Orkney, although less
categorical in other varieties. It is, for example, well known that various forms of be are used in
AAVE as tense auxiliaries in addition to invariant been and done.
In line with the overall theme of this workshop, this paper presents and discusses the use of be
perfectives in inner circle varieties, with special reference to the Northern Isles, as well as outer
circle varieties, notably Bahamian English.
Kortmann, Bernd et al. (eds.) (2004) A Handbook of Varieties of English, vol.2: Morphology and Syntax. Berlin:
McWhorter, John (2002) What happened to English?. Diachronica 19:2, 217-272.
Melchers, Gunnel (1992) “Du’s no heard da last o’ dis” — on the use of be as a perfective auxiliary in Shetland
dialect. In Rissanen, Matti et al. (eds.) History of Englishes. Berlin: Mouton, 602-610.
Rajend Mesthrie
(University of Cape Town)
The sociophonetics of English in post-apartheid South Africa
Plenary I, Wednesday, 9:00 – 10:00, Room 1010
The present paper draws on ongoing research project focussing on changing English norms in a
deracialising society, based in 5 cities, with Cape Town as the main base. It focuses on the true
beneficiaries of social change thus far: young middle-class students who constituted the first
generation to enjoy education within a non-racial schooling system. This is a growing class of
people in the forefront of racial and social transformation and likely to be the models for success
in the near future (if not already). In previous papers I tried to ascertain whether young Black
speakers are simply adopting key variants from the White middle class, introducing subtle
changes of their own, or are resisting change. I reported (at a preliminary level, focussing on
Word List style only of a small set of speakers) on the fronting of GOOSE, glide weakening of
PRICE and lowering of KIT in velar and glottal environments. I focussed mainly on the fronting of
GOOSE, arguing that it is becoming prominent amongst Black, middle class, female speakers and
bringing them in line with White norms: in effect deracialising the variable and turning it into
marker of class (middle) and age (youth).
In this current keynote address I provide an update by examining the GOOSE vowel in a larger
data set and in more casual styles. I focus on 48 young, middle-class South Africans, drawn from
the four main ethnic groups of the country: Black, White, Coloured and Indian. I report on their
realisations of the variable in informal interview style and Word List style. The study suggests
that while all young speakers are involved in a degree of fronting compared to the previous
generation, there are differential realisations according to the ethnic hierarchy ‘Indian <
Coloured < Black < White’ and the gender hierarchy ‘Male < Female’. (The symbol “<” denotes
a lesser degree of fronting both qualitatively and quantitatively.) The symbolism of the vowel
will be discussed: as there are interesting social and stylistic reasons why these differences exist.
Fanny Meunier
(University of Louvain)
Revisiting the norm: on the asymmetry of the construct in the linguistics and teaching of
Friday, 15:00 – 15:30, Room 1019
The present contribution aims to operationalize the normative construct in language and to
demonstrate its highly asymmetrical character, depending on whether it is approached from a
linguistic or teaching perspective.
New empirical methodologies for linguistic analysis (including corpus-based, corpus-driven and
variationist approaches) combined with English as a Lingua Franca trends have transformed a
formerly rather unquestioned ‘norm’ into a loaded term with strong emotional overtones and
A closer look at the variables and features of the normative construct will prompt a reflection on
the pros and cons of norms, both in linguistic analysis and in native and non-native language
The attempt at formalization will take into account theoretical (Aarts 2007), cognitive (Zaidel et
al. 2005), descriptive (Paquot 2007), sociolinguistic (Nickel 1998), pedagogical (Bardovi-Harlig
et al. 2000, Meunier in press), ethical (Godley et al. 2007) and language planning issues
(Yiakoumetti 2007).
The presentation will focus on the interaction of research and pedagogy, will suggest a more
restricted use of the word ‘norm’ and plead for a more extensive use of some other related terms.
Aarts B. (2007) Syntactic Gradience. The Nature of Grammatical Indeterminacy. Oxford/ Oxford University Press.
Bardovi-Harlig K., Sieloff Magnan S., Walz J. and Gass S. (2002) Pedagogical Norms for Second and Foreign
Language Learning and Teaching. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Godley A., Carpenter J., Brian D., Werner C. (2007) “I’ll Speak in Proper Slang”: Language Ideologies in a Daily
Editing Activity. Reading Research Quarterly, vol. 42, n°1, 100-131.
Meunier F. (in press) Corpora, cognition and pedagogical grammars : An account of convergences and divergences
. In De Knop, S. and T. De Rycker (eds) Cognitive Approaches to Pedagogical Grammar. Berlin , Mouton
de Gruyter.
Nickel G. (1998) The role of interlanguage in foreign language teaching. IRAL. International review of applied
linguistics in language, vol. 36, no1, 1-10.
Paquot M. (2007) EAP vocabulary in EFL learner writing: from extraction to analysis: A phraseology-oriented
approach. Unpublished PhD thesis. Université catholique de Louvain, Centre for English Corpus
Yiakoumetti A. (2007) Choice of Classroom Language in Bidialectal Communities: To Include or to Exclude the
Dialect? Cambridge Journal of Education, vol. 37 n°1, 51-66.
Zaidel D.W., Aarde S.M., Baig K. (2005) Appearance of symmetry, beauty, and health in human faces. Brain and
Cognition vol. 57, n°3, 261-263.
Anneli Meurman-Solin
(University of Helsinki)
The discourse basis for lexical categories revisited: nominalization in epistolary prose
Saturday, 10:30 – 11:00, Room 1016
In their important article on the discourse basis for lexical categories, Hopper and Thompson
(2004:248) discuss the integration of ‘the notional side of categories with their pragmatic
function in language use’. While they accept the broad correlation that for example ‘certain
prototypical percepts of thing-like entities will be coded in a grammatical form identifiable as N’
(ibid.:249), they set out ‘to show that semantic congruence is actually rooted in predictable
pragmatic (discourse) functions.’ Moreover, in their view, even though semantic features
assigning ‘concrete, stable things’ (such as visibility) to Ns and ‘kinetic, effective actions’ (such
as movement) to Vs are relevant, these features ‘do not seem to be adequate for assigning a
given form to its lexical class’ (ibid.:251). This is because ‘[p]rototypicality in linguistic
categories depends not only on independently verifiable semantic properties, but also – and
perhaps more crucially – on linguistic function in discourse.’
My paper draws on a manuscript-based corpus of early correspondence which has been subjected
to elaborated annotation of nominal structures, with the theoretical framework described in
Hopper and Thompson (2004) in mind (see Meurman-Solin 2007a, b). This database provides
particularly relevant data for a study of this kind for two reasons: first, documents transcribed by
retaining the original punctuation and providing information about features of visual prosody
(Meurman-Solin 2007a) permit a more reliable reading of discourse properties and features
related to information structure than editions which normalise or modernise punctuation and
sentence structure; secondly, letters represent explicitly interactive online language use.
Nominalisation will be discussed from four different perspectives: (i) the theoretical and
methodological implications of a discourse-based assessment of nouniness, with the system of
annotation created for this assessment in focus, (ii) degree of nominality in epistolary prose, (iii)
nominalisation in information structure in epistolary discourse (highlighting its relatedness to
politeness), and (iv) degree of syntactic complexity in epistolary prose.
The outcome of the analysis will be related to Lehmann’s (1988) parameters relevant in
depicting the continuum from maximal elaboration to maximal compression in clause linkage,
nominalisation – resulting from desententialisation, Lehmann’s term – being closer to the
compressed end of the cline.
Lehmann, Christian (1988) ‘Towards a typology of clause linkage’ in Clause Combining in Grammar and
Discourse (Typological Studies in Language, 18), ed. John Haiman and Sandra A. Thomson. Amsterdam
and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 181-225.
Hopper, Paul J. and Sandra A. Thompson [1984] (2004) ‘The discourse basis for lexical categories in Universal
Grammar’. Language 60: 703-52. Reprinted in Fuzzy Grammar, ed. Bas Aarts, David Denison, Evelien
Keizer and Gergana Popova. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 247-291.
Meurman-Solin, Anneli (2007a) Corpus of Scottish Correspondence (CSC), 1500-1730. An online manuscriptbased tagged corpus, with an introduction and manual, auxiliary databases and software for data retrieval
and presentation. Research Unit for Variation, Contacts and Change in English. University of Helsinki.
Meurman-Solin, Anneli (2007b) ‘Annotating variational space over time’ in Annotating variation and change
(Studies in Variation, Contacts and Change in English, Volume 1), ed. Anneli Meurman-Solin and Arja
Nurmi. Department of English. University of Helsinki.
Bettina Migge
(University College Dublin)
Identifying the sources of English features in Creoles of Suriname
Thursday, 15:30 – 16:00, Room 1016
Due to the relatively early removal of English varieties from Suriname – within the first 30 years
of its foundation – the Creoles of Suriname came to be quite distinct from varieties of English.
Most of the work on these languages has consequently focused on identifying African
influences. In recent years, the research focus has shifted to identifying the nature of the
interaction between the different contributing sources, namely African and European languages
and contact universals. There is evidence that the varieties of English contributed various kinds
of structural aspects in addition to the large stock of lexical material. However, to date this has
not been systematically investigated. Specifically, we know very little about the precise sources
of possible features. However, sociohistorical evidence suggests that the Englishes of so-called
inner colonies might have functioned as important sources of English features in the Creoles of
The aim of this paper is to present the semantic and morphosyntactic features in the Creoles of
Suriname that are most likely to be due to influence from varieties of English and to analyse in
more detail those features that are susceptible to influence from the former inner colonies such as
the intensifer use of reflexives, the use of nominal phrases in place of pronouns etc. The paper
will draw on historical and contemporary language data and on socio-historical data on the
contacts between Suriname and the former inner colonies.
Ilka Mindt
(University of Würzburg)
Methods in corpus linguistics: quantitative data and qualitative information
Thursday, 10:30 – 11:00, Room 1021
This paper focuses on methodological issues within corpus linguistics. The use of corpora in
linguistic research has opened up new possibilities for the study of language. The paper will
focus on two important areas: on quantitative data and on qualitative information.
Linguistic approaches before the availability of corpora could scarcely rely on quantitative data.
One advantage of working with corpora is that quantitative data are inherently available and can
be computed and made explicit. It is possible to generate frequency lists of words, of phrases, of
syntactic patterns etc. Absolute and relative frequencies can be used as indicators in detecting
salient linguistic aspects. The use of statistical tests such as the qui-square test or cluster analysis
helps to find, to verify and to explain linguistic distributions.
Linguistic studies before the availability of corpora did heavily rely on the qualitative analysis of
linguistic items. This claim is also true for studies using data from corpora. Then and now, the
(corpus) data can be analysed in terms of various linguistic aspects, for example according to its
syntax, lexis, semantics, pragmatics, collocations or co-occurrence patterns. One advantage of
working with corpora is that the cases which are analysed represent real language and that there
is no need any more to rely exclusively on intuition and on invented examples. A qualitative
analysis may corroborate already existing results or it may even lead to new insights in the
description of linguistic items, especially if the adopted approach is corpus-driven.
The paper wants to present an outline how qualitative data and quantitative information
complement each other and thus attempts to sketch a methodological approach within corpus
Sandra Mollin
(University of Augsburg)
Towards idiolect linguistics: an individual speaker’s collocations
Thursday, 15:00-15:30, Room 1021
The aim of English linguistics is to describe the English language, either in its entirety or in its
regional, social, or stylistic varieties. This is reflected in the synchronic English language
corpora compiled: these aim to represent the English language as such (e.g. the BNC), English as
it is spoken in specific regions or nations (e.g. ICE), or English as it is spoken in specific groups
or situations (e.g. MICASE). While all these approaches offer valuable insights, this paper
suggests that we have so far, in researching different communities of speakers, disregarded the
individual differences that speakers in all sorts of language communities exhibit. Especially in
the light of usage-based approaches to language which emphasise that an individual’s mental
lexicon and mental grammar are the result of their own experiences with the language, linguistics
stands to benefit from a closer investigation of individual language, i.e. from idiolect linguistics.
While idiolect research is not new in the areas of sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics and forensic
linguistics, we do not yet have larger-scale corpora of individual speakers which would allow us
to examine grammatical or even lexicogrammatical structures. This paper thus presents a corpus
of transcribed speech by one speaker (a public figure, British, male, born 1953, speech collected
from the years 1989-2007), comprising three million words. Problems in compiling large
individual corpora will briefly be sketched, yet the main part of the paper will detail a
comparison of the idiolect corpus with the BNC concerning adverb+verb and adverb+adjective
collocations. The paper outlines different methods in comparing the corpora as to the collocation
strengths of word pairs, and suggests that and why collocations such as absolutely frank, broadly
acceptable, passionately BELIEVE, and simply SAY are typical of the individual speaker
researched, but not of the average British speaker.
Colette Moore
(University of Washington)
Reported discourse in Middle English sermons and chronicles
Friday, 15:30 – 16:00, Room 1019
The expectation of faithfulness in quotation has been questioned, qualified and revived in
present-day English studies of reported discourse (most thoroughly by Short, Semino and Wynne
2002). This study pursues the expectation of faithfulness in reported discourse in pre-modern and
early modern texts; it constitutes part of my larger study of speech reporting in early English
(1350-1600). This qualitative portion of the research tracks quotation practices and faithfulness
expectations in two genres of Middle English texts: sermons and chronicles. Examining
particular genres in their historical and cultural context permits us to consider genre-specific
pressures for and against faithfulness in speech reporting. Sermons and historical chronicles
show us that medieval writers and readers had reasons to report as accurately as possible, but
also had cultural and rhetorical reasons for deviating from verbatimness. These competing
pragmatic pressures resolve in quotative practices that are both like and unlike our present-day
usage. This, in turn, helps to contextualize reported discourse in early texts and to understand the
generic precedents for present-day speech reporting.
Short, Mick, Elena Semino, and Martin Wynne (2002) “Revisiting the Notion of Faithfulness in Discourse
Presentation Using a Corpus Approach.” Language and Literature 11:4. 325-55.
Terttu Nevalainen
(University of Helsinki)
Social evaluation of long-term language changes in progress
Wednesday, 11:00 – 11.30, Room 1016
Sociolinguistics was introduced into English historical linguistics in the early 1980s. Romaine
(1982) found that sociolinguistic methods could be successfully extended to correlate linguistic
variation with external factors in historical data. In her study, stylistic stratification emerged as a
major factor in language maintenance and shift. In the 1990s historical sociolinguists’ research
agenda diversified to comprise a wide range of issues, including social and regional embedding
of linguistic variation and change (Nevalainen and Raumolin-Brunberg 2003).
Diachronic research can shed light on some issues that synchronic sociolinguistics cannot
tackle empirically. These include the social evaluation of long-term linguistic changes in their
various stages, ranging, in terms introduced by Labov (1994: 67), from incipient to completed.
My paper discusses new findings that highlight the relevance of these stages to the social and
stylistic evaluation of a set of morphological and syntactic changes in progress in English
between c. 1450 and 1700, and individual language users’ varying participation in these
processes. My material comes from the Corpus of Early English Correspondence (CEEC), and
the computational methods used include Bayesian and bootstrap techniques, discussed, e.g., in
Hinneburg et al. (2006).
CEEC = The Corpus of Early English Correspondence (1998) University of Helsinki, Department of English.
Compiled by Terttu Nevalainen, Helena Raumolin-Brunberg; Jukka Keränen, Minna Nevala, Arja Nurmi
and Minna Palander-Collin.
Hinneburg A., H. Mannila, S. Kaislaniemi, T. Nevalainen and H. Raumolin-Brunberg (2007) How to handle small
samples: bootstrap and Bayesian methods in the analysis of linguistic change. Literary and Linguistic
Computing 22: 137-150.
Labov, W. (1994) Principles of Linguistic Change. Volume 1: Internal Factors. Oxford, UK and Cambridge, USA:
Nevalainen, T. and H. Raumolin-Brunberg (2003) Historical Sociolinguistics. London: Pearson Education.
Romaine, S. (1982) Socio-historical Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Nina Nørgaard
(University of South Denmark, Odense)
Towards a grammar of typography and its implications for stylistics
Thursday, 15:30 – 16:00, Room 1098
For many years, stylistics has been a well-established field of research for scholars and students
interested in the ways in which meaning in literature is created through language. Drawing on
linguists’ knowledge about language and communication as well as employing their
methodology for analysis and interpretation, stylisticians explore what is communicated
linguistically by literary texts, and how. While the foci of the various linguistic traditions are
mirrored by a great variety of stylistic approaches to literature like, for instance, Chomskyan
stylistics, Hallidayan stylistics, cognitive stylistics and corpus stylistics, a common denominator
for most stylistics output so far seems to be the tendency to focus – monomodally – on the wordmeaning of written verbal language. My presentation seeks to redress this imbalance and
explicitly acknowledge the multimodal nature of printed verbal language in literature. It does so
by exploring the extent to which the visual side of printed verbal language is meaning-making in
its own right and how it interacts with other semiotic modes in a complex process of semiosis.
For this purpose, the article employs and examines the approach to multimodal discourse
proposed, for instance, by Kress and Van Leeuwen (2001), Baldry and Thibault (2006), and,
more specifically, the multimodal approach to typography suggested by Van Leeuwen (2005;
2006) in order to sketch out a “grammar of typography” applicable to the description and
analysis of the semiotic potential of typography in literary texts.
Neal R. Norrick
(University of Saarbrücken)
Listener activities and responses in English conversation
Wednesday, 15:00 – 15:30, Room 1023
Listeners do not inertly and silently receive talk by speakers. They actively demonstrate
listenership and encourage other participants to continue to hold the floor with audible and
visible signals. They engage in various “activities in the back-channel”—by contrast with the
primary channel occupied with talk by the primary speaker (Yngve 1970). In this paper, I
describe verbal listener activities in American English conversation based on data from several
transcribed corpora.
Listener activities differ in fundamental ways. First, they signal: (1) recipiency, (2) changes in
information states or (3) emotional involvement in foregoing talk (cf. Gardner 1998); second,
they mark varying degrees of speaker incipiency, from the pure continuer uh-huh, to the preshifter yeah and on to the topic switcher okay (Jefferson 1993). I will show that listener activities
further differ in how likely they are to elicit a response from the primary speaker in the next turn.
The frequency of responses elicited increases from (1) unobtrusive continuers like uh-huh and mhm, through (2) assessments like wow and gosh, on to (3) information state tokens like oh and
hm, and peaks at (4) insistent discourse markers like well and so.
We shall see that listener activities function not only to enable a multi-unit turn by another; they
can also prompt explanations and extensions of stories. Even when listener activities primarily
signal recipiency, they convey varying degrees of emotional involvement and insistence on
direct response to their contribution.
Gardner, Rod (2001) When Listeners Talk. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Jefferson, Gail (1993) Caveat speaker: Preliminary notes on recipient topic-shift implicature. Research on Language
and Social Interaction 26(1): 1-30
Yngve, V. (1970) On getting a word m edgewise. Papers from the 6th Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistics
Society, April 16-18. Chicago: Chicago Linguistics Society.
Arja Nurmi
(University of Helsinki)
Writing a social history of English modal auxiliaries: methodological considerations
Thursday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1021
This paper gives an outline of the theoretical and methodological choices behind a research
project charting out the development of English modal auxiliaries in their social context between
the years 1400–1800.
The main methodology of the study is corpus linguistics, while the theoretical frameworks
employed are (historical) sociolinguistics and (historical) socio-pragmatics. As Krug (2000: 256)
points out, we have very little frequentative information on the history of modal auxiliaries
(although see e.g. Gotti et al (2002)). The existing earlier research has focussed on multi-genre
corpora, but new information can easily be gleaned through single genre corpora such as the
Corpus of Early English Correspondence, which was expressly developed for the application of
sociolinguistic methods to historical stages of the language (see e.g. Nevalainen and RaumolinBrunberg 2003).
In the case of modal auxiliaries, tracing the social history of the lexical items is not sufficient:
the semantics of the auxiliaries needs to be taken into account. Earlier research has shown that
modals are socially embedded both on the lexical and the semantic level (see e.g. Nurmi 2003).
This presents a further methodological problem of applying a semantic analysis on the tens of
thousands of instances retrieved from the corpus in a period where most modals are going
through a semantic shift. Planned strategies for coping with the massive body of evidence
include different sampling techniques, as well as applying corpus-based descriptions of Presentday English (e.g. Coates 1983) to historical data.
While quantitative methods produce the big picture of development, qualitative methods are
needed to fill in the nuances of any development. The analysis of individual communicative
exchanges is planned for the crucial points in the history of modals. As modal auxiliaries become
more established, they gain increasingly fine-grained usage in structuring social space.
Coates, Jennifer (1983) The Semantics of the Modal Auxiliaries. London: Croom Helm.
Gotti, Maurizio, Marina Dossena, Richard Dury, Roberta Facchinetti and Maria Lima (2002) Variation in Central
Modals. A Repertoire of Forms and Types of Usage in Middle English and Early Modern English.
(Linguistic Insights. Studies in Language and Communication 4). Bern: Peter Lang.
Krug, Manfred G. (2000) Emerging English Modals. A Corpus-based Study of Grammaticalization. (Topics in
English Linguistics 32). Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Nevalainen, Terttu and Helena Raumolin-Brunberg (2003) Historical sociolinguistics. London: Longman.
Nurmi, Arja (2003) “The role of gender in the use of MUST in Early Modern English.” In Granger, Sylviane and
Stephanie Petch-Tyson (eds) Extending the Scope of Corpus-based Research: New Applications, New
Challenges. (Language and Computers: Studies in Practical Linguistics). Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi,
Jeržy Nykiel
(University of Silesia)
A case study of grammaticalization and pragmaticalization, I guess
Friday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1015
In Present-Day English the mental state verb to guess when coupled with the subject pronoun I
functions, alongside I think, I suppose, I believe, etc., as what de Haan (2006) terms a modal tag
but what is more commonly known as an epistemic parenthetical (cf. Thompson and Mulac
1991, Nuyts 1994, Aijmer 1997, Wischer 2000). If the semantic role of a parenthetical raises no
doubts – it serves to epistemically qualify the proposition as much as a modal verb does, it is the
syntax and pragmatics that call for a separate treatment in the case of the parentheticals. An
epistemic parenthetical like I guess, whose status in a clause is closer to that of an adverb, has a
counterpart in which guess is a matrix verb introducing a complement clause, both types being
illustrated in (1) and (2) respectively:
(1) He’s at home, sipping beer, I guess.
(2) I guess that he’s at home, sipping beer.
Importantly, the parenthetical use is diachronically secondary in that it emerges after the matrix
verb use is established. The processes that are implicated in driving I guess and similar
constructions toward the status of parentheticals are grammaticalization, as shown by Thompsom
and Mulac (1991), grammaticalization in tandem with pragmaticalization, as maintained by
Aijmer (1997), and also lexicalization as in the case of methinks (cf. Wischer 2000).
In this study I aim to look into the pace at which the parenthetical I guess was derived from the
matrix verb construction and the pragmatic factors that determined the derivation. This being a
corpus-based undertaking I make use of a variety of electronic corpora such as the Helsinki
corpus, the Complete Works of William Shakespeare and available corpora of Present-Day
Aijmer, Karin (1997) I think – an English modal particle. In Swan, T. and O. Jansen Westvik (eds.) Modality in
Germanic Languages. Berlin-New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 1-48.
De Haan, Ferdinand (2006) Typological approaches to modality. In William Frawley (ed.) The Expression of
Modality. Berlin-New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 27-70.
Nuyts, Jan (1994) Epistemic Modal Qualifications. Antwerpen: Universiteit Antwerpen.
Thompson, Sarah A. and Anthony Mulac (1991) A quantitative perspective on the grammaticization of epistemic
parentheticals in English. In Traugott, E. C. and B. Heine (eds.) Approaches to Gramaticalization. Vol. I
and II. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 313-330.
Wischer, Ilse 2000. Grammaticalization versus lexicalization. ‘Methinks’ there is some confusion. In Olga Fischer,
Anette Rosenbach and Dieter Stein (eds.) Pathways of Change, Grammaticalization in English.
Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 355-370.
Joanna Nykiel
(University of Silesia / Stanford)
If Middle English prepositions could go missing…
Wednesday, 15:00 – 15:30, Room 1016
Whether an anaphor left behind by sluicing (They knew someone was approaching, but they
didn’t know who) has a full syntactic structure is not immediately obvious. Just as there is reason
to believe that it may have none (cf. Ginzburg and Sag 2000, Culicover and Jackendoff 2005), so
there is reason to insist on an underlying structure (cf. Hankamer and Sag 1976, Williams 1977,
Sag and Hankamer 1984, Merchant 2001, 2004, 2007). The latter position has garnered support
from robust syntactic effects most recently observed by Merchant (2004). He explicitly connects
omission of prepositions in sluicing to an ability to strand prepositions.
(1) a. Peter was talking with someone, but I don’t know (with) who.
b. Who was he talking with?
Thus non-preposition-stranding languages have no option of omitting a preposition. Under a
movement and deletion strategy this generalization is correctly captured. While it is not the only
argument in favor of syntactic representation, nor would falsifying it deal a fatal blow to such
representation, I argue that the history of English offers insight into how preposition stranding
and sluicing interact. It has long been recognized that Old English prepositions do not uniformly
strand. Central to this paper is the fact that wh-interrogatives require pied-piping, while personal
pronouns and some relatives show preposition-stranding (cf. Grimshaw 1975, Allen 1980, Van
Kenemade 1987, Bergh and Seppaenen 2000). Middle English paints another picture:
prepositionstranding slowly extends to wh-interrogatives. My data from both periods show no
difference in the distribution of sluices, with prepositions invariably preceding wh-interrogatives.
Importantly, at a time when significant changes target sentences, and when corresponding
changes might be expected in sluices if Merchant is right, no such changes are attested. This fact
casts doubt on the strength of Merchant’s argument.
Carita Paradis
(University of Lund)
Metonymization as the key mechanism in semantic change
Saturday, 12:00 – 12:30, Room 1015
The ‘use potential’ of a lexical item is a conceptual structure that has been built up and is being
built up by its different uses. In all usage events only a portion of the total use potential of a
lexical item is evoked. It is on the occurrence of use in human communication that the more
specific focus of attention and the profiling of the meaning of a lexical item in context is being
fixed. This means that meanings of words in context are pragmatically motivated and formed by
construals operating on their use potential. Two construals, which are frequently referred to as
metonymy in the literature, are distinguished as metonymization and zone activation. These
construals are both based on PART–WHOLE configurations and select the most salient aspects
of meaning of a conceptual structure on the occurrence of use. However, they differ with respect
to conventionalization of the profiled meaning. Metonymization holds between senses and
activation of zones within senses.
This paper argues that metonymization is instrumental in the development of new meanings and
in language change. It involves the use of a lexical item to evoke the sense of something that is
not conventionally linked to that particular lexical item. Metonymy is effected ‘on-line’ and is an
implied contingent relation that precedes change. In novel uses of form–meaning pairings,
couplings between lexical items and their meanings have not yet been conventionalized.
Conventionalization and change require successful hearer recognition and subsequent acceptance
of the speech community. Change involves entrenchment of metonymical readings and has taken
place when conventional form–meaning pairings have been established for certain uses and
focus of attention is again selected through zone activation. In the process of meaning change,
there is a continuum from metonymy to zone activation, i.e. from non–conventionalized
couplings between form–meaning pairs (polysemy) to conventionalized form–meaning pairings
and zone activation within senses. The argument is empirically substantiated with corpus data as
well as from experiments.
Peter Patrick
(University of Essex)
Number variation in Jamaican Patwa
Friday, 15:00 – 15:30, Room 1016
This paper analyzes variation in the marking of number on plural nouns in mesolectal Jamaican
Patwa (JP) – one of only three variable features for which comparable quantitative data exist
from Creole and African American English speech communities (Rickford 2006). Earlier
theoretical claims for grammatical and functional principles to constrain variation in JP, and
English-related Creoles generally, are tested and found wanting (Bickerton 1975, Dijkhoff 1983,
Mufwene 1986). Many previous empirical studies lacked a valid, sufficiently nuanced taxonomy
of surface forms which can reliably map onto the level of reference, and permit reorganization at
a more abstract level capable of allowing generalizations.
Quantitative analysis considers the choice between plural -z and zero in regular nouns in light of
the major claimed linguistic constraints – syntactic, semantic, pragmatic and phonological.
Results are compared with other contemporary English-lexicon Creoles, African American
Vernacular English (AAVE), and African American Diaspora varieties. Two corpora are first
analysed separately, then combined to form the largest database yet studied for number-marking
in any single Creole, African American Diaspora, or African American Vernacular Englishspeaking community. Results contradict the ‘Creole pattern’ put forth in the literature, and used
as a basis for historical conclusions concerning AAVE and Creole genesis (e.g. Poplack,
Tagliamonte, and Eze 2000), show that number marking is clearly not a functional response by
speakers to ease listeners’ comprehension task, and shed light on the role of redundant marking
in Atlantic Creole continua.
Bickerton, Derek. 1975. Dynamics of a Creole system. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dijkhoff, Marta. 1983. The process of pluralization in Papiamentu. In L. Carrington et al., eds., Studies in Caribbean
Language. St. Augustine, Trinidad: Society for Caribbean Linguistics, 217-229.
Mufwene, Salikoko. 1986. Number delimitation in Gullah. American Speech 61(1): 33-60.
Poplack, Shana, Sali Tagliamonte, and Ejike Eze. 2000. Reconstructing the source of early African American
English plural marking: A comparative study of English and Creole. In S Poplack, ed., The English history
of African American English. Oxford: Blackwell, 73-105.
Rickford, John R. 2006. Down for the count? The Creole Origins hypothesis of AAVE at the hands of the Ottawa
Circle, and their supporters. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 21(1): 97-155.
Heli Paulasto
(University of Joensuu)
Expanded uses of the progressive form: focus on Wales and India
Thursday, 15:00 – 15:30, Room 1016
Williams (1990) observes that Wales can be considered the first colony of an expanding British
state. Welsh English (WelE) belongs to the Inner Circle of Englishes as opposed to the nonnative Englishes of the Outer or Expanding Circles, but it is nevertheless a high-contact, or more
specifically, a shift variety (see Trudgill, forthcoming). Schneider (2007: 85) lists nonstandard
features of English which are particularly widespread in Asia and Africa, mentioning, e.g.
inverted word order in indirect questions, invariant non-concord tags, and the use of progressive
forms (PFs) with stative verbs. These features are also found in WelE.
This paper will focus on the nonstandard uses of the PF: expanded use with stative verbs (e.g.
they were looking like gates) and the PF as a marker of habitual aspect (e.g. every year we are
having two vacations). As shown by Kortmann and Szmrecsanyi (2004), stative use of the PF is
characteristic of L2 varieties of English and also found in many L1 varieties. As a (temporally
unrestricted) habitual marker, the PF is much less common: besides Celtic varieties of English, it
is only recorded in IndE, PakE, and IndSAfE (cf. Gachelin 1997; Kortmann et al. 2004 and
articles therein). Thus, the variety which the WelE usages will be compared against is Indian
English. The above features will be studied qualitatively and quantitatively in WelE corpora and
in ICE-India, and the usages will be discussed in light of factors contributing to the internal and
external ecologies in which they have developed, such as EngE usage, substratum influence,
cross-linguistic tendencies, and the language-contact histories of the investigated varieties.
Gachelin, J.-M. (1997) ‘The progressive and habitual aspects in non-standard Englishes’, in E.W. Schneider (ed.)
Englishes Around the World. Vol. 1, General Studies, British Isles, North America, Amsterdam and
Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 33–46.
Kortmann, B., Burridge, K., Mesthrie, R., Schneider, E. and Upton, C. (eds) (2004) A Handbook of Varieties of
English, Vol. 2: Morphology and Syntax, Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Kortmann, B. and Szmrecsanyi, B. (2004) ‘Global synopsis: morphological and syntactic variation in English’, in B.
Kortmann et al. (eds), 1142–202.
Schneider, E.W. (2007) Postcolonial English: Varieties around the World. Cambridge: CUP.
Trudgill, P. (forthcoming) ‘Vernacular universals and the sociolinguistic typology of English dialects’, in M.
Filppula, J. Klemola and H. Paulasto (eds) Vernacular Universals and Language Contacts: Evidence from
Varieties of English and Beyond. London/New York: Routledge.
Williams, C.H. (1990) ‘The Anglicisation of Wales’, in N. Coupland (ed., in association with A.R. Thomas) English
in Wales: Diversity, Conflict and Change, Clevedon: Multi-lingual Matters, 19-47.
John Payne
(University of Manchester)
The English Genitive and Suffixaufnahme
Thursday, 14:00 – 14:30, Room 1023
Examples (1a,b) in which a genitive case marker is layered outside an internal case, accusative in
(1a) or genitive in (1b), show that the English phrasal genitive should be treated as an instance of
Suffixaufnahme, or double case (Plank 1995):
the girl who likes me’s
a friend of mine’s
Furthermore, example (2a), in which there is speaker variation in the realization of the genitive
in association with plural nouns (Picard 1990), shows that the phrasal genitive is distinct from
the head genitive in (2b), where no such variation is possible:
the man who shot the ducks’ rifle
the ducks’ plumage
/dʌks/ or /dʌksɨz/
only /dʌks/
In this paper, we consider the English head and phrasal genitives within the typology of
Suffixaufnahme, and propose a commensurate theoretical apparatus.
Concretely, we argue against a phrasal affix solution such as that of Anderson (2005), and in
favour of a feature-passing solution, similar to that of Miller (1992). We distinguish however
between two types of feature realization: (i) internal realization, in which a feature licensed by a
mother is instantiated on all permissible daughters (typically, though not necessarily, including
heads); and (ii) external realization, in which a feature licensed by a mother is instantiated either
on a leftmost or rightmost daughter, and simultaneously on a head. In the case of external
realization, the feature is layered outside any features which are licensed by any lower mother, so
that me’s in (1a) is for example syntactically represented as [ACC.SG[GEN]], mine’s in (1b) as
[GEN.SG[GEN]], ducks’ in (2a) as [PLAIN.PL[GEN]], and ducks’ in (2b) simply as [GEN.PL].
The passing of external features to heads handles Zwicky’s (1987) puzzle, the unacceptability of
examples such as *the kings of England’s victories, and analogous phenomena in Old Georgian
(Boeder 1995).
Peter Petré
(University of Leuven)
Be it as it is: on the development of the present stems of the verb be
Wednesday, 14:30 – 15:00, Room 1016
As is well-known, the present-day present tense of be consists of (at least) two stems: the is-stem
provides the indicative, the be-stem the subjunctive, imperative and non-finite forms. By
contrast, in Old English (OE), both stems can take all finite forms, thus constituting formally two
separate verbs. Even so, Mitchell (1985) denies the existence of a clear semantic difference
between them.
Indeed, to a great extent, they are already in complementary distribution in OE, be being used as
a future (1), is as a present tense marker (2).
Ymb feawa niht bið hal.
“After a few days [he] will be healthy.”
‘La leof he is dead.’
“Look lord! He is dead.”
However, beon is also found in sentences without future meaning, for instance in general truths:
Hi beoð to þam swifte þæt ða men wenað þæt hi fleogende syn.
“They [= ants] are so fast that those men believe that they are flying.”
Starting from this observation, I argue that be and is were two semantically distinct verbs in OE
and (early) Middle English (ME), and that this distinction helps explain the nature of their
subsequent integration. Through a collocational analysis of extensive corpus material (from
YCOE, PPCME2, HC, YPC; see references) clear aspectual distinctions are revealed – contra
Mitchell (1985) –, for instance through different adverbial collocates of time (þonne ‘then’/sona
‘immediately’ with be; no adverb/nu ‘now’ with is). Moreover, I argue that be’s futurate use can
be related to its original meaning ‘grow (up) (naturally)’ (compare Dahl 2000), which persists to
some extent in OE. Finally, I argue that the association of be with the subjunctive and is with the
indicative is a consequence of their aspectual distinction, which during ME developed into a
modal distinction between irrealis and realis.
Dahl, Östen (2000) “Verbs of becoming as future copulas.” In Östen Dahl (ed.), Tense and Aspect in the Languages
of Europe. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 309-28.
Hopper, Paul J. (1991) “On some principles of grammaticalization.” In E.C. Traugott and B. Heine (eds.),
Approaches to Grammaticalization, Vol. 1. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 17–35.
Mitchell, Bruce (1985) Old English Syntax, vol. I: Concord, the Parts of Speech and the Sentence. Oxford:
Clarendon Press.
Corpora used
HC: Helsinki Corpus of English Texts: Diachronic Part (ICAME, version 2) (1999) Matti Rissanen et al. Helsinki:
Department of English.
PPCME2: Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English, 2nd edition. Anthony Kroch. Pennsylvania:
http://www.ling.upenn.edu/hist-corpora/ [06.07.2007].
YCOE: The York-Toronto-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Old English Prose (2003) Ann Taylor et al. York: Department
of Language and Linguistic Science.
YPC: York-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Old English Poetry. (2001) Susan Pintzuk and Leendert Plug. York:
Linguistics Department.
Lukas Pietsch
(University of Hamburg)
What’s the Northern Subject Rule doing in Southern Ireland?
Wednesday, 15:00 – 15:30, Room 1015
Non-standard subject-verb agreement, following the pattern of the so-called “Northern Subject
Rule” (they are singing, but: the birds is singing), has been widely attested for Irish dialects of
English. However, there have been different views both as to the extent of its occurrence and its
origin in different regional forms of Irish English, especially those in the south. Whereas
Montgomery (1997) favors a view according to which it diffused to the south from northern and
ultimately Scottish sources, McCafferty (2004) places more weight on direct parallel inheritance
from several settler dialect sources, including north-west England. In addition, Corrigan (1997)
has suggested that an element of structural reinforcement through language contact with Irish
plays a role in its establishment.
The present contribution aims towards a new empirical approach to the questions raised by these
different hypotheses. The historical genesis of a non-standard grammatical phenomenon like this
can best be addressed if, in addition to its internal conditioning factors and its geographical
distribution, a systematic investigation is also made of its co-occurrence with other grammatical
variables. A newly compiled 500,000-word corpus of historical Irish English texts from the 18th
and 19th centuries offers the possibility to study paths of transmission and innovation of
grammatical features in their context, with a degree of systematicity not easily reached with the
empirical material available previously. This corpus provides new insights into the historical
affinities that the NSR and its various sub-patterns show to the different linguistic sources that
make up the Irish scene of language contact and dialect contact.
Corrigan, Karen (1997) The syntax of South Armagh English in its socio-historical perspective. Unpublished PhD
dissertation, Dublin, University College.
McCafferty, Kevin (2004) ‘[T]hunder storms is verry dangese in this countrey they come in less than a minnits
notice...’: The Northern Subject Rule in Southern Irish English. English World-Wide 25: 51–79.
Montgomery, Michael (1997) Making transatlantic connections between varieties of English: The case of plural
verbal -s. Journal of English Linguistics 25: 122–141.
Carlos Prado-Alonso
(University of Santiago de Compostela)
The Iconic Function of Verb Phrase Full Inversion in English
Saturday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1023
Over the past few decades, full inversion —constructions in which the subject follows the entire
verb phrase in a declarative clause, as in “On the near corner was Herb’s Gas Station” or
“Upstairs was a bedroom and a bathroom”— has been the subject of extensive research (cf.
Bresnan and Kanerva 1992; Bresnan 1994; Birner 1996; Dorgeloh 1997; Chen 2003; Kreyer
2006), the focus of each individual study varying according to the nature and goals of the
specific theoretical framework adopted.
On the basis of the kind of phrasal category occurring as clause-initial constituent, five different
types of full inversion have been traditionally distinguished in the literature on the topic: noun
phrase, adverb phrase, verb phrase, adjective phrase, and prepositional phrase full inversion.
Broadly speaking analyses of full inversion carried within the generative (cf. Bresnan and
Kanerva 1992; Bresnan 1994) and functional paradigms (cf. Birner 1996; Dorgeloh 1997; Chen
2003; Kreyer 2004) have focused mainly on inversions following a locative constituent, which
subsumes “spatial locations, path, and directions, and their extension to some temporal and
abstract locative domains” (Bresnan 1994: 75). In this sense, they neglect the analysis of those
full inversion types, namely noun phrase, adjective phrase, and verb phrase full inversion, which
do not contain such clause-initial constituents. In order to bridge this gap, the present paper
offers a corpus-based analysis of verb phrase inversion in Present-day English written texts
taken from the FLOB and the FROWN corpora (cf. Hofland et al. 1999). It is usually claimed
that the fronted constituent in inverted constructions is discourse old information and thus serves
to integrate the new information represented by the postverbal constituent into the already
existing discourse (cf. Birner 1996: 147). Beyond this, however, the analysis of the data retrieved
from FLOB and FROWN will show that verb phrase inversion can also be considered a marker
of spatial experiential iconicity through which the process of physical perception is reflected in
the syntax. In sum, the paper contends that verb phrase full inversion is not merely an
information packaging device (old-new) in English but can also be exploited for spatial iconic
Birner, Betty . J. 1996. The Discourse Function of Inversion in English. New York: Garland.
Bresnan, Joan. 1994. “Locative Inversion and the Architecture of Universal Grammar”. Language 70, 72-131.
Bresnan, Joan and Kanerva, Joni M. 1992. “The Thematic Hierarchy and Locative Inversion in UG: A Reply to
Schachter’s Comments” In: Tim Stowell and Eric Wehrli (eds), Syntax and Semantics. Vol. 26: Syntax and
the Lexicon. New York: Academic Press, 111-125.
Chen, Rong. 2003. English Inversion: A Ground-Before-Figure Construction. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Dorgeloh, Heidrun. 1997. Inversion in Modern English: Form and Function. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Hofland, Knut, Anne Lindebjerg and Jørg Thunestvedt. 1999. ICAME Collection of English Language Corpora. 2nd
edition, CD-ROM version. Bergen: The HIT Centre.
Kreyer, Rolf. 2006. Inversion in Modern Written English: Syntactic Complexity, Information Status and the
Creative Writer. Tübingen: Gunter Narr.
Geoffrey K. Pullum
(University of Edinburgh)
Prescriptive grammar in America: the land of the free and The Elements of Style
Thursday, 12:00 – 12:30, Room 1015
In 1919 an undergraduate named E. B. White took a writing course with Professor William
Strunk at Cornell University. One required text was a little book called “The Elements of Style”,
published privately by Professor Strunk in Ithaca NY some time before the First World War. In
1957 White was asked to revise and expand the book for republication. The new version sold
millions. Today every college-educated American seems to revere it. An expensively but
pointlessly illustrated fifth edition, published couple of years ago, also sold well.
Yet it is almost unknown in Europe. This is perhaps just as well: though the book’s vapid style
advice (largely from White) is mostly harmless, its grammar ukases (especially those elaborated
by White) are a toxic mix of atavism, purism, sexism, and prejudice. Some reads like parody. Its
advice does not match up with what is actually found in good writing, including Strunk’s and
White’s. Its huge influence has fuelled some of the worst perversions of American grammar
teaching: teachers who ban all optional words, writing tutors who forbid passive clauses, and so on.
Educated Americans, though they regard British English as the high-prestige variety, tend to
tremble before prescriptive rules that the best British writers either ignore or never even heard of.
Strunk and White’s book reinforces this tendency in identifiable ways. It has helped to trivialize
the teaching of English grammar in American schools and colleges, reducing it to a short list of
prohibitory edicts concerning superficially and inaccurately defined grammatical sins.
This paper relates Strunk and White’s book to some of its earlier ancestors, substantiates the
charges against it, and surveys some of the damage it has done to American grammar education,
writing style, and mental health.
Heidi Quinn
(University of Canterbury, NZ)
A feature-based account of pronoun case variation in English
Thursday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1023
Adger (2006) argues that morphosyntactic variability within the speech of an individual can be
captured in an approach where competing variants have uninterpretable features that may be
checked in the same syntactic context. The results of a written survey of 90 native speakers of
English suggest that the distribution of pronoun case forms in coordinates (1)-(3) and other
strong pronoun contexts (4)-(5) exhibits exactly the kind of non-deterministic variability Adger’s
approach was designed to capture.
[He/him and I/me] arrived here three hours ago.
Brenda had promised she would meet [he/him and I/me] at the station.
The landscapes painted by [he/him and I/me] drew huge crowds at the exhibition.
[We/us New Zealanders] must stick together.
It was [he/him] who insisted on going to the rally.
In this paper, I outline a feature-based analysis that accounts for the most commonly attested
pronoun case patterns and provides supporting evidence for Sigurðsson’s (in press) claim that
‘uninterpretable’ features actually serve to interpret abstract syntactic and semantic relations at
the PF(=Phonetic Form)-interface. I follow Cardinaletti (1994) in assuming that that all strong
pronouns have the interpretable lexical category feature [N], which sets them apart from weak
pronouns, and I propose that case variation arises from competition between sets of lexical items
characterized by the uninterpretable counterparts of the following features:
The feature [higher[-N]:±], which serves to distinguish the highest structural arguments of [N] predicates (i.e. V and P) from their lower arguments (cf. Wunderlich 1997).
The edge feature [EDGE:±], which distinguishes the initial element of a complex constituent
from more deeply embedded non-initial elements (cf. Chomsky 2000, Brittain 2003).
Adger, David (2006) Combinatorial variability. Journal of Linguistics 42. 503-530.
Brittain, Julie (2003) A Distributed Morphology account of the syntax of the Algonquian verb. Proceedings of the
2003 annual conference of the Canadian Linguistic Association, ed. by Sophie Burelle and Stanca
Somesfalean, 25-39. Montréal: Université du Québec.
Cardinaletti, Anna (1994) On the internal structure of pronominal DPs. The Linguistic Review 11. 195-219.
Chomsky, Noam (2000) Minimalist inquiries: the framework. Step by step: essays on minimalist syntax in honor of
Howard Lasnik, ed. by Roger Martin, David Michaels, and Juan Uriagereka, 89-155. Cambridge, MA: MIT
Sigurðsson, Halldòr Ármann In press) Remarks on features. Phases at the interface, ed. by Kleanthes K. Grohmann.
Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Wunderlich, Dieter (1997) Cause and the structure of verbs. Linguistic Inquiry 28. 27-68.
Elisabeth Reber
(University of Potsdam)
Spoken language signs: the case of the sound object ooh
Friday, 12:00 – 12:30, Room 1019
English grammars have a hard time finding a place for interjections in the linguistic system:
They stand outside the syntactic structure of sentences (e.g. Carter and McCarthy 2006:113,493,
Huddleston and Pullum 2002:22,1361, Quirk et al. 1985:67,853) and their phonology can be
irregular and nonsystematic, e.g. in tut-tut, a series of clicks (Quirk et al. 1985:853, cf. also Biber
et al. 1999:1082).
My paper will argue that if interjections are examined as linguistic signs in spoken English, that
is as sound objects, in their primordial habitat talk-in-interaction, they can be found to be used in
formally and functionally systematic, context-sensitive ways. Based on a larger study from an
interactional-linguistic perspective, my paper shows that the sound object ooh can occur in
response to affect-laden informings (Heritage 1984) containing unqualified assessments or socalled “overdetailed” statements in conversation. By signalling heightened affective
involvement, ooh acknowledges and orients to the prior informing and manages sequence
organisation (i.e. structural moves) and interactional relevancies (i.e. affiliation).
Biber, Douglas, Stig Johansson, Geoffrey Leech, Susan Conrad and Edward Finegan (1999), Longman Grammar of
Spoken and Written English, Harlow: Longman.
Carter, Ronald and Michael McCarthy (2006), Cambridge Grammar of English. A comprehensive guide. Spoken
and written English. Grammar and usage, Cambridge et al.: CUP.
Heritage, John (1984), “A change-of-state-token and aspects of its sequential placement”, In: J.M. Atkinson and
John Heritage (eds), Structures in Social Action, Cambridge: CUP, 299-345.
Huddleston, Rodney and Geoffrey K. Pullum (2002), The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language,
Cambridge et al.: CUP.
Pomerantz, Anita (1986), “Extreme case formulations: a way of legitimizing claims”, Human Studies 9: 219-229.
Quirk, Randolph, Sydney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech and Jan Svartvik (1985), A Comprehensive Grammar of the
English Language, London, New York: Longman.
Antoinette Renouf and Jay Bannerjee
(University of Birmingham)
Repulsion: an organising principle underlying the structure of English text
Friday, 10:30 – 11:00, Room 1016
The phenomenon of collocation, by which is meant the significant and habitual co-occurrence of
each word with particular other words in text, is fundamental to corpus-linguistic study. In this
paper, we introduce and explore the hypothesis that there exists a corresponding phenomenon to
that known lexical attraction which we term ‘repulsion’. We focus on lexical repulsion, within a
large corpus of UK quality journalism. Our research is in its second year, so we shall be able to
draw on a series of investigations which have been taking place, with regard to many textual
variables which might affect the nature of repulsion, including span, directionality, sentence
position, style and genre, as well as to lexical issues of inflectional variation, grammatical word
class, semantics and reference. We also deal with the crucial role of appropriate quantitative
measurement in the identification of the phenomenon. By 2008, we shall have more to say both
about contiguity and discontinuity in lexical repulsion, and its relationship with textual domain.
John R. Rickford
(Stanford University)
Relativizer omission in vernacular and Creole varieties of English in the US and the
Caribbean, and its theoretical implications
Plenary V, Friday, 18:15 – 19:15, Room 1010
One of the newest variables to be considered in the long-standing debate about the English vs.
Creole origins of African American Vernacular English [AAVE] is the omission of the relative
pronoun or relativizer (that or WH-forms like what, who, or which] in restrictive relative clauses,
as in: (1) “That’s the man Ø (who/that/what) I saw.” On the basis of a quantitative analysis of
relativizer omission in “Early African American English” [EAAE], a collective designation for
Samaná English, African Nova Scotian English, and Ex-Slave Narrative data from the US, Tottie
and Harvie (2000) conclude (p. 225) that EAAE is derived from English stock, since relativizer
omission in these varieties appears to show the same constraint patterning found in white US and
British dialects. Moreover, although they have no quantitative data on relativization in creoles,
the authors claim that the possibility that the EAAE relativizer system parallels or derives from
creoles is slim.
In this paper, I will attempt to fill the missing gap in this argumentation by presenting a
quantitative analysis of relativizer omission in Appalachian English, African American
Vernacular English, Jamaican, Guyanese and Bajan, taking into account the central constraints
considered by Tottie and Harvey and others who have worked on this variable (e.g. Guy and
Bayley 1995, Lehmann 2001). These include the grammatical category, adjacency and
humanness of the antecedent NP, and the category membership of the subject of the relative
clause. The analysis is not yet complete, but so far the Anglophone creole and vernacular
varieties display some of the same constraint effects on relativizer omission that EAAE and other
English varieties do—for instance existential constructions and definite antecedent NPs
(especially of the superlative type—di oglies maan), favor relativizer omission in all these
varieties. What this suggests is not just that creole ancestry might have played a role in the
development of EAAE and AAVE, but that the constraints on this variable might be so general
or universal that it might be useless as a diagnostic of creole vs. English ancestry. Indeed, in
several respects, the Caribbean creole and vernacular data appear to bear out the more general
language processing hypothesis adumbrated by Wasow et al (forthcoming): wherever the
occurrence of a relative clause is most predictable, relativizer omission is most predictable. This
may be bad news for attempts to close off the long-standing debate about AAVE’s creole
origins, but it opens new vistas for studying and understanding variability in the vernacular and
creole English varieties of the Caribbean and the USA.
Guy, Gregory, and Robert Bayley (1995) On the choice of relative pronouns in English.” American Speech
Wasow, Thomas, T. Florian Jaeger and David M. Orr (Forthcoming) Lexical variation in relativizer frequency.
Lehmann, H.M. (2001) “Zero subject relative constructions in American and British English.” Language and
Computers 36.1:163-77.
Tottie, Gunnel, and Dawn Harvie (2000) “It’s All Relative: Relativization Strategies in Early African American
English.”In: Shana Poplack (ed.) The English History of African American English. Oxford: Blackwell, 198230.
Matti Rissanen
(University of Helsinki)
Grammaticalisation, contact and adverbial connectives: the rise and decline of save
Friday, 10:30 – 11:00, Room 1015
The purpose of my paper is to discuss some aspects of the development of English adverbial
connectives, with reference to some more general questions related to grammaticalisation.
In Old English, the most typical way of forming new subordinators was by combining a
preposition with the oblique form of the demonstrative pronoun se, seo, þæt, often followed by
the subordination marker þe, as in for þam (þe) ‘because’. The only item formed with a noun was
þa hwile þe (cf. Traugott 1982; Kortmann 1997; Rissanen 2007). In Middle English, a large
number of new prepositions and adverbial subordinators emerged, mainly based on borrowed
(Latin and/or French) nouns, verbs or adjectives. In many cases corresponding grammaticalised
connective uses can be found in the source language. The role played by these uses in the
grammaticalisation of the Middle English forms is of considerable interest.
Another interesting question is whether some of the grammaticalised connectives were
particularly favoured in certain genres of writing, e.g., statutes and documents, and if so, whether
this affected their establishment in the developing Standard.
The development of save ‘except’ is discussed in more detail. The origin of this
preposition/subordinator is uncertain; it may either go back to the French adjective sauf, also
used as a connective, or to the verb saven; the form saving also occurs as a connective in late
Middle English.
In the later development of save, up to Present-Day English, the most interesting question is the
decreasing popularity of this connective, in comparison to except. Attention is called to layering:
the non-connective uses of save have remained more frequent than the connective uses
throughout the history of English.
Kortmann, Bernd (1997) Adverbial subordination: A typology and history of adverbial subordinators based on
European Languages. Mouton de Gruyter: Berlin/New York.
Rissanen, Matti (2007) The development of adverbial subordinators in early English. In Matti Rissanen, Marianna
Hintikka, Leena Kahlas-Tarkka and Rod McConchie, eds., Change in meaning and the meaning of change:
Studies in semantics and grammar from Old to Present-Day English. Helsinki: Société Néophilologique.
Traugott, Elizabeth Closs (1982) From propositional to textual and expressive meanings: some semantic-pragmatic
aspects of grammaticalization. In Winfred P. Lehmann and Yakov Malkiel, eds., Perspectives on historical
linguistics. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 245-271.
Nikolaus Ritt
(University of Vienna)
A holistic approach to the evolution of English
Wednesday, 17:00 – 17:30, Room 1016
The paper generalizes over changes which have affected English vowels as opposed to English
consonants during the last 1000 years. While English has witnessed a steady reduction of its
inventory of consonants and consonant clusters (cf. Lutz 1991), consonantal strengthenings have
been rare. In contrast, vowels have been strengthened quite frequently. Also, vocalizations of
consonants have been more frequent than the opposite. The paper discusses if such
generalizations represent merely descriptive post-hoc observations or if they emerge from
specific causalities underlying the development of English as a historical system. It is
highlighted that such general trends are difficult to account for on the basis of approaches that
see linguistic variation as being driven by external factors such as cognitively or physiologically
based preferences on the one hand, or by social practices such as co-opting linguistic variants for
establishing group identity on the other (cf. Labov 1994 and 2001). Following naturalists like
Dressler (e.g. 1985, 1988, 1989) or Wurzel (e.g. 1987, 1989), it is argued that the systematic and
seemingly goal-directed re-distribution of phonological variables in the history of English is
easier to explain in terms of ‘system adequacy’. Enriching the naturalist approach with insights
from evolutionary biology (see e.g. Lass 1997, or Ritt 2004), ‘type adequacy’ and ‘system
adequacy’ are shown to reflect that some combinations of linguistic variables transmit more
easily together than others, so that language are under a pressure to co-adapt to one another. It is
shown how co-adaptation accounts for the fates of consonants and vowels in the history of
English and that it makes good sense, after all, to conceive of whole languages as systems with
(macro-)histories in their own right, even though such a view appears hopelessly essentialist in
light of the linguistic variability observable in actual speech communities.
Dressler, Wolfgang U. (1985) Morphonology. The dynamics of derivation. An Arbor: Karoma.
Dressler, Wolfgang U. 1988. Naturalness in Word Formation. In: Dressler, Wolfgang U., Mayerthaler Willi, Panagl
Oswald, and Wolfgang Ullrich Wurzel (eds.) Leitmotifs in Natural Morphology. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Dressler, Wolfgang U. (1989) Zur Bedeutung der Sprachtypologie in der Natürlichen Morphologie. in: Lüdtke, E.
(ed.) Energeia und Ergon III. Tübingen: Narr. 199-208.
Labov, William (1994) Principles of Linguistic Change. Vol. 1: Internal Factors. Oxford: Blackwell.
Labov, William (2001) Principles of Linguistic Change. Vol. 2: Social Factors. Oxford: Blackwell.
Lass, Roger (1997) Historical linguistics and language change. Cambridge: University Press.
Lutz, Angelika (1991) Phonotaktisch gesteuerte Konsonantenveränderungen in der Geschichte des Englischen.
Tübingen: Niemeyer.
Ritt, Nikolaus (2004) Selfish sounds and linguistic evolution. Cambridge: University Press.
Wurzel, Wolfgang U. (1988) System-dependent morphological naturalness in inflection. In: Dressler, Wolfgang U.,
Mayerthaler Willi, Panagl Oswald, and Wolfgang Ullrich Wurzel (eds.) Leitmotifs in Natural Morphology.
Amsterdam: Benjamins. 59-98.
Wurzel, Wolfgang U. (1989) Inflectional morphology and naturalness. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Günter Rohdenburg
(University of Paderborn)
Simple and complex object constructions in English and German
Thursday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1019
In his Comparative Typology of English and German, Hawkins shows that several major
grammatical categories of English have become more extensive and abstract than corresponding
German ones. The most striking differences concern the subject category, which has been
explored in some depth. To date, there are no equally detailed investigations comparing the
range of possible object constructions in the two languages. Even so, and in common with many
linguists, Hawkins assumes that English and German object constructions display perfectly
similar contrasts.
On closer analysis, however, we find that – depending on the kind of object construction
involved – English has diverged from German in two diametrically opposed ways. In the area of
simple object constructions featuring just one nominal complement (referred to as the direct
object), English has indeed undergone a similar expansion to that of the subject category. This
gives us differences such as the following:
She clicked her tongue.
Sie schnalzte mit der Zunge.
He threatened the Central Committee.
Er drohte (mit) dem Zentralkomitee.
The doctor advised an operation.
Der Arzt riet zu einer Operation.
By contrast, several types of constructions realizing a variety of (post-verbal) argument
complexes have been either phased out or drastically restricted. Some resulting contrasts include
those illustrated in (4) – (7).
Sie antwortete (ihrer Mutter), daß sie nächsten Sonntag zurück kommen würde.
She answered (*her mother) that she would come back next Sunday.
Sie schossen ihm (eine Kugel) in den Rücken.
They shot him (*a bullet) in the back.
Er befahl (uns) die Zerstörung der Brücke.
He commanded (*us) the destruction of the bridge.
John dankte Bill (dafür), daß er kommen wollte/würde.
*John thanked Bill that he was coming. (Kilby 1984: 168)
An attempt will be made to give a comprehensive survey of the two areas in question. In
addition, explanations will be sought motivating the fact that simple and complex object
constructions in English have evolved in opposite directions.
Hawkins, John A. (1986) A Comparative Typology of English and German: Unifying the Contrasts.
London/Sydney: Croom Helm.
König, Ekkehard/Gast, Volker (2007) Understanding English-German Contrasts. Berlin: Schmidt.
Rohdenburg, Günter (1974) Sekundäre Subjektivierungen im Englischen und Deutschen. Vergleichende
Untersuchungen zur Verb- und Adjektivsyntax. Bielefeld: Cornelsen-Velhagen and Klasing.
Rohdenburg, Günter (1998) Subordinate clauses introduced by interpretative verbs in English and their less explicit
counterparts in German. In: Börner, Wolfgang/ Vogel, Klaus (eds.) Kontrast und Äquivalenz. Beiträge zu
Sprachvergleich und Übersetzung, 233–249. Tübingen: Narr.
Patricia Ronan
(University of Uppsala)
Irish English habitual do be revisited
Thursday, 14:30 – 15.00, Room 1016
It is well known that Irish English, like some traditional British English dialects, uses specific
forms to denote habitual action in the present. In the north of the country the marker in question
tends to be inflected be, whereas do + be is used in southern dialects (compare Filppula 1999
and Fiess 2003). While habitual marking by do has extended from the British Isles to various
parts of the English-speaking world, habitual be is rarer (cf. Kortmann 2004). In addition to
Ireland, it is used in Newfoundland (cf. Clark 2004) as well as in varieties of African American
Vernacular English, South Eastern American Vernaculars, Gullah, Chicago English and
Bahamian English (cf. e.g. Kortmann et al. (ed.) 2004).
Recently, Hickey (2006) has asserted that the mechanisms at work in the genesis of this
phenomenon in Irish English are still ill-understood, and he also points to the lack of the
phenomenon in Scottish varieties of English.
This paper proposes to re-examine evidence from the dialects of the ‘Inner Colonies’ in question
from a language contact point of view. The guiding research question is whether differences in
the Gaelic and British contact languages may play a role in the further development of their
contact varieties.
In line with studies in contact linguistics (e.g. Heine and Kuteva 2005) it will be argued that
there is less pressure to introduce or retain this feature in Scottish English than there is in Irish
English. It is well known that in language contact situations, aspect systems of the receiving
language often get restructured. As Scots Gaelic aspect has a less clearly defined habitual present
system than Irish, and in this respect resembles Welsh, there may have been less pressure to
introduce habitual present aspect into Scottish English.
This observation provides a further illustration of the influence of the Celtic languages in the
genesis of the habitual aspect system in Celtic contact varieties of English.
Clark, S. (2004) ‘Newfoundland English: morphology and syntax’. A Handbook of Varieties of English. Kortmann,
B. et al. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 303-318.
Fiess, A. (2003) ‘Do Be or Not Do Be. Generic and Habitual Forms in East Galway English’. Celtic Englishes III,
ed. H.L.C. Tristram. Heidelberg: Winter. 169-182.
Filppula, M. (1999) A Grammar of Irish English. London: Routledge.
Heine, B. and Kuteva, T. (2005) Language Contact and Grammatical Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Hickey, R. (2006) ‘Contact, Shift and Language Change. Irish English and South African English’. Celtic Englishes
IV, ed. H.L.C. Tristram. Postdam: Universitätsverlag Potsdam. 234- 258.
Kortmann, B. (2004) ‘Do as a tense and aspect marker in varieties of English’. Dialectology meets Typology, ed.
Kortmann, B. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 244-276.
Kortmann, B. et al., eds. (2004) A Handbook of Varieties of English. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Christina Sánchez
(University of Augsburg)
Testing dissociation or: are English words less integrated into families than German
Thursday, 14:00 – 14:30, Room 1019
Since the middle of the twentieth century it has been widely believed that English words are less
integrated into word families than German words. Leisi (1955) attributed this so-called
dissociation to the large proportion of Romance lexical items that have entered the originally
Germanic English language in the course of its history. Even though these hypotheses are
commonly taught in English linguistics at German universities, they have not yet been tested
My contribution will present a study that subjected the 2,500 most frequent lemmas from the
British National Corpus and the German DWDS Core Corpus to various analyses. For instance,
the lexical items were decomposed into both formally and semantically related constituents on
the basis of the assumed synchronic etymological competence of a normal language user (cf.
Augst 1998). In addition, morpho-semantically related complex words containing the English
and German list items were sought for in electronic dictionaries and corpora of varying sizes.
Moreover, features such as etymological origin, frequency and part of speech of the vocabulary
items were encoded and combined with the data for dissociation.
The model adopted in this study distinguishes semantic obstacles, incomplete analysability,
potential motivation by zero-derivation and differences in spelling and pronunciation between
complex words and constituents, among other things. The very flexible coding system allows for
a highly differentiated answer to the question whether the English vocabulary is dissociated or
not – with surprising results.
Augst, Gerhard (1998) Wortfamilienwörterbuch der deutschen Gegenwartssprache. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
Leisi, Ernst (1955) Das heutige Englisch: Wesenszüge und Probleme. Heidelberg: Winter.
Andrea Sand and Daniela Kolbe
(University of Trier)
Embedded inversion world-wide
Wednesday, 17:00 – 17:30, Room 1015
The inversion of subject and verb in subordinate interrogative clauses as in (1) I asked what was
it for (ICE-EA, crossx-k) is a frequently reported feature of non-standard syntax. In the
Handbook of varieties of English, it occurs in the description of thirteen varieties from four
continental regions, e.g., in Irish English (Filppula 2004: 93-95), colloquial American English
(Murray/Simon 2004: 224), East African English (Schmied 2004: 936) and Indian English (Bhatt
2004: 1020).
Various sources of this inversion in the embedded clause (hence, embedded inversion) have been
proposed – among them verb-second word order in Old English (Visser 1966: 780, McCloskey
2006). Embedded inversion is also seen as a disability of constructing “grammatically correct”
indirect questions (McDavid/Card 1972: 105; Miller/Weinert 1998: 83), though note that very
often features of indirect speech like backshift of tense in the embedded clause, as was in the
example above, and pronoun shift occur together with inverted verb and subject.
Embedded inversion is often also traced back to substratal influence from Gaelic languages in
which the word order in direct and indirect questions is identical, as it is more frequent in Celtic
varieties of British Englishes (e.g., Filppula 2000). Kolbe (2001) discusses how the accounts of
embedded inversion as both a general vernacular and as a Celtic English feature can help to
explain the distribution of this syntactic feature. However, Sand (2005) found evidence of
embedded inversion in a number of New Englishes without any influence from the respective
substrate languages.
Based on corpus data, we will explore the origin of embedded inversion and its world-wide
spread, from the British Isles to the Americas, Africa and Asia, to arrive at a more complete
picture of its distribution and functions.
Bhatt, Rakesh (2004) Indian English: syntax. In Kortmann et al. (eds.), 1016-1030.
Erdmann, Peter (1979) Inversion im heutigen Englisch. Heidelberg: Carl Winter.
Filppula, Markku (2000) Inversion in embedded questions in some regional varieties of English. In BermúdezOtero, R. et al. (eds.) Generative theory and corpus studies: A dialogue from 10 ICEHL. Berlin: Mouto de
Gruyter, 439-453.
Filppula, Markku (2004) Irish English: Morphology and syntax. In Kortmann, B. et al. (eds.), 73-101.
Kolbe, Daniela (2001) Embedded inversion in the North of the British Isles. Master’s thesis, University of Freiburg.
Kortmann, Bernd, Kate Burridge, Rajend Mesthrie, Edgar W. Schneider and Clive Upton (eds.) (2004) A handbook
of varieties of English. Vol. 2: Morphology and syntax. Berlin/NewYork: Mouton de Gruyter.
McDavid, Virginia Glenn and William Card (1972) Problem areas in grammar. In Davis, A. L. (ed.) Culture, class
and language variety: A resource book for teachers. Chicago, Center for American English, Illinois Institute
of Technology, 89-132.
Miller, Jim and Regina Weinert (1998) Spontaneous spoken language: Syntax and discourse. Oxford: Clarendon.
Murray, Thomas E. and Beth Lee Simon (2004) Colloquial American English: Grammatical features. In Kortmann
et al. (eds.), 221-244.
Sand, Andrea (2005) Angloversals? Shared Morpho-Syntactic Features in Contact Varieties of English.
Habilitationsschrift, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg.
Schmied, Josef (2004) East African English (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania): Morphology and syntax. In Kortmann et al.
(eds.), 929-947.
Visser, Fredericus Th. (1966) An historical syntax of the English language. Part two: Syntactical units with one
verb. Leiden: Brill.
Priyankoo Sarmah, Divya Verma Gogoi and Caroline Wiltshire
(University of Gainesville)
Thai English: rhythm and vowels
Friday, 14:00 – 14:30, Room 1023
Although some Englishes in Asia have received extensive attention, the phonetics of Thai
English remain relatively unexamined. We explore here two aspects of this emerging English,
rhythm and the vowel system, and compare each to both the substrate language and to the
characteristics of Englishes in the area. Data was collected from a homogenous group (age, years
of English education) of ten Thai speakers who read English words, sentences and a paragraph,
and participated in an interview.
While the dichotomy between stress-timed vs. syllable-timed rhythm (Pike 1945; Abercrombie
1967) has been reanalyzed as a continuum (Dauer 1983; Roach 1982, 1998), L2 English varieties
are often claimed to approximate the syllable-timed extreme, either due to transfer or to syllabletiming being unmarked. Although documented for some cases (e.g. Low et al. 2000 and
Deterding 2001: Singapore English), much work seems impressionistic. The ‘Pairwise
Variability Index” (nPVI, Grabe and Low 2002) and the proportion of time in an utterance
devoted to vowels (%V, Ramus et al. 1999) are being calculated for Thai English. The results
will be compared to (1) British English (very stress-timed) and Singapore English (very syllabletimed); (2) previous measures for Thai. Thai L2 English may help distinguish between transfer
and markedness, since Grabe annd Low (2002) report that Thai’s rhythmic characteristics are
mixed, with high nPVI (like stress-timing) and high %V (like syllable-timing). If transfer from
the substrate is dominant, we expect Thai English to be mixed, while if unmarkedness
determines L2 rhythm, we expect both measures to resemble other L2 Englishes (low nPVI, high
By looking at vowels, we also explore questions of transfer from the substrate vs. markedness/
typology. In terms of quality, Thai has a simpler vowel system than English, lacking e.g. [I] and
[U], and uses length for contrast. We are measuring the first two formants of the monophthongs
and plotting them to compare inventories; the durations of vowels that are similar in quality are
also being measured to determine if length was used contrastively. The resulting system will be
compared with Thai and with new Englishes in the area with different substrates, such as Hong
Kong English (Hung 2000) and Tibeto-Burman-based Indian Englishes (Wiltshire 2005), to
evaluate the role of direct transfer from the substrate vs. features shared throughout new
Ursula Schaefer
(University of Dresden)
General Introduction
Friday, 10:30 – 11:00, Room 1021
Among the numerous statements Wilhelm von Humboldt made about the relation between
language and nation he states in his late piece on the “Verschiedenheit des menschlichen
Sprachbaues ...” (‘Diversity of human language structure ...’) that “der Begriff einer Nation muss
vorzugsweise auf [die Sprache] begründet warden” (‘the concept of a nation must be based
chiefly upon [language]’; Humboldt 1830-35/1963: 561), and a few lines down he confirms that
“der Begriff der Nation als der eines auf bestimmte Weise sprachbildenen Menschenhaufens
gegeben [ist]” (‘that the concept of nation is that of a pile of human beings shaping language in a
specific way’; loc.cit.). Although the discourse on the correlation between ‘language and nation’
is by no means the invention of the 19th century (cf. Coulmas 1988; Münkler 1997; Mayer and
Münkler 1997), it certainly reached its culmination point in that century. Hence reference books
on the history of linguistics also tell us that ‘modern linguistics’ has its roots in early 19thcentury romanticism which, in its turn, also informed the national movements of the era.
However, as Joep Leerssen has recently shown (again), the link between language and nation
and hence also linguistics and nation should be more precisely seen in terms of “languagy and
ethnicity” (Leerssen 2007: 204-209).
About half a century after the peak of the 19th-century discourse on ‘language and nation /
ethnicity’ had been reached, Saussure reflected the ongoing diversification of the ‘(social)
sciences’ in making the distinction between ‘linguistics proper’ – and hence the concern of the
Cours – and, e.g., ethnography. For Saussure it is the latter discipline that should preoccupy
itself with the obversation that “c’est dans une large mesure la langue qui fait la nation” (transl.
Harris: “it is in great part the language which makes the nation”; Saussure 1915/1971: 40; Saussure 1983: 21). Within this scientific share of labor, linguistics could be “conceived to be”,
among other things “independent of political issues of authority, power and ideology” (Taylor
1990: 10). Does this mean that the linguists should be oblivious to such issues? As recent
discussions in the field have shown, such positivistic oblivion would be irresponsible.
Hence we must be on the alert vis-à-vis to, e.g., statements about the history of English such as
John H. Fisher’s, when he claims that “Henry V’s use of English marks the turningpoint in
establishing English as the national language of England” (Fisher 1992/1996: 22). On the other
hand insinuations such as the Grimms preparing the grounds for the Nazis (cf. Frantzen 1990:
69-71) are of very little help when tracing covert (or overt) linguistic nationalism. Constructing
such unidirectional meta-récits is as illigitimate as declaring Henry V – or, for that matter,
Geoffrey Chaucer – the founding father of (Modern) English (cf. Schaefer in print). Moreover,
linguists are called upon when they see that linguistic assertions in the name of ‘national interest’
cover some hidden social agenda. All in all we need to check our analytic arsenal when we
diagnose overt as well as covert correlations between ‘language and nation / ethnicity / cultural
identity’, always keeping in mind the very historicity of our discipline.
The workshop shall address these problems by discussing the covert or overt discourse of
linguistic nationalism both in primary discourse, in linguistic metadiscourse and in negotiations
which may potentially cater to such discourse.
Coulmas, Florian (1988) “What is a National Language Good for?” In: F. Coulmas (ed.), The Forked Tongues:
What Are National Languages Good For? Singapore: Karoma Publishers 1988, 1-24.
Fisher, John H. (1992/1996) “A Language Policy for Lancastrian English”. J. H. Fisher, The Emergence of Standard
English. Lexington, KT: University of Kentucky Press 1996, 16-35 [first published in PMLA 107 (1992):
Frantzen, Allen J. (1990) Desire for Origins. New Language, Old English, and Teaching the Tradition. New
Brunswick / London: Rutgers UP 1990.
Humboldt, Wilhelm von (1830-35/1968) “Ueber die Verscheidenheit des menschlichen Sprachbaues und ihren
Einfluss auf die geistige Entwicklung des Menschengeschlechts [1830-1835]”. W. von Humboldt, Werke in
fünf Bänden. Ed. A. Flitner and K. Giehl. Vol. III: Schriften zur Sprachphilosophie. Darmstatdt:
Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft 1963, 368-756.
Leerssen, Joep (2007) National Thought in Europe: A Cultural History. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press
Mayer, Kathrin and Herfried Münkler (1997) “Die Erfindung der italienischen Nation in den Schriften der
Humanisten”. Nationenbildung. Die Nationalisierung Europas im Diskurs humanistischer Intellektueller.
Italien und Deutschland. Ed. H. Münkler, H. Grünberger and K. Mayer. Berlin: Akademie Verlag 1997,
Münkler, Herfried (1997) “Sprache als konstitutives Element nationaler Identität im Europa des späten Mittelalters.”
Was heißt hier “fremd”? Studien zu Sprache und Fremdheit. Ed. D. Naguschewski and J. Trabant. Berlin
1997, 115-135.
Saussure, Ferdinand de (1915/1971) Cours de linguistique général. Ed. Ch. Bally and A. Sechehaye. 3rd ed. Paris:
Payot 1971 [first ed. 1915].
Saussure, Ferdinand de (1983) Cours in General Linguistics. Trans. R. Harris. London: Duckworth 1983.
Schaefer, Ursula (in print) “Language and ‘National’ Identity: the Case of French and the English in the 14th and
15th Centuries – A Response to Serge Lusignan.” Zwischen Babel und Pfingsten: Sprachdifferenzen und
Gesprächsverständigung in der Vormoderne (9.-16. Jh.) / Entre Babel et Pentecôte : différences
linguistiques et communication orale avant la modernité (IXe-XVIe siècle) Ed. P. von Moos. Köln / Weimar
/ Wien: Böhlau Verlag 2008.
Taylor, Talbot J. (1990) “Which is to be the master? The institutionalizing of authority in the science of language.”
Ideologies of Language. Ed. J. E. Joseph and T. J. Taylor. London / New York: Routledge 1990, 9-26.
Julia Schlüter
(University of Bamberg)
The realization of initial <h> in British and American English
Friday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1019
This study exploits the phonotactically determined allomorphy of the indefinite article to
investigate the realization of initial ‹h› in the two major national varieties of English. This
methodology enables us to carry out fine-grained analyses of pronunciation differences on the
basis of large-scale written databases.
The seemingly simple rule assigning a to consonant-initial and an to vowel-initial words calls for
some further comments. In effect, Quirk et al. (1985: 254) note that the use of the indefinite
article fluctuates before some words with initial ‹h›, “depending on whether the h is pronounced
or not.” What looks unspectacular on the surface however conceals a highly intricate and
variable pattern. It has been remarked that [h] can optionally be deleted in the initial position of
content words whose first syllable is unstressed and that British English is more prone to this
deletion than American English. However, these observations still add up to a very poor state of
research and reflect the complex reality only inadequately.
The aims of the present paper are of a descriptive and explanatory nature. On the descriptive
level, the distribution of a and an before a large set of ‹h›-initial loanwords is investigated in an
extensive corpus of British and American newspapers. The study then proceeds to a refined
investigation of the parameters underlying the variable phonetic strength of the [h]-sound. Three
factors turn out to have an explanatory potential in this respect: the degree of prominence of the
initial syllable, the quantity of its nuclear vowel and the textual frequency of the ‹h›-initial
lexeme. All three parameters are demonstrably valid for both major national varieties, though
British English reveals a greater sensitivity to these distinctions. Thus, above and beyond the
differences between the varieties, three overarching parameters are unearthed that unify the
existing contrasts.
Hans-Jörg Schmid
(University of München)
Investigating style: lexico-grammatical corpus evidence for the socio-situational
construction of discourse identities
Friday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1016
This paper presents a fine-grained corpus analysis of texts from the spoken part of ICE-GB. The
extracts, amounting to 120.000 words, are hand-picked to neutralize the effects of the use-related
variables of MEDIUM (spoken), SETTING as well as GENERAL FIELD OF DISCOURSE (private). The covariables investigated include GENDER, EDUCATION, AGE and SOCIAL ROLE of all participants and,
to some extent, TOPIC. Data targeted are the frequencies of occurrence of 30 lexico-grammatical
features, including definite articles, second and third person personal pronouns, predicative
adjectives, past tense verbs, intensifying adverbs, NP postmodifications realized by of-PPs and
relative clauses.
The overarching aim of the study is to present systematic and empirical grammatical evidence
from authentic corpus data for the socio-situational construction of identities in discourse, and to
gauge the relative strength of the variables named above on the choice of style. A subordinate goal
is to test the idea, dominant in doing-gender theory (cf. West and Zimmermann 1987, Cameron
1996), that speakers do not invariably stick to patterns prescribed by male or female genderlects,
but perform gender identities depending on different factors residing in the speech situation.
The paper will include a methodological section discussing the pros and cons of using different
types of statistical tools for the analysis of corpus data. More specifically, the potential of
regression and mixed-effects analyses for assessing the relative strengths of user-related and userelated parameters of variation will be addressed.
Cameron, Deborah (1996), “Verbal hygiene: performing gender identity”. In: Ursula Pasero and Friederike Braun,
eds., Konstruktion von Geschlecht, Pfaffenweiler: Centaurus, 143-152.
West, Candace and Don H. Zimmermann (1987), “Doing gender”. Gender and Society 1 (2), 125-151.
Edgar W. Schneider
(University of Regensburg)
X-Englishes: parameters of language mixing
Wednesday, 11:00 – 11.30, Room 1015
One of the most striking, and perhaps surprising, findings when comparing the ecologies of World
Englishes is the amount of language mixing and the number of truly mixed (hybrid) varieties
involving Englishes. The formula X[lg name]+English has produced blends in many different
countries, like Taglish, Singlish, Hinglish, Chinglish, Japlish, Denglisch, Finglish, etc. Others
include “mix-mix” in Hong Kong, Sheng in Kenya, or Camfranglais in Cameroon, or lack a
commonly accepted designation (e.g. in Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa, and so on).
Based on the limited amount of documentation on such varieties that is available, on select internet
sources, and on the results of a questionnaire distributed in countries where such varieties are
spoken, this paper offers a systematic survey of the phenomenon in question, including structural
properties and sociolinguistic parameters of use. In some cases these labels simply denote cases of
strong lexical borrowing (like Denglisch) or uses traditionally described as code-switching or
code-mixing (like Spanglish); in others, however, the amount and nature of mixing that is going on
seems to be creating truly novel types of language varieties which are perceived as such by their
speakers. A striking number of parallels can be observed. The speakers of these mixed codes are
mostly young and urban, frequently highly educated, and always multilingual. Typically, educators
and gatekeepers of linguistic propriety strongly resent the use of such mixed varieties. However,
the mixed codes characteristically carry strong covert prestige, tend to be used in a playful fashion,
and are frequently perceived as informal icons of implicit resistance against guidance by traditional
authorities. Truly mixed varieties in Asia or Africa are often explicit expressions and symbols of
new hybrid identities, torn between or deliberately combining traditional indigenous values on the
one hand and westernizing orientations and attractions on the other.
Klaus P. Schneider
(University of Bonn)
Small talk: genre conventions and cultural scripts
Wednesday, 15:30 – 16:00, Room 1023
Recent research in variational pragmatics has shown that small talk differs not only across
languages, but also across cultures using the same language (cf. Schneider 2008). In an analysis
of data from England, Ireland and the United States, features were established which occur
consistently in one variety, but not across varieties. Cross-varietal differences include
conventions of form as well as conventions of means of realizing interactional moves, but
predominantly concern the sequencing and organization of larger discourse units. While many of
these differences may not be variety-exclusive, there seem to be clear national preferences.
Such preferences can be explained by assuming that the cognitive structures underlying the
production of small talk are culturally determined and can therefore be conceptualized as cultural
scripts (but not necessarily in an NSM sense; cf., e.g., Goddard and Wierzbicka 2007). These
scripts are stored in the long-term memory and activated in the production process. They reflect
what is considered appropriate in a given situation and expected by members of the same cultural
community (cf. Watts 2003).
The present paper aims at exploring the structure and organization of cultural scripts underlying
the production of small talk in national varieties of English as they manifest themselves in
naturally occurring and, more explicitly, experimental data. The data analysed are carefully
stratified since small talk conventions are sensitive to context and subject to macro-social
variation. The approach adopted in the analysis is multi-disciplinary.
Goddard, C. and Wierzbicka, A. (2007) Semantic primes and cultural scripts in language learning and intercultural
communication. In Sharifian, F. and Palmer, G.B. (eds.) Applied Cultural Linguistics. Amsterdam/
Philadelphia: Benjamins, 105–124.
Schneider, K.P. (2008) Small talk in England, Ireland and the U.S.A. In Schneider, K.P. and Barron, A. (eds.)
Variational Pragmatics. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins, 99-139.
Watts, R. (2003) Politeness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Doris Schönefeld
(University of Leipzig)
Don’t you go thinking that grammaticalization goes unnoticed –
A usage-based analysis of two alleged go-constructions
Wednesday, 17:00 – 17:30, Room 1098
Bourdin (2003) argues that the two uses of go illustrated in the headline serve particular
grammatical functions, which escape the attention of most grammar writing. On the basis of
impressionistic observations and a lexical search of the BNC, he – among other things – finds
that the go un-V-en and the go V-ing constructions exhibit collocational patterns revealing
semantic constraints: In the former case, the construction is found to signal counternormativity,
in the latter case, the construction is assumed to contribute to a non-motion reading of go,
although there is an animate and agentive grammatical subject. I am going to report on a
replication and extension of the above study (which is not very specific about its queries and the
numerical outputs). In order to test some of the claims and hypotheses made, all occurrences of
go immediately followed by V-en, V-ing and adjectives were extracted from the BNC. This
enlarged data-set allows for two things: Firstly, it can help to discover whether some of the
semantic constraints discussed by Bourdin are actually supported when looking at more
comprehensive usage data. Secondly, it allows for testing whether these constraints can also be
verified for more general , though closely related, constructions of go rather than for the go unV-en and go V-ing constructions alone. Moreover, looking at all instances of go V-ing (instead of
discarding those with a purely motional meaning) will also be informative about the interplay of
the collocates in the creation of a non-motional reading of the construction. In practice, the query
submitted to the BNC returned more than 5,000 instances of go V-en and almost 2,000 instances
of go V-ing. These numbers exceed the ones of the first study by far (we can read that the go Ving sample consisted of 118 instances, admittedly not containing pure motion readings of go).
The usage data will be submitted to statistical significance tests such as collostructional analysis
and co-varying collexeme analysis, in order to find the most strongly attracted collocates of go in
the constructions at issue. The latter type of analysis is also informative about the interplay of
collocates associated with different slots in one construction. From all these data, practically
revealing the ‘semantic prosody’ of the constructions, we can gain more insight into the semantic
constraints effective in them.
The paper will finally report on a comparison of the go V-ing construction with a third
construction go enters into: the go-V construction analysed by Wulff (2006). This is suggested by
the fact that both constructions contain a component of request: the latter containing an explicit
imperative component, the former being frequent in ‘vetative or admonitory contexts’ (Bourdin
2003: 108). The comparison of all three constructions is a first step in establishing a network of
constructions around one particular verb which is known to be especially prone to
Bourdin; Philippe (2003) ‘On two distinct uses of go as a conjoined marker of evaluative modality’, In: Roberta Facchinetti,
Manfred Krug and Frank Palmer (eds), Modality in Contemporary English, 103-127, Berlin etc: Mouton de Gruyter
Wulff, Stefanie (2006) ‘Go-V vs. go-and-V in English: A case of constructional synonymy?’, In: Stefan Gries and Anatol
Stefanowitsch (eds), Corpora in Cognitive Linguistics. Corpus-Based Approaches to Syntax and Lexicon, 101-125,
Berlin etc: Mouton de Gruyter
Daniel Schreier, Karin Deubelbeiss and Katrin Forrer
(University of Zurich)
Dialect stereotyping and (Broad?) Australian English
Saturday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1098
A widely discussed notion about Australian English (AusE) is the tripartite division into
‘cultivated’, ‘general’ and ‘broad’ varieties (discussed in Mitchell and Delbridge 1965). Though
this view has been criticised repeatedly, on methodological, theoretical and historical grounds, it
is generally accepted that AusE displays social variation and that the most basilectal variety is
characterised by a comparatively high frequency of phonological features (long vowels FLEECE
and GOOSE, diphthong shifts in PRICE, MOUTH, GOAT and FACE; Wells 1982, Horvath 2004). This
paper looks into a prominent case study of so-called ‘Broad AusE’ and the perception(s) its
usage evokes in the media and common public. The individual we discuss, Steve Irwin (19622006), better known as the ‘Crocodile Hunter’, has polarised audiences around the world with
his engaged performances in shows, TV documentaries and movies. His strong Australian accent
and characteristic ways of speaking have been parodied and criticised on countless occasions,
and there seems to be a common (mis)conception (particularly in the US) that his way of
speaking is representative of AusE as a whole.
In this paper, we discuss language attitudes and track how the general public reacts to (and
comments on) Steve Irwin (in a sense providing a down under perspective of the ‘Complaint
tradition’ in English, as documented by the Milroys). More importantly, we examine the
frequency of stereotypically ‘broad’ phonological AusE features in Irwin’s speech. We offer
quantitative evidence that, against common views, several of these variables do in fact not make
a frequent appearance at all (if anything, his speech is more ‘general’); however, Irwin
stereotypes and ‘over-uses’ two features (the MOUTH and PRICE diphthongs), which suggests that
we are dealing with a case of dialect stereotyping and over-usage of a phonologically salient
Horvath, B. (2004) “The phonology of Australian English.” In Kortmann, B. and E. Schneider in collab. with K.
Burridge/R. Mesthrie/C. Upton, eds. A Handbook of Varieties of English. 2 vols. Berlin/New York: Mouton
de Gruyter.
Mitchell, A.G., and Delbridge, A. (revised edition, 1965) The pronunciation of English in Australia, Angus and
Well, J. (1982) Accents of English (3 vols.). Cambridge: CUP.
Anne Schröder and Susanne Mühleisen
(University of Halle-Wittenberg / Bayreuth)
New ways of measuring morphological productivity
Wednesday, 11:00 – 11.30, Room 1019
The question of productivity has always been considered a difficult one for modern linguistic
theories in general (Aronoff, 1980) and has become one of the central empirical problems for
theories of word-formation (Plag, 1999) in particular. Various definitions of productivity have
been proposed in the literature (cf. e.g. Rainer, 1987: 188-190 and Bauer, 2001: 25), most of
which take productivity as qualitative notion. These acknowledge the existence of a continuum,
at the one end of which we find completely unproductive patterns and on the other end we find
highly productive patterns with a number of cases ranging in-between. As a logical consequence,
various ways of measuring how productive a particular pattern is have also been proposed. Most
of these measures deal with words attested in dictionaries or corpora, i.e. they tell us “which
words are actual, but not which words are possible” (Romaine, 1983: 181) and thus they give no
evidence of the probability of new forms occurring, i.e. on the potential of a word-formation
pattern to be exploited in the creation of new words. As this, however, is one of the defining
feature of morphological productivity, this is clearly a serious flaw. In this present paper, we will
try to remedy this by presenting results from two recent studies (Mühleisen 2006, Schröder
forthc.) on the productivity of English word-formation patterns, in which new ways of measuring
morphological productivity have been applied. These include acceptability and coinage tests via
online surveys and the exploitation of the World Wide Web to search for potential new creations.
As we will demonstrate, with these new methods the aspect of potentiality of word-formation
can be tested and the proposed methods can thus be used to complement more traditional ways
of measuring productivity and may help to give a more comprehensive analysis of this multilayered phenomenon.
Aronoff, Mark (1980) “The Relevance of Productivity in a Synchronic Description of Word Formation.” In: Jacek
Fisiak, ed. Historical Morphology. The Hague: Mouton, 71-82.
Bauer, Laurie (2001) Morphological Productivity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mühleisen, Susanne (2006) Of Lessees, Retirees and Beseechees. A Historical, Empirical and Sociolinguistic
Analysis of a Word-formation and its Productivity in English. Habilitationsschrift, Universität Regensburg.
Plag, Ingo (1999) Morphological Productivity. Structural Constraints in English Derivation. Berlin: Mouton de
Rainer, Franz (1987) “Produktivitätsbegriffe in der Wortbildungstheorie.” In: Wolf Dietrich et al., eds. Grammatik
und Wortbildung romanischer Sprachen. Beiträge zum Deutschen Romanistentag in Siegen. Tübingen:
Narr, 187-202.
Romaine, Suzanne (1983) “On the Productivity Word Formation Rules and Limits of Variability.” Australian
Journal of Linguistics 3: 177-200.
Schröder, Anne (forthc.) On the Productivity of Verbal Prefixation in English. Habilitationsschrift, Martin-LutherUniversität Halle-Wittenberg.
Monika Schulz
(University of Freiburg)
Past Habituality in British English dialects: the distribution of WOULD and USED TO
Saturday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1098
A quantitative and close qualitative analysis of traditional, spoken dialect data from the FRED
corpus (Freiburg Corpus of English Dialects) is the starting point of an investigation into the
areas of obligation, hypotheticality and past habituality in the Midlands, the North, the Southeast
and the Southwest of England. The aim of the study is twofold. While it is clearly a synchronic,
dialectological project, the data is also evaluated in light of the diachronic pathways which have
been proposed for the English modal verb system. The study strives to provide a more
comprehensive account of the modal verb system in the British English dialects than has been
offered in the literature, which is mainly concerned with the non-standard behavior of specific
modals in Scottish English (Brown 1991, Miller 1993) and Northern varieties (Beal 2004,
Trousdale 2003). While the FRED data does not contain the rather marked constructions usually
discussed in the literature, it exhibits interdialectal variation on a more subtle, systematic level,
namely degree of grammaticalization. While habitual WOULD is roughly equally frequent in all
four dialect areas, USED TO patterns regionally. Historically, USED TO is much younger than
habitual WOULD and was initially restricted to combinations with animate subjects and nonstative verbs (Tagliamonte/Lawrence 2000). In the FRED data USED TO ranges from 12,4
instances per 1,000 words in the Southeast down to 8,3 instances per 1,000 words in the North.
On a qualitative level, lower frequency of use is accompanied by a greater resistance to
grammaticalized combinations with stative verbs and non-animate subjects.
Beal, Joan (2004) “The Morphology and Syntax of English Dialects in the North of England.” In: Bernd Kortmann
et al. (eds) A Handbook of Varieties of English, Volume II, 114 – 141. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Brown, Keith (1991) “Double modals in Hawick Scots.” In: Peter Trudgill and Jack Chambers (eds), Dialectology,
74-103. Cambridge: CUP.
Miller, Jim (1993) “The grammar of Scottish English.” In: James Milroy and Lesley Milroy (eds) , Real English /
The Grammar of English Dialects in the British Isles, 99-138. London/New York: Longman.
Tagliamonte, Sali and Helen Lawrence (2000) “‘I used to dance, but I don’t dance now’ / The Habitual Past in
English.” Journal of English Linguistics 28.4: 324-353.
Trousdale, Graeme (2003) “Modal verbs in Tyneside English: evidence for (socio)linguistic theory.” In: Roberta
Facchinetti, Manfred Krug and Frank Palmer (eds), Modality in Contemporary English. 373-387.
Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Jürg Rainer Schwyter
(University of Lausanne)
“Gaps in the language”, “ugly words” and other “undesirables”:
The BBC Sub-Committee for the Invention of New Words (1935–1997)
Friday, 15:00 – 15:30, Room 1023
This paper will investigate one of the more curious aspects of “corpus planning” by the early
BBC. While BBC policy on pronunciation, especially of proper names and foreign words, has
been relatively well documented and commented on ever since the Company’s foundation in
1922 – the BBC became a Corporation only in 1927 – this is much less the case for its very
prescriptive work on the English lexicon in the 1930’s. The BBC Sub-Committee for the
Invention of New Words was founded in 1935 in order to coin suitable vocabulary in connection
with the new medium of television but almost immediately took it upon itself to reform and
regulate the general English lexicon: a host of new words were created to fill perceived “gaps” in
the English language; “unassimilated loans” were purged and replaced with either “revived old
words” or newly but “natively formed” ones; and, more broadly, in the case of two or more
lexical alternatives, i.e. (near-)synonyms, the “vivid and expressive term” should be
recommended over the “ugly and awkward” one. After only two years, the BBC Sub-Comnrittee
for the Invention of New Words folded due to a combination of institutional and, above all,
linguistic reasons that will be explored in detail – paying particular attention to the role of
linguists and well-meaning laypeople in the corpus planning process, the BBC’s overall
linguistic mission, resources and feedback from listeners as well as earlier, similar attempts by
others to exploit exclusively “native resources” in order to expand the English lexicon.
Barbara Seidlhofer
(University of Vienna)
English as a lingua franca: a use of language in its own right
Wednesday, 17:00 – 17:30, Room 1021
In recent years, the lively meta-level discussion of the cultural, ecological, socio-political and
psychological issues raised by the global spread of English has taken precedence over the study
of the whole range of linguistic consequences of this spread. However, conceptual and empirical
research into English as a lingua franca (ELF), the most extensive contemporary use of English
worldwide (often in the absence of any native speakers), has been gathering momentum of late.
ELF is usually conceptualized in a way that does not warrant its inclusion in the categories this
thematic session focuses on, viz. second-language varieties of English and learner Englishes.
However, it seems appropriate to enquire into why and how it is different, and what the
similarities and differences among these kinds of English are.
This paper will report on a corpus that constitutes a first empirical basis on which these questions
can be investigated: the Vienna-Oxford International Corpus of English (VOICE). I will discuss
specific methodological problems that arise when dealing with ELF data and home in on some
findings in the field of lexicogrammar that are emerging from the analysis of the spoken
interactions captured in the corpus. I aim to show that the general processes and salient features
that are emerging as characteristic of ELF are entirely compatible with our understanding of how
languages always vary and change according to different circumstances.
Katrin Sell
(University of Bamberg)
Current vowel shifts in Irish English: analysing Galwegian English
Wednesday, 15:30 – 16:00, Room 1015
In the southern part of Ireland, the prestige form of English is not the British Received
Pronunciation. One assumes that “the prestige form of English is that spoken in the capital,
Dublin.” (Hickey 1999: 265) In the last 15 years, there has been a major sound change in Dublin.
This new pronunciation is said to spread rapidly to other areas of Ireland. (Hickey 2007)
In traditional mainstream Southern Irish English, the vowels in the CHOICE, LOT and
THOUGHT lexical sets tend to have a lower or rather unrounded realisation compared to British
English. (Bliss 1984: 135ff, Hickey 2004: 47) Regarding the recent shifts in Dublin, diphthongs
with a low back starting point as in toy tend to be raised, thus [t] becomes [t˕] or [to]. Low
velar vowels are also raised, e.g. cot [kṱ] becomes [kṱ], caught [k:ṱ] comes [k˕:ṱ] or [ko:ṱ]
(Hickey 2004: 47f, 2007). This paper investigates how far these changes have actually spread
across the country so far.
In this paper, data collected during fieldwork in Galway City, a fast-growing university town
near the Connemara-Gaeltacht in the West of Ireland, will be presented. The sociolinguistic
interviews (modelled on Sali Tagliamonte 2005, 2006), which were conducted in the summer of
2007, investigate which of the aforementioned features of the new Dublin pronunciation have
spread throughout the country already and which speakers are affected by the shift. I will present
results based on the speech of 70 born and bred Galwegians aged 18 to 94, who belong to
different social classes and who have passed different educational levels. SPSS-based logitmodels predict the probability for the use or non-use of the above features for the external
variables age, gender and socioeconomic class.
Bliss, A. J. (1984) “English in the South of Ireland.” In: Trudgill, Peter (ed.) Language in the British Isles.
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 135-151.
Hickey, R. (2007) Irish English Resource Centre. Dublin English: The New Pronunciation. www.uniessen.de/IERC/
Hickey, R. (2004) A Sound Atlas of Irish English. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin.
Hickey, R.: “Dublin English: current changes and their motivation.” In: Foulkes, P./Docherty, G. (eds.) Urban
Voices. Accent Studies in the British Isles. Arnold, London 1999. 265-281.
Tagliamonte, S. A. (2006) Analysing Sociolinguistic Variation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Tagliamonte, S.A. (2005) Interview Schedule.
www.cambridge.org/resources/0521771153/2846_APPENDIX%20B.pdf <10.06.2007>
Devyani Sharma
(Queen Mary, University of London)
Typological diversity in New Englishes
Friday, 12:00 – 12:30, Room 1023
Surface similarities across New Englishes have attracted interest in pan-dialectal universals
(Platt, Weber and Ho 1984; Williams 1987; Kortmann and Szmrecsanyi 2004). I argue in this
paper that close quantitative analysis shows New Englishes to be typologically distinct from one
another in important ways. Comparing Indian English (IndE) to other varieties, I focus on two
questions: (i) When is a typological difference evident? (ii) To what extent can substrate systems
explain emergent systems?
The typological class of a grammatical subsystem is not evidenced by the mere presence of a
trait, but rather by its frequency and consistency across speakers. I examine these properties for
two grammatical features: copula omission and aspectual marking. In the first example, I show
that copula omission occurs in both IndE and Singaporean English (SgE) but is less frequent and
less consistent across the lectal continuum of IndE. In fact, a quantitative comparison shows that
the copula system of the substrate language(s) finely conditions the typological class of the new
variety (Sharma and Rickford forthcoming).
By contrast, the second example shows aspectual restructuring to be robust in both IndE and
SgE. Yet close examination of these systems shows again that the emergent systems are not
identical. I present quantitative evidence that IndE realigns English perfect, progressive, and
tense morphology according to Indo-Aryan perfective-imperfective distinctions. This
realignment explains features of Indian English that have been cited elsewhere, such as over-use
of progressive (Bickerton 1981) and perfect with past meaning (Leitner 1991). A comparison
with data presented in Bao (2005) suggests that overlaps between IndE and SgE aspectual
restructuring are restricted to overlaps in the substrate systems.
Surface similarities across new Englishes may thus simply reflect typological resemblances
among substrates. Although this paper argues that broad grammatical subsystems often rely on
the substrate model, in closing I point to exceptions arising in parts of the grammar that are more
susceptible to restructuring driven by discourse, register, or semantic transparency.
Bao, Zhiming (2005) The aspectual system of Singapore English and the systemic substratist explanation. Journal of
Linguistics 41: 237–267.
Bickerton, Derek (1981) Roots of Language. Ann Arbor: Karoma.
Kortmann, Bernd and Benedikt Szmrecsanyi (2004) Global synopsis – morphological and syntactic variation in
English. In Bernd Kortmann, Kate Burridge, Raj Mesthrie and Edgar Schneider (eds) A Handbook of
Varieties of English, Vol. 2: Morphology and Syntax. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 1122-1182.
Leitner, Gerhard (1991) The Kolhapur Corpus of Indian English – intra-varietal description and/or inter-varietal
comparison. In S. Johansson and A-B. Stenström (eds.) English Computer Corpora: Selected Papers and
Research Guide. New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Platt, John, Heidi Weber and Ho Mian Lian (1984) The New Englishes. London: Routledge.
Sharma, Devyani and John Rickford (forthcoming) AAVE/Creole copula absence patterns as inherited second
language learning effects? Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages.
Williams, Jessica (1987) Non-native varieties of English: A special case of language acquisition. English WorldWide 8(2): 161-199.
Tom Shippey
(University of St. Louis, MO)
Philological triumphs, and ideological failures
Friday, 12:00 – 12:30, Room 1021
Comparative philology, as developed above all by Jacob Grimm, was the most influential
discovery of the 19th century, in the human sciences: its effects on the study of literature, myth,
history, linguistics, and even philosophy can readily be described. Regrettably, it contained
within it ideological elements whose effects were not so readily seen, but which remain with us.
One was the belief that language and nation should be co-terminous (i.e. have the same
boundaries). But what is a language, and what is only a dialect? Another, the belief that nations,
and national characteristics, were in some sense eternal, the latter embedded in the language. But
how was this to be proved? This paper will briefly outline the successes of comparative
philology, and explore the roots of its later failure.
Mick Short
(University of Lancaster)
Using WMatrix to analyse character in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal
Thursday, 14:00 – 14:30, Room 1098
This paper will use the Wmatrix semantic analysis corpus tool to compare the characters in
Harold Pinter’s Betrayal. It will be helpful if participants have read the play and/or watched a
video, DVD or film of the play before they come to the conference.
I will show how Wmatrix can be used as part of an analysis of the main characters in the play
and their relationships. An important point which will emerge is that this corpus tool, like other
such tools, does not give us automatic answers, but shows us potentially interesting parts of the
text to examine in detail, resulting in a constant ‘Spitzerian’ analytical circle. The Wmatrix
output also suggests possible interpretative avenues to explore.
Peter Siemund
(University of Hamburg)
Comparing varieties of English: problems and perspectives
Thursday, 10:30 – 11.00, Room 1016
One of the puzzling observations of current research on varieties of English is that regionally
unrelated varieties can be surprisingly similar with respect to the non-standard grammatical
features they possess, even if no obvious historical origin of these features can be reconstructed.
For example, the use of the English progressive aspect with state verbs, inversion in embedded
interrogative clauses and the more extensive use of the definite article are found in Irish English
and Indian English – for no apparent reason. It has been hypothesized that this coincidence of
features can only be understood in terms of linguistic universals and even the more restricted
notion of angloversals has been introduced into the current discussion (Mair 2003).
The main problem for such an approach is that varieties of English come in different types
(traditional dialects, shift varieties, L2 varieties, etc.) and that it is strictly speaking not possible
to compare them without taking the differences across and between them into consideration.
Comparing the use of the simple past in present perfect contexts in, say, traditional Scottish
English and Singapore English makes one wonder if one is comparing like with like.
The main point of my presentation is to show that such comparisons can make a lot of sense,
provided they are carefully performed. I will argue that the mere absence or presence of a feature
is something we should not be content with and that it is necessary to look into the distribution,
the contexts of use and also into the genesis of such non-standard features. Such analyses will
reveal inter alia that interrogative inversion in Irish English and Indian English is not the same
even if it superficially looks the same (Hilbert 2008) and that the different tense forms competing
in present perfect contexts (simple past, present perfect, present tense) differ in subtle
distributional details across varieties of English even though they have stable core meanings
(Davydova 2008).
Davydova, Julia (2008) Perfect and Preterite: A corpus-based study of variation in Irish English. Arbeiten zur
Mehrsprachigkeit, Universität Hamburg.
Hilbert, Michaela (2008) ‘Interrogative inversion in non-standard varieties of English’, in: Peter Siemund and
Noemi Kintana (eds.), Language Contact and Contact Languages. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Mair, Christian (2003) ‘Kreolismen und verbales Identitätsmanagement im geschriebenen jamaikanischen Englisch’,
in: E. Vogel, A. Napp and W. Lutterer (eds), Zwischen Ausgrenzung und Hybridisierung. Würzburg:
Ergon, 79–96.
Olivier Simonin
(University of Paris)
Relative to-infinitives in Old English
Wednesday, 12:30 – 13:00, Room 1016
The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that some types of relative to-infinitives (RTIs) were
already in use throughout OE, while another emerged towards the end of that period, paving the
way for future expansion. Although infinitives modifying nominal constituents have been
consistently reported (e.g. Los 2005), a systematic account of the early evolution of RTIs still
has to be provided. Accordingly, drawing on the YCOE and occurrences collected for my
doctoral dissertation, I will show that four main types are already found in OE:
1. Infinitives closing off an existential/presentational clause, with a weakened purposive
… næs ðær mara fyrst freode to friclan. (Beowulf)
… there was no more time to sue for friendly peace (= during which they could sue…)
2. RTIs that can also be analysed as content clauses:
Si ðe forgyfen miht to gebindenne and to alysenne (Ælfric’s Sermones catholicae)
Receive [lit. “be you given”] power to bind and release (= by which you can bind and release)
3. Infinitives that would be equivalent to a purpose adverbial, if they modified a verb and not a
hwearf eft on þæt weorc Godes word to læranne. (King Ælfred’s translation of Bede)
he turned again to the labour of teaching [lit. “to teach” = through which he taught] the word of God
(N.B. In he laboured to teach…, the infinitive expresses purpose)
4. RTIs that have emerged towards the end of OE, through leaving out a relative pronoun and a
Hæbbe ge her ænig Þincg Þe to etenne si? (Ælfric’s Sermones catholicae)
Do you have anything to eat [lit. “that be to eat”] ?
Phrases like sum ðing to donne can also be found in the same work.
Further developments highlighted in the literature will be summarised, to provide an overall
sense of perspective.
Akiyama, T. (2002) The Infinitival Relative Clause in English. Doctoral dissertation. Lancaster: University of
Fischer, O. (1991) “The rise of the passive infinitive in English” in D. Katovsky (ed.) Historical English Syntax.
Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 141-188.
Geisler, C. (1995) Relative Infinitives in English. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Stockholm: Almquist and Wiksell.
Huddleston, R. and Pullum, G. K. 2002 (eds) The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge: CUP.
Kjellmer, G. (1988) “‘What a night on which to die!’. On symmetry in English relative clauses” in English Studies
69, 559-568.
Los, B. (2005) The Rise of the To-Infinitive. Oxford: OUP.
Miller, D. Gary (2002) Nonfinite Structures in Theory and Change. Oxford: OUP.
Mitchell, B. (1985) Old English Syntax. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Simonin, O. (2007) Relatives infinitives et constructions apparentées en anglais. Doctoral dissertation. Paris:
Université Paris IV – Sorbonne.
Anne-Marie Simon-Vandenbergen
(University of Ghent)
The semantic and pragmatic development of certainly and definitively:
different paths of grammaticalisation
Friday, 12:00 – 12:30, Room 1015
In Simon-Vandenbergen (forthcoming) it is argued that the adverbs of modal certainty certainly
and definitely, while in some contexts semantically and pragmatically very close, nevertheless
show different preferences with regard to the contexts in which they tend to occur, with regard to
collocation and with regard to their recent developments. It was found on the basis of a
frequency study of the British National Corpus that the two adverbs have marked preferences
with regard to the degree modifiers most and almost : certainly has a preference for almost, while
definitely has a preference for most. This led to the conclusion that, following Paradis
(forthcoming), certainly is typically conceptualised as a bounded concept, while definitely is
typically conceptualised as an unbounded concept.
Simon-Vandenbergen (forthcoming) is a synchronic study of the usage of the two words in
present-day British English. The present paper takes a diachronic perspective and examines how
these different collocational and contextual preferences can be explained from their respective
historical developments. The core propositional meaning of the two adverbs certainly does not
explain why one would have developed into a mainly scalar word (definitely), and the other into
a mainly totality word (certainly). Also taking into account their more recent semantic-pragmatic
developments the paper shows how different paths of grammaticalisation have been followed
and when we see signs of these processes taking place.
The data are gathered from the Helsinki Corpus, the Corpus of Early English Correspondence,
the Corpus of English Dialogues, the Corpus of Late Modern English Texts (Extended version)
and the Corpus of English Novels.
Paradis, C. (forthcoming) Configurations, construals and change. Expressions of degree. English Language and
Simon-Vandenbergen, A.-M. (forthcoming) Almost certainly and most definitely: degree modifiers and epistemic
Nicholas Smith and Marianne Hundt
(University of Salford / University of Zurich)
The present perfect in British and American English – has there been any change, recently?
Wednesday, 12:30 – 13:00, Room 1098
Previous corpus-based studies of Present Day English, whenever they include regional variation,
have consistently shown the Present Perfect (PP) to be more commonly used in British than in
American English. The American Did you eat? for British Have you eaten? can even be
considered one of the shibboleths of transatlantic grammatical differences (cf. Strevens, 1972:
48; Biber et al, 1999: 463). Evidence from parallel corpora might show that this is no longer the
case. Elsness (forthcoming), based on the untagged version of the Brown-quartet and a study of
20 frequently used verbs, provides preliminary evidence that the decrease of the PP continues
into the second half of the twentieth century. He points at a regional difference, namely that the
decline is slowing down in AmE and that BrE is approaching the level of AmE. In other words,
the two national varieties appear to be converging in their use of the PP. Evidence from our
tagged corpora will show whether this is, indeed, the case. We will look at both quantitative and
qualitative evidence on the development of the PP. The macroscopic, quantitative approach will
consider the overall frequency of the PP, frequency variation according to text type, as well as
relative frequencies of PP and simple past (SP). The microscopic, qualitative approach will focus
on the co-occurrence of the PP and SP with temporal adverbials (e.g. the use of current-relevance
adverbials with the SP).
Biber, Douglas, Stig Johansson, Geoffrey Leech, Susan Conrad and Edward Finegan (1999) Longman Grammar of
Spoken and Written English. Harlow: Longman.
Elsness, Johan (Forthcoming) ‘The present perfect and the preterite.’ To appear in Günter Rohdenburg and Julia
Schlüter. Eds. One Language, Two Grammars? Differences between British and American English.
(Studies in English Language). Cambridge: CUP.
Strevens, Peter (1972) British and American English. London: Macmillan.
Anatol Stefanowitsch
(University of Bremen)
Constructional preemption, Goldberg-style: a corpus-based approach
Friday, 14:30 – 15:00, Room 1098
One problem with synchronic grammatical variation is how to constrain it. Even in the case of
highly productive cases of variation, such as the dative shift, there are cases that resist the choice
of one of the variants even when all semantic and contextual criteria are met.
For example, the ditransitive usually occurs in contexts where the recipient is given and the
theme is new, while the prepositional dative occurs in contexts where the theme is given while
the recipient is new (cf. Thompson 1990):
(1) a. During lunch, casually mention that your flatmate’s grades have really improved since
his parents gave him an iPhone (Guardian).
b. He decided that his iPhone was “pretty useless” so he gave it to his 20-year-old
daughter (Financial Times).
However, some verbs regularly violate these information-structural preferences since there is an
absolute constraint that blocks them from occurring in the ditransitive:
(2) a. Bunnell went ahead with his plan to have his kidney removed, and instead of giving it to
his wife he donated it to a complete stranger (Times).
b. In 1987 his mother Jean donated her kidney to him (BBC) [not: *... donated him her
In my talk, I will briefly address three types of evidence that speakers may use in detecting such
constraints: (i) simple preemption (i.e. the idea that the mere existence of an alternative
expression will stop speakers from using a particular construction); (ii) negative evidence (i.e.
the idea that the non-occurrence of an expression that would have been expected to occur on
statistical grounds will cause speakers to assume that that expression is not possible, cf.
Stefanowitsch, in press); and (iii) Goldberg-style contextual preemption (i.e. the idea that the
choice of one variant in a context where the other would have been expected will lead to the
assumption that the other variant is not possible at all, cf. Goldberg 1995).
Using the dative shift as a testing ground, I will show that simple preemption cannot be at work
at all, that contextual preemption is somewhat more plausible but typically does not yield effects
that are strong enough for the speaker to use it as a source of information about linguistic
constraints, and that negative evidence is so far the best source of information available to the
Goldberg, A.E. (1995) Constructions. A Construction Grammar Approach to Argument Structure. Chicago and
London: The University of Chicago Press.
Stefanowitsch, A. (In Press) Negative entrenchment: A usage-based approach to negative evidence. Cognitive
Linguistics 19(3), 505-523.
Thompson, S.A. (1990) Information flow and ‘dative shift’ in English. In J.Edmondson, K. Feagin, and P.
Mühlhäusler (eds.), Development and Diversity:
Linguistic Variation across Time and Space. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 239-253.
Maria Steger
(University of Regensburg)
New Englishes are simple, isn’t it? Iconicity as the cognitive principle behind simplification
phenomena in New Englishes
Wednesday, 15:30 – 16.00, Room 1021
Over the last few decades, research into those post-colonial second-language varieties of English
that are commonly referred to as New Englishes has repeatedly presented examples of
characteristic morphosyntactic modifications, many of which were labelled as instances of
“simplification”. However, this notion has predominantly been used in a pre-theoretical and
intuitive way and, in fact, agreed-upon measures for the complexity of languages hardly exist.
Siegel (2004) points out four dimensions of the problem: Should simplicity be understood in
absolute or comparative terms? Should it be analysed holistically or modularly? Should it be
defined quantitatively or qualitatively? Does it reflect reduction of complexity or lack of
development of complexity?
The present paper focuses specifically on the latter question, which is of primary significance in
acquisition-based approaches to New Englishes. So far, only very few studies have concentrated
on acquisitional processes underlying grammar construction in the context of Outer Circle
varieties. Most notably, Williams (1987) attributes prominent features of New Englishes to
psycholinguistic strategies operating in second-language acquisition; but although she touches on
the “one-to-one mapping of form and meaning” at various points in her study, she does not seem
to recognise iconicity as the central unifying principle behind these strategies, neither does she
seem to realise its fundamental relevance to language acquisition and language processing.
On the basis of theoretical considerations and the analysis of select examples from New
Englishes, I will discuss iconicity as the major cognitive explanation for “New-Englishness” and
argue for abandoning the vague descriptive notion of simplification, which has traditionally been
associated with imperfect learning. Since the mental processes involved in language acquisition
and language change have fossilised and crystallised in their morphosyntactic structures, New
Englishes can be said to provide an ideal opportunity to study the dynamics of cognitive formfunction mapping.
Siegel, J. (2004) “Morphological Simplicity in Pidgins and Creoles”. In Journal of Pidgins and Creoles 19:1. 139-162.
Williams, J. (1987) “Non-Native Varieties of English: A Special Case of Language Acquisition”. In English WorldWide 8:2. 161-199.
Susanne Strubel
(University of Bonn)
Compliment thy neighbour – How do American speakers of English vary
their complimenting behaviour
Wednesday, 16:30 – 17:00, Room 1023
A conversational trait attributed to speakers of American English is certainly the compliment.
Not only according to European folk notions does no other people tend to these ubiquitous
pleasantries as the Americans (supposedly) do. It is hardly surprising then that many among the
early studies in compliment research focus on this variety of English. Among them is the
groundbreaking discovery of the compliment formulae by Manes and Wolfson (1981), which has
since been replicated with focus on other Englishes besides American English as well as a
variety of different languages.
Considering the vast field of research, it may at first glance seem virtually old-fashioned to (re-)
investigate the complimenting behavior of American English speakers. Yet, in the research done
so far, certain features are still unaccounted for. The compliment formulae have been studied as
well as the responses and the “appropriate” situations. However, the utterances are usually
described as sole entities, i.e. compliment and response, and not in their connection.
Thus, in a new approach, the present study intends to combine the respective turns in an analysis
of the speech event of “complimenting”. To achieve this task, the Santa Barbara Corpus of
Spoken American English serves as data source. This corpus offers not only near natural
conversations in American English but also a variety of social situations such as conversations in
a classroom, between family members and friends of various age groups.
For this inquiry, I investigate the compliment sequence with a specially developed model based
on findings of research on compliments and responses. This model is applied to a range of
different situations to answer to questions such as whether or not there is a distinction in the
“American” complimenting behavior depending on the conversational situation of the speakers.
Michael Stubbs
(University of Trier)
Discovering units of meaning in corpora and texts
Thursday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1021
This paper gives examples of computer-assisted methods for discovering patterns in corpora and
in individual texts. There are three main points:
(1) Computer-assisted corpus analysis is good at finding patterns in language use which are
invisible to introspection. The clearest progress has been made in identifying recurrent
phrasal units of meaning (Sinclair 1998). This has had a major impact on dictionary
(2) Computer-assisted methods can easily find fixed multi-word strings (n-grams), but very
few phrasal units of meaning are entirely fixed, and it is much more difficult to
identify units which are recurrent but variable. Software by Cheng et al 2006 and
Fletcher 2003-08 can help with this problem.
(3) Description and theory are at an early stage in applying findings from large corpora to
the analysis of individual texts. Work here is currently limited to individual case
studies, but the following principle is clear:
If a phrasal unit is frequent and widely distributed in a large general corpus, this implies (a) that
it is not text-dependent, but part of the language system, and (b) that it is not topic-dependent,
but serves a general pragmatic function, such as emphasizing an important point in the discourse.
For text and corpus analysis, traditional KWIC concordances are familiar and essential, though
they may overemphasize individual node words. Other software can search for other patterns,
variable phrasal units, e.g. non-contiguous n-grams
a word’s collocational profile: its most frequent preceding and following collocates
clusters of words which inter-collocate in a text
the distribution of words across a text.
Cheng, W., Greaves, C. and Warren, M. (2006) From n-gram to skip-gram to congram. International Journal of
Corpus Linguistics, 11, 4: 411-33.
Fletcher, W. (2003-08) PIE (Phrases in English). http://pie.usna.edu.
Sinclair, J. (1998) The lexical item. In E. Weigand (ed) Contrastive Lexical Semantics. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 124.
Kensei Sugayama
(University of Kyoto)
The main determinants of sentence meaning: verbs and constructions?
Saturday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1023
What types of linguistic information do people use to construct the meaning of a sentence? The
purpose of this paper is to advance plausible arguments against constructional approaches
(Goldberg 1995 and 2006 among others) to grammar. The basic idea assumed in them is that the
simple sentence types in English are directly correlated with one or more semantic structures. In
this paper, I argue that there is evidence supporting the traditional view that the basic sentence
patterns of a language are determined by semantic or syntactic information specified by the MAIN
VERB. My goal is to explore in detail how a projectionist approach as a whole operates and show
that this approach is at least possible in determination of sentence meaning.
It is shown that there are at least three reasons for supporting the projectionist’s foundational
assumption that verb meaning provides a key to verb behaviour.
First, the argument realisation option of new denominal verbs provide support for this
assumption. For example, wand cannot be extended to the ditransitive construction even though
fax is. This fact is more easily explained by considering that the verb’s syntactic behaviour is
projected by its meaning. The crucial difference between the two is whether or not the denominal
verb designates the scene of transfer.
Second, how could possibly the divergent range of meaning expressed by the transitive
construction be accommodated by its prototypical meaning ‘X ACT ON Y’ as is claimed by
Bencini and Goldberg (2000)?
A third reason lies in a lexical semantic analysis of the verb meaning, which augments the event
structure of a verb to make a complex construction. The resultative construction, for example, is
considered to involve a complex event structure where the event structure template associated
with the main verb is augmented to a complex structure by a causal link.
Irma Taavitsainen and Andreas Jucker
(University of Helsinki / University of Zurich)
Expressive speech acts in the history of English: Methodological issues
Wednesday, 17:30 – 18:00, Room 1016
Expressive speech acts reveal psychological states of mind and express personal attitudes and
feelings. They deal with social and interpersonal relations, with politeness considerations in the
forefront. The list of expressives includes speech acts like compliments, thanks, congratulations,
condolences, insults and apologies (Jucker and Taavitsainen 2000, 2008, Taavitsainen and
Jucker 2008) Some of them can show a vast range of different manifestations, ranging from
formulaic and conventional uses to creative and unpredictable linguistic realizations. Some
speech acts can be performed with a limited number of routine utterances and are relatively easy
to detect with current corpus methodologies, while the less formulaic, indirect and creative
realizations have turned out to be resistant to large corpus-based searches (see Jucker et al.
2008). Speech acts can only be traced if they are sufficiently routinized or if the co-occur
regularly with specific illocutionary indicating devices (IFIDs), which allow their identification
in large corpora (Taavitsainen and Jucker 2007). The historical dimension poses additional
challenges as the speech acts themselves may have changed and the sociohistorical context with
the changing conventions of politeness needs to be taken in the account.
Expressive speech acts can be divided into two main categories: the inherently polite versus the
inherently impolite speech acts (Taavitsainen and Jucker, forthcoming). In this paper we shall
focus on two polite speech acts in the sense that they directly enhance the addressee’s face, i.e.
compliments and thanks. They are very different in many respects. Compliments may have an
infinite number of realizations and they have to be negotiated, whereas thanks tend to be
formulaic with a limited number of manifestations. Yet there are different ways of enhancing the
feeling of gratitude, and the expressions vary in their form in different periods. The material of
our empirical study comes from various genres of writing, with varying genre constraints, e.g.
handbooks and manuals contain prescriptive and descriptive comments, textbooks for language
learners reveal core expressions, and novels and drama have their own restrictions but offer us a
rich array of examples. We shall outline the development of these two speech acts, compliments
and thanks, in the history of English and discuss the challenges that they pose to corpus-based
Jucker, Andreas H. and Irma Taavitsainen (eds) (2008 forthcoming) Speech Acts in the History of English.
Amsterdam and Philadelphia: Benjamins. Pragmatics and Beyond Series.
Jucker, Andreas H. and Irma Taavitsainen (2008 forthcoming) Apologies in the history of English: IFIDs as
routinized and lexicalized expressions of responsibility and regret. In Jucker and Taavitsainen (eds).
Jucker, Andreas H. and Irma Taavitsainen (2000) Diachronic speech act analysis: The case of insults. Journal of
Historical Pragmatics, 1(1): 67-95.
Jucker, Andreas H., Gerold Schneider, Irma Taavitsainen, Barb Breustedt (2008 forthcoming) Fishing for
compliments: Precision and recall in corpus-linguistic compliment research. In Jucker and Taavitsainen
Taavitsainen, Irma and Andreas H. Jucker (2008 forthcoming) ‘Methinks you seem more beautiful than ever’:
Compliments and gender in the history of English. In Jucker and Taavitsainen (eds)
Taavitsainen, Irma and Andreas H. Jucker, (2007) Speech acts and speech act verbs in the history of English. In
Fitzmaurice, Susan and Irma Taavitsainen (eds) Methods in Historical Pragmatics. Berlin and New York:
Mouton de Gruyter. 107-138.
Taavitsainen, Irma and Andres H, Jucker, Politeness and speech acts in eighteenth-century English. In Eighteenth
Century English. Ideology and Change. Ed by Raymond Hickey. Cambridge: CUP.
Sali A. Tagliamonte
(University of Toronto)
English has (got) it: grammaticalizing change in comparative perspective
Friday, 15:30 – 16:00, Room 1015
Contextual constraints in linguistic change are thought to remain constant as change progresses
(Kroch 1989). However recent research suggests that in grammaticalizing change constraints on
variable forms may also strengthen or weaken as part of the developmental process (Poplack and
Tagliamonte 1999; Tagliamonte 2004). Comparative studies of actively changing linguistic
features of English provide the opportunity for exploring this further. Layering of forms for
stative possessive in English in (1) is a case in point.
(1) I’ve got a cousin that has it and she gets it every month (Northern Ireland)
Using the comparative method and a quantitative approach I provide an analysis of the variation
illustrated in (1) in a selection of British and Northern Irish dialects, each of which have evolved
in contrasting social and geographic situations. Extrapolating from suggestions that the details of
a form’s lexical history may be reflected in constraints on its current distribution (Hopper and
Traugott 1993, Bybee et al. 1994), I test for internal constraints which have been implicated in
this grammatical change, including type of reference, nature of the subject and object,
contraction, negation and question formation (Jespersen 1961, Visser 1963-73, Kroch 1989)
The results reveal, for example, that while certain constraints are constant over time (have got is
favoured with concrete objects), others result from developments in the trajectory of change.
Different intra-dialectal distributions across generations as well as idiosyncratic cross-dialectal
patterns provide additional insights into the underlying mechanisms of change in this area of
English grammar. This history is still apparent, to a greater or less degree, depending on the
constraint and the point on the gramamticalization path embodied in the data.
Bybee, J. L., Perkins, R. D. and Pagliuca, W. (1994) The evolution of grammar: Tense, aspect, and modality in the
languages of the world. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Hopper, P. J. and Traugott, E. C. (1993) Grammaticalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Jespersen, O. H. (1961) A Modern English grammar: Part IV Syntax. VII. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd.
Kroch, A. S. (1989) Reflexes of grammar in patterns of language change. Language variation and change. 1(3):
Poplack, Shana and Tagliamonte, Sali A. (1999) The grammaticalization of going to in (African American) English.
Language Variation and Change 11(3): 315-342.
Tagliamonte, Sali A. (2003) “Every place has a different toll“: Determinants of grammatical variation in crossvariety perspective. In Rhodenberg, G. and Mondorf, B. (Eds.), Determinants of grammatical variation in
English. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 531-554.
Visser, F. (1963-73) An historical syntax of the English language. Leiden: E.J. Brill.
Thora Tenbrink
(University of Bremen)
CODA: a method for investigating language expressing cognitive processes
Thursday, 16:30 – 17:00, Room 1021
Language is often viewed as a window to cognition. In spite of this central fact in cognitive
science, the precise nature of the relationship between language and cognition is still seriously
underspecified. This is mainly due to a lack of interdisciplinary co-ordination. Experts in
linguistics typically focus on language as a system and language produced for purposes of
interaction. In other areas in cognitive science such as psychology, language – for instance,
produced as verbal reports in cognitively demanding tasks – is seen as an important externalization of cognitive processes; however, lacking the relevant linguistic expertise, crucial facts
about language and language use cannot be accounted for in the analysis. This contribution
presents an innovative methodology to remedy this discrepancy. Cognitive Discourse Analysis
(CODA) was developed and applied first for the investigation of particular spatial and temporal
dimensional terms in English and German in Tenbrink (2007), building on related research. A
crucial feature of this method is to enable speakers to spontaneously produce language in
precisely defined tasks but without external influence as far as linguistic choices are concerned.
The basic assumption that is central to CODA is that both subtle and obvious distinctions in
language reflect underlying differences with respect to cognitive components and processes. The
investigation of systematic differences in relation to the given task and discourse setting leads to
a better understanding of the relationship between language and underlying conceptions. This
general idea is referred to as psychopragmatics (as opposed to sociopragmatics, the
investigation of language used for communicative purposes) by Caron-Pargue and Caron (1991).
I will present the approach in general and provide illustrative examples taken from ongoing
research in which the method is applied.
Caron-Pargue, Josiane and Jean Caron (1991) Psychopragmatics vs. sociopragmatics: the function of pragmatic
markers in thinking-aloud protocols. In Jef Verschueren (ed.), Pragmatics at issue: Selected papers of the
International Pragmatics Conference, Antwerp, August 17-22, 1987, Volume I. Amsterdam: Benjamins,
pp. 29-36.
Tenbrink, Thora (2007) Space, time, and the use of language: An investigation of relationships. Berlin: Mouton de
Stefan Thim
(University of Potsdam)
Constructing otherness: frequency, style and the ideology of the English phrasal verb
Friday, 15:30 – 16:00, Room 1023
From the 18th century onwards (following Samuel Johnson’s observations in the Preface to his
Dictionary) the phrasal verbs have been used as a means to construct a distinctive linguistic
identity for English. Consequently, the phrasal verbs have come to be characterized as a
construction which is peculiar to English and somehow special in its semantic, syntactic and
stylistic properties, and which is neither tied to the Latinate (‘High’) variety nor comparable to
other languages. E.g., in their discussion of the frequencies of the most common phrasal verbs in
four registers (‘conversation’, ‘fiction’, ‘news’, ‘academic prose’) Biber et al. (1999: 409) state:
Overall, conversation and fiction show much greater use of the most common phrasal verbs than news and
academic prose. The difference is especially noteworthy for intransitive phrasal verbs, which are extremely
common in conversation and fiction, but extremely rare in news and academic prose. One reason for this is that
most phrasal verbs are colloquial in tone.
A closer look at the figures in Biber et al. (1999), though, raises the question whether it is their
colloquiality that accounts for the relative lack of the most common phrasal verbs in news and in
academic prose – altogether, the figures are quite inconclusive. In many instances phrasal verbs
are stylistically neutral (e.g. look up a word); in some cases they may even be distinctly formal
(e.g. call forth). The discussion in Biber et al. is typical; cf. Quirk et al. (1985: ch. 16.3f.) among
very many similar examples.
Where does that preconception come from? As I have shown elsewhere (Thim 2007), it is not
before the end of the 18th century that phrasal verbs come to be regarded as colloquial; indeed,
characterizations of earlier occurrences of phrasal verbs as ‘colloquial’ or ‘informal’ (cf. Strang
1970 and practically all subsequent discussions in the literature) are quite implausible at closer
Despite the undeniable fact that the English verb-particle construction does have some
characteristic properties (with notable differences between different varieties, cf. Schneider 2004
and Rohdenburg 2007) these properties tend to be vastly overemphasized as the result of an
ideologically motivated attempt at constructing a degree of linguistic otherness that is hardly
corroborated by the linguistic data. In the light of this insight I will propose a reassessment of the
phrasal verbs in English.
Biber, Douglas et al. (1999) Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English. London: Longman.
Quirk, Randolph et al. (1985) A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. London: Longman.
Rohdenburg, Günter. (2007) “Grammatical Divergence between British and American English in the 19th and Early
20th Centuries”. Paper read at the 3rd Late Modern English Conference, Leiden, 30 August–1 September
Schneider, Edgar W. (2004) “How to Trace Structural Nativization: Particle Verbs in World Englishes”. World
Englishes 23 (2). 227–249.
Strang, Barbara M.H. (1970) A History of English. London: Methuen.
Thim, Stefan. (2007) “Lexicalization, Usage and Attitude: The Colloquialization of the Verb-Particle Construction
in Late Modern English”. Paper read at the 3rd Late Modern English Conference, Leiden, 30 August–1
September 2007.
Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade
(University of Leiden)
The usage guide: its birth and popularity
Thursday, 10:30 – 11:00, Room 1015
When Fowler’s Modern English Usage was published in 1926, 60,000 copies were sold in its
first year (McMorris 2001: 178). A second revised edition by Sir Ernest Gowers in 1965 and a
third in 1996 by R.W. Burchfield testify to its continued success. Burchfield stresses Fowler’s
“isolation … from the mainstream of linguistic scholarship” (1996:vii), yet the work shows a
remarkable similarity of approach with parts of the grammar by Robert Lowth, published more
than 150 years earlier in 1762, and Robert Baker’s Reflections on the English Language of 1770.
The latter work, unique and unusual though it is (Vorlat 2001), can, I think, be considered the
first in a long tradition of usage guides such as Fowler’s.
In this paper I intend to explore the relationship between the works of Fowler, Baker and Lowth.
As neither Fowler nor Baker appear to have relied on Lowth’s grammar, the similarity between
the three must be looked for in the nature of the work they undertook to write and the audience
for which they wrote. I will show that Lowth’s grammar, though not a usage guide in its own
right, contains parts, particularly the footnotes to its section on syntax, that can be considered as
representing an embryonic stage in the evolution of the usage guide. It is this that accounts for its
immediate popularity at the time, as well as the scorn in which Lowth is generally held by
modern linguists today (Hussey 1995; Pullum 1974; Tieken-Boon van Ostade 2006). In my
paper I will also analyse the treatment of the writers by modern linguists, including the authors
responsible for revising Fowler’s Modern English Usage.
Burchfield, R. (1996) Fowler’s Modern English Usage [3rd ed.; repr. 2004]. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Hussey, Stanley (1995) The English Language. Structure and Development. London/New York: Longman.
McMorris, Jenny (2001) The Warden of English. The Life of H.W. Fowler. Oxford: University Press.
Pullum, Geoffrey (1974) “Lowth’s grammar: A re-evaluation”. Linguistics, 137. 63−78.
Tieken-Boon van Ostade, Ingrid (2006) “Eighteenth-century prescriptivism and the norm of correctness”. In: Ans
van Kemenade and Bettelou Los (eds.), The Handbook of the History of English. Oxford: Blackwell.
Vorlat, Emma (2001) “Lexical rules in Robert Baker’s ‘Reflections on the English Lanaguage’”. Leuvense
Bijdragen 90/4. 391-401.
Heli Tissari
(University of Helsinki)
What kind of force?
On conceptual metaphors of emotion and passion in 17th- to 20th-century English
Saturday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1016
Diller characterises Middle English passions as “outside forces affecting the human person”
(2007: 17). A look at the noun emotion, occurring 86 times in A Representative Corpus of
Historical English Registers (ARCHER, 1650–1990), suggests that it can be either an inner, felt
force, or an outer force felt by the experiencer, or doing something to the experiencer.
This paper will further characterise the behaviour of the nouns emotion and passion as forces in
17th- to 20th-century English in terms of conceptual metaphor theory (Kövecses 1990, 2000).
FORCE represents the source domain being mapped on the target domain EMOTION or PASSION.
Apart from differences between the two target domains, the research questions include:
1. (a) What kind of FORCES occur?
(b) What about demarcation problems?
Do people display the effects of these FORCES? (Does the data suggest any norms
regarding the expression or representation of EMOTION/PASSION?)
Do the FORCES downplay people’s own responsibility for their behaviour?
Other metaphors are discussed to the extent necessary to get a relevant overall view. Apart from
using the ARCHER, my aim is to find other suitable corpus data for the study. If necessary, I
also propose to have a look at the Oxford English Dictionary as a corpus.
Diller, Hans-Jürgen. 2007. From mōd to emotion (or almost): the medieval gestation of a modern concept. Studies in
Middle English Forms and Meanings, ed. by Gabriella Mazzon. Frankfurt a.M.: Lang. 13–39.
Kövecses, Zoltán. 1990. Emotion Concepts. Berlin: Springer.
--- 2000. Metaphor and Emotion: Language, Culture, and Body in Human Feeling. Cambridge: CUP.
Tissari, Heli. 2001. Affection, friendship, passion and charity: A history of four ‘love lexemes’ since the fifteenth
century. Neuphilologische Mitteilungen CII:1, 49–76.
Michael Toolan
(University of Birmingham)
Stylistics as a raising of questions about the language of literary texts
Thursday, 17:00 – 17:30, Room 1098
Sometimes stylisticians give the impression that their discipline is all about giving answers:
answers to questions about why a particular poem prompts a particular effect, or reaction, or
interpretation in ‘the’ reader (or ‘these readers’ or just ‘this stylistician’). The stylistician’s
answer always points to some particular feature or resources in the language, on which the poem
draws. But answers are interactionally problematic, when they signify ‘job done’, ‘case closed’.
I want to draw attention to the way that doing stylistics can provoke questions—or provoke
further questions in the course of answering a first question. Because stylistic analyses often
cause us to frame further questions (about the literary text and its properties, and about the
procedures used to analyse it) they extend the conversation, open it out, and make it potentially
relevant to issues and interests not foreseen at the outset.
Among the numerous recent questions stylisticians have asked are the following: What are the
linguistic roots of texture and textual coherence? What are the crucial language resources that
cause a reader to feel ‘involved’ in a poem? What interpretive effects in a narrative can be linked
with the presence of forms of negation or modality? How does assumed deictic orientation
contribute to the reader’s judgements about point of view, and reader-character empathy or
sympathy? What are the consequences of choices among the different modes of speech, thought
and writing presentation found in novels? And so on. I will talk further about the questions I
have been recently asking, about the textual sources of readers’ expectations about and sense of
‘immersion in’ literary narratives, and report on the further questions that my analyses have
Gunnel Tottie and Anja Neukom-Hermann
(University of Zurich)
Negation and quantifier scope: corpus data and linguistic theory
Thursday, 12:00 – 12:30, Room 1023
Philosophers and theoretical linguists have devoted a lot of attention to sentences where
universal quantifiers precede negation (all+not) like (1), discussing the possible interpretations in
(2) and (3). (Cf. Horn 1989.) In (2) negation has scope over the universal quantifier all (Neg-Q) ,
whereas in (3), the negative has scope only over the verb (Neg-V).
(1) All the boys did not leave
(2) ‘Not all the boys left (i.e. some stayed)’
(3) ‘All the boys ‘not-left’ (none of the boys left, i.e. all stayed)’
Scholars basing their arguments purely on logic have argued that the Neg-V reading is the only
legitimate interpretation, but Tottie and Neukom-Hermann (forthcoming), show that in the 100
million words of the British National Corpus (BNC), the most frequent reading by far is that in
(2), and that (3) is extremely rare.
But why do speakers use (1) at all rather than the unambiguous structures where the negative
expression actually precedes the universal quantifier (not+all), as in (4)?
(4) Not all the boys left
In this paper, we examine the use of the the two types, all+not and not+all, in the BNC, and
show that there are large differences between spoken and written language. Thus in spoken
language both all+not nor not+all are much less frequent than in written language (1.9 vs. 9.35
instances per million words). Moreover, the proportions of the two types are radically different
in speech and writing: speakers prefer the all+not construction (63%) , and writers the not+all
construction (72%). (Similar results apply to constructions with every.)
We believe our findings can only be accommodated by a cognitively based linguistic theory and
discuss how they can be interpreted in a construction grammar framework.
Tottie, Gunnel, and Neukom-Hermann (1989) “Negation in Theory and Use: Quantifier Scope and Other Interactions.”
In The Expression of Negation, edited by Laurence R. Horn. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Horn, Lawrence R. (1989) A Natural History of Negation. London and Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Elizabeth Closs Traugott
(Stanford University)
Paths for English language studies
Presidential address, Wednesday, 18:30, Room 1010
In the latter half of the twentieth century English set much of the agenda for theoretical linguistics.
Meanwhile English came to be a global language; Crystal (2006) suggested that by the year 2000
approximately 25% of the world’s population was able to use English at some level of
communication. However, it has recently been emphasized that English is in many respects
unusual among the languages of Europe (see the EUROTYP volumes), and even among the
languages of the world, as measured by criteria of typology (e.g. Croft 2002) or of the cartography
of UG and comparative syntax (e.g. Cinque and Kayne 2005). While the internet may prove to be a
conservative factor in maintaining or increasing the role of English(es), geopolitical shifts may
nevertheless bring about significant changes in the future (McArthur 2006). Against the backdrop
of these developments, I outline some trends in English language studies, with particular attention
to recent shifts in linguistics, among them the call for grounding in empirical evidence; attention to
variation and to micro-factors, whether micro-parameters or micro-changes; and especially to
meaning, both linguistic and social. I conclude that English language studies are flourishing and
have been invigorated by investigation of varieties of English world-wide.
Hildegard L.C. Tristram
(University of Freiburg)
Dee Timothy – alveolar fricatives in the languages of the former inner and outer colonies
Thursday, 17:00 – 17.30, Room 1016
Realisations of <th> in English vary considerably across time and space as well as between
social groups, registers and style. The present paper will establish a typology of variable <th>
realisations and raise questions about the conditioning factors of this variance in the Englishes
spoken in the former inner and outer colonies.
Graeme Trousdale and Thomas Hoffmann
(University of Edinburgh / University of Regensburg)
Variation, change and constructions in English: theory and method
Friday, 10:30 – 11:00, Room 1098
For more than ten years now, construction-based approaches to grammar (cf. e.g. Fillmore and
Kay 1996; Sag 1997; Ginzburg and Sag 2000; Croft 2001; Langacker 2005; Goldberg 2006)
have become increasingly popular. The basic tenet of such approaches is that all levels of
grammatical description (morphemes, words, idioms, abstract phrasal patterns) involve
constructions, i.e. conventionalised form-meaning pairings. In line with the general theme of the
ISLE conference, in the workshop we would like to explore how construction-based approaches
provide new insights for the study of the English language as well as how data from the English
language can help to refine construction grammar theories. In particular we would like to address
the questions of how synchronic variation and diachronic change in the English language can be
captured by construction grammar approaches as well as how such data can help to decide
between competing models of construction grammar.
The main topics to be addressed are as follows:
1. Empirical data and their construction grammar interpretation
All proponents of construction grammar claim that “[a]ny construction with unique idiosyncratic
morphological, syntactic, lexical, semantic, pragmatic or discourse-functional properties” (Croft
and Cruse 2004: 263) must be stored in a speaker’s construction network, i.e. his/her mental
grammar. However, how can we uncover such idiosyncrasies in our empirical sources (e.g. in the
various English corpora such BROWN, FROWN, FLOB, LOB or the ICE project/ in
introspection experiments / etc.)? What kind of generalisations about a speaker’s mental
construction grammar can be drawn from such data?
2. Usage and grammar: the role of (type and token) frequency in entrenchment
A major issue within the construction grammar community concerns the role of frequency of
constructions in language use: “usage-based models” (e.g., Langacker 2005; Goldberg 2006)
advocate that, in addition to idiosyncrasy, frequent use of a construction can also lead to it being
cognitively entrenched, even if its properties can be completely derived compositionally.
“Complete-inheritance models” (e.g., Fillmore and Kay 1996; Ginzburg and Sag 2000, on the
other hand, deny that highly frequent but compositional constructions must be stored. Does the
English language exhibit phenomena which could be argued to show that high type or token
frequency affect the mental entrenchment of constructions? If so, how can we quantitatively
support such claims (e.g. by statistical analysis)? Or can all phenomena in question be handled
by complete-inheritance models?
3. Construction Grammar and synchronic variation
In present-day English two or more structural variants often seem to be possible realisations of a
single linguistic variable (take, e.g., preposition stranding the topic which he talked about and
pied piping the topic about which he talked or particle placement turn the lights on vs. turn on
the lights). What is the empirical distribution of such variants and how are these mentally
associated? Is there a need to postulate a highly schematic superordinate construction for
linguistic variables such “preposition placement” or “particle placement” (cf. Capelle’s 2006
allostructional model)? Or are such variables only linguistic generalisations without a mental
representation (cf. Gries 2003)? Furthermore, how do data from non-standard Englishes help us
to refine our understanding of a speaker’s constructional network? Specifically, how do we
incorporate idiolectal, dialectal and sociolinguistic variation into a theory of constructions?
4. Construction Grammar accounts of diachronic change
Recent research in historical linguistics (e.g. Hollmann 2003, Hilpert 2007, Bergs and Diewald
forthcoming) has foregrounded the place of constructions in accounts of syntactic change. How
can issues in the diachronic development of English syntax be captured in construction grammar
approaches? In what way do grammaticalisation and lexicalisation affect the construction
network of a speaker? How have constructions emerged in the history of the language? What can
historical data from English suggest about the relationship between lexical categories and
Bergs, A. and G. Diewald (Forthcoming) Constructions and language change. Berlin/New York: Mouton de
Cappelle, B. (2006) “Particle placement and the case for ‘allostructions’”. Constructions SV1-7.
Croft, W. (2001) Radical Construction Grammar: Syntactic Theory in Typological Perspective. Oxford: Oxford
University Press.
Hilpert, M. (2007) Germanic future constructions: a usage-based approach to grammaticalization. PhD dissertation.
Rice University.
Hollmann, W. (2003) Synchrony and diachrony of English periphrastic causatives: a diachronic perspective. PhD
dissertation. University of Manchester.
Fillmore, C.J. and P. Kay (1996) Construction Grammar. Manuscript, University of California at Berkeley
Department of Linguistics.
Ginzburg, J. and I.A. Sag (2000) Interrogative Investigations: The Form, Meaning, and Use of English
Interrogatives. Stanford, CA: CSLI publications.
Goldberg, A.E. (2003) “Constructions: A new theoretical approach to language“. TRENDS in Cognitive Sciences
7,5: 219-224.
Goldberg, A.E. (2006) Constructions at Work: The Nature of Generalisation in Language. Oxford University Press.
Gries, S. Th. (2003) Multifactorial Analysis in Corpus Linguistics. New York, London: Continuum.
Langacker, R.W. (2005) “Construction Grammars: Cognitive, radical, and less so“. In: F.J. Ruiz de Mendoza Ibánez
and M.S. Pena Cervel, eds. Cognitive Linguistics: Internal Dynamics and Interdisciplinary Interaction.
Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Sag, I.A. (1997) “English relative clause constructions“. Journal of Linguistics 33: 431-484.
Johan van der Auwera
(University of Antwerpen)
On English-German contrastive typology – a Dutch perspective
Thursday, 14:30 – 15:00, Room 1019
A classic in the comparative typology of West Germanic is Hawkins (1986). Though it has been
criticized (esp. by Rohdenburg, Köpcke and Panther), many of the arguments and generalizations
remain valid (as can be seen also in König and Gast 2007), and in areas where it went wrong, the
criticism it generated has allowed us to get a clearer understanding of the differences between
German and English. Surprisingly, one has not (sufficiently) applied the Hawkins (1986)
hypotheses to Dutch. The paper will focus on what Hawkins considered to be three cases of
‘raising’, illustrated for English in (1)–(3).
(1) Frank seems to be at home.
(2) I believe Frank to be at home.
(3) Frank is tough to please.
[‘Subject-to-Subject Raising’]
[‘Subject-to-Object Raising’]
[‘Object-to-Subject Raising’]
The original Hawkins (1986) conclusion (endorsed by König and Gast 2007: 211) is that German
is more restricted, either because the raising construction is impossible or because it is possible
with only a subset of the predicates that allow it in English. It will be shown that Dutch is
‘between’ German and English for each of the three subtypes, but rather more like German for
Subject-to-Subject and Subject-to-Object Raising, and rather more like English for Object-toSubject Raising. Both the intermediate status of Dutch raising and the fact that this intermediacy
may put Dutch closer to either German or English can be related to other aspects of the
contrastive typology of West Germanic.
Hawkins, John A. (1986) A Comparative Typology of English and German. Unifying the Contrasts. London: Croom
König, Ekkerhard, and Gast, Volker (2007) Understanding English-German Contrasts. Berlin: Erich Schmidt.
Ans van Kemenade
(University of Nijmegen)
Object scrambling and demonstrative pronouns:
The dialectal development of OV word order in Middle English
Wednesday, 16:30 – 17:00, Room 1016
I present novel data and analysis of OV/VO word order variation in early Middle English, from a
theoretical perspective that combines formal syntax and insights from discourse studies with
variationist statistical analysis. It has often been said in the literature that the loss of OV word
order in the course of Middle English started, like so many innovations, in the North and
diffused to the South. This is broadly correct as far as it goes, but is not particularly informative.
Sub-types of OV order are differentially lost in dialects and it is poorly understood how and why.
I start from the account of word order in terms of interaction of syntax and discourse proposed
for Old English in van Kemenade, Milicev and Baayen (2008), van Kemenade (2008) and
further explore one consequence of this account which is interesting and illuminating for an
understanding of the (dialectally diffuse) loss of OV word order in Middle English. It is argued
that in Old English, much more strongly than in Middle English, word order is organised in
terms of discourse domains: constituents that occur “early” in the clause refer back specifically
to a discourse antecedent – this includes all kinds of pronouns, but also NP’s with a weak
demonstrative pronoun, which is definite, but crucially also specific, allowing discoursesensitive scrambling. There is thus a significant relation between the preverbal position of a
constituent and the presence of a demonstrative pronoun. In this paper I will demonstrate the
dialectal correlation between the loss of demonstrative pronouns (their recategorization as
definite determiner, understood as loss of specificity, though not of definiteness), and the loss of
OV order.
Kemenade, A. van, T. Milicev and R.H.Baayen (in press) The balance between syntax and discourse in Old English.
In Gotti, M, M.Dossena and R.Dury (eds.) Selected Papers from the Fourteenth International Conference
on English Historical Linguistics (ICEHL 14), Bergamo, 21-25 August 2006. Volume I: Syntax and
Morphology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Kemenade, A. van (In press) Discourse relations and word order change. In Hinterhölzl, R and S. Petrova (eds.)
Information Structure and Language Change. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
An van Linden
(University of Leuven)
The clausal complementation of deontic-evaluative adjectives:
a functional synchronic approach
Thursday, 17:00 – 17:30, Room 1023
The literature on complementation has focused primarily on verbal rather than adjectival
complementation (e.g., Givón 1980; Noonan 1985; Wierzbicka 1988; Noël 2003), and accounts
of modality have concentrated mainly on modal auxiliaries rather than adjectives expressing
modal meanings (e.g., Coates 1983; Palmer 1986, 2001; Bybee et al. 1994; Van der Auwera and
Plungian 1998). This paper intends to fill the gap with regard to adjectives in these two domains:
it presents a functional account of the clausal complementation patterns found with deonticevaluative adjectives in Present-Day English. The adjectives under investigation are listed in (1)
in terms of weak versus strong lexical meaning. In particular, this paper will examine thatclauses and to-clauses occurring in extraposition constructions (ECs), as in (2) and (3)-(4)
(1) (a) weak: appropriate, good, fitting, important, proper, suitable
(b) strong: critical, crucial, essential, indispensable, necessary, needful, vital
(2) Dearest Battista It seems good, that you should profit from this occasion and open
yourself to Padre Caresana about your future; he is the best person to give you advice.
(3) With the scourge of illegal narcotics infecting every part of the world, it is crucial to
educate young people about the dangers of drugs. (CB)
(4) During your stay, hospital medicine will be administered as appropriate. If it is necessary
for you to take medicine home with you, these will be provided. (CB)
Apart from charting the formal distribution of complements, the paper also examines the
semantics of the [matrix + complement] construction. More specifically, it will be argued that
the adjectival constructions can express three types of meaning, and that the semantic
distribution is lexically determined. First, situational dynamic meaning, which involves
indications of possibilities/necessities inherent in situations (Nuyts 2006: 4), can only be
expressed by strong adjectives (cf. (4)). Second, deontic meaning can be expressed by both types
of adjectives (cf. (2)-(3)). Third, evaluative meaning can only be expressed by weak adjectives.
The distinction between deontic and evaluative meaning will be proposed to hinge on the
ontological status of the complement. More precisely, constructions with complements
expressing a potential State of Affairs (SoA), as in (2) and (3), will be taken to express deontic
modal meaning, as the speaker estimates the degree of (moral) desirability of the SoAs (Nuyts
2005: 9-10). Constructions with complements expressing an already actualised SoA do not have
this deontic flavour; they are merely evaluative. Examples of the latter type are given below.
(5) [I]t’s important that the NEC is now dominated by members of the Shadow Cabinet.
(6) It was poignant and entirely fitting that the nation should fall silent for one minute on
Sunday to demonstrate its sympathy for Dunblane’s awful loss (report, March 18, 1996
(March 13, a massacre took place in Dunblane, Scotland) (CB)
(7) It is good to see an English-bred horse showing looseness and three scope paces and,
although the changes are not yet easy for him, he has much potential. (CB)
At the moment of speaking, the actions expressed by the clausal complements have been
actualised (in (6)) or are being actualised (in (5) and (7)). Unlike in (2) and (3), the speaker does
not want the complement SoAs to happen; s/he merely evaluates their actualisation positively.
As both the deontic and evaluative examples are construed with both that- and to-clauses, the
formal distinction cross-cuts the semantic division proposed here. On the basis of these findings,
this paper proposes a functional map, in which the formal, semantic, and lexical distinctions will
be incorporated.
This study draws on data from the Cobuild Corpus, and involves a qualitative as well as a
quantitative analysis. The qualitative analysis is based on samples that are either exhaustive or
consist of 100 examples per adjective. The quantitative analysis focuses on extraposed to-clauses
(all exhaustive samples), and is a multiple distinctive collexeme analysis (cf. Gries and
Stefanowitsch 2004).
Bybee, Joan, Revere Perkins and William Pagliuca (1994) The Evolution of Grammar: Tense, Aspect, and Modality
in the Languages of the World. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.
Coates, Jennifer (1983) The Semantics of the Modal Auxiliaries. London and Canberra: Croom Helm.
Givón, Talmy (1980) The binding hierarchy and the typology of complements. Studies in Language 4.3: 333–377.
Gries, Stefan and Anatol Stefanowitsch (2004) Extending collostructional analysis: a corpus-based perspective on
‘alternations’. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 9.1: 97-129.
Noël, Dirk (2003) Is there semantics in all syntax? The case of accusative and infinitive constructions vs. thatclauses. In G. Rohdenburg and B. Mondorf (eds.) Determinants of grammatical variation in English
(Topics in English linguistics, 43.). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 347–377.
Noonan, Micheal (1985) Complementation. In T. SHOPEN (ed.) Language typology and syntactic description: Vol 2:
Complex constructions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 42–140.
Nuyts, Jan (2005) The modal confusion: On terminology and the concepts behind it. In: A. Klinge, H. Müller (eds.),
Modality: Studies in form and function, 5-38. London: Equinox.
Nuyts, Jan (2006) Modality: Overview and linguistic issues. In: W. Frawley (ed.), The expression of modality, 1-26.
Berlin: Mouton.
Palmer, Frank Robert (1986) Mood and Modality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Palmer, Frank Robert (2001) Mood and Modality. (2nd edition) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Van der Auwera, Johan and Vladimir Plungian. 1998. Modality’s semantic map. Linguistic Typology 2: 79-124.
Wierzbicka, Anna. (1988) The semantics of grammar. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Lieven Vandelanotte
(University of Namur)
Is the echo question a type of reported speech?
Friday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1016
While the echo question (henceforth EQ, exemplified in 1) has long interested scholars (e.g.
Bolinger 1957, 1987; Banfield 1982; McCawley 1987; Ginzburg and Sag 2001 to name but a
few), it has recently received ample attention in the framework of Relevance Theory (Blakemore
1994, Noh 1998, Iwata 2003) in which ‘echo’ is defined as a combination of a
metarepresentation and an attitude expressed towards this metarepresentation.
(1) Have you ever heard of Sigmund Freud? – Have I ever heard of Sigmund Freud?
Against this background, the present paper re-examines the claim made by Yamaguchi (1994)
that EQs are a form of reported speech. In a first step, it is argued that the type of reported
speech EQs have most in common with is ‘distancing indirect speech/thought’ or DIST
(Vandelanotte 2004a). Unlike in direct or free indirect speech, where there are full or partial
deictic shifts to the represented speaker’s deictic centre, in DIST the deictic centre is held
constant even though the current speaker clearly borrows from a separate represented speaker’s
discourse, which she appropriates and uses either more associatively or more dissociatively (cf.
Vandelanotte 2004b, Dancygier and Vandelanotte forthcoming).
In a second step, the possibility that EQs should be included in the category of DIST (or indeed
any other category of reported speech) is considered and rejected. At least three constructional
properties differ between them: the involvement of two speech situations (in reported speech) vs.
only one (in EQs), as shown also by tense use across ‘echoed’ utterance and EQ; the necessary
involvement of ‘attitude’ in DIST, vs. its absence in some EQs, which can metarepresent without
expressing attitudes of dissociation; and the non-change (DIST) vs. change (EQs) in speech
function, since EQs by their very nature impose a questioning attitude on the metarepresented
utterance, whereas reported speech does not.
Banfield, Ann (1982) Unspeakable sentences. Narration and representation in the language of fiction. Boston:
Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Blakemore, Diane (1994) Echo questions: A pragmatic account. Lingua 94: 197-211.
Bolinger, Dwight (1957) Interrogative structures of American English: The direct question (Publications of the
American dialect society 28). Alabama: University of Alabama Press.
Bolinger, Dwight (1987) Echoes reechoed. American Speech 62 (3): 261-279.
Dancygier, Barbara and Lieven Vandelanotte (forthcoming) Judging distances: Mental spaces, distance, and
viewpoint in literary discourse. In G. Brône and J. Vandaele (eds.) Cognitive poetics: Goals, gains and
gaps (Applications of Cognitive Linguistics). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Ginzburg, Jonathan and Ivan A. Sag (2001) Interrogative investigations: The form, meaning, and use of English
interrogatives (CSLI lecture notes 123). Stanford: CSLI Publications.
Iwata, Seizi (2003) Echo questions are interrogatives? Another version of a metarepresentational analysis.
Linguistics and Philosophy 26: 185-254.
McCawley, James D. (1987) The syntax of English echoes. CLS 23: 246-258.
Noh, Eun-Ju (1998) Echo questions: Metarepresentation and pragmatic enrichment. Linguistics and Philosophy 21:
Vandelanotte, Lieven (2004a) Deixis and grounding in speech and thought representation. Journal of Pragmatics 36
(3): 489-520.
Vandelanotte, Lieven (2004b) From representational to scopal ‘distancing indirect speech or thought’: A cline of
subjectification. Text 24 (4): 547-585.
Ferdinand von Mengden
(University of Hamburg)
Grammaticalization versus grammatical change
Saturday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1015
Many of the currently controversial issues in the context of grammaticalization are due to the
lack of a uniform idea of what exactly the notion of ‘grammaticalization’ comprises. As a
consequence of these difficulties, I shall propose a delimitation of the notion of
‘grammaticalization’ to Meillet’s original concept, thus reducing the concept to the change from
a lexical to a (more) functional element. Any process comprised in a wider sense of the term
‘grammaticalization – including any development of a grammatical morpheme or construction,
irrespective of its source, and including the emergence of a grammatical category in a particular
language, irrespective of how the morphological material coding this category came into being –
will then be treated as processes distinct from, albeit potentially concomitant with (Meillet’s)
‘grammaticalization’. Other micro-processes that potentially, but not necessarily, co-occur with
grammaticalization (in this narrow sense) are to be located on different linguistic levels and
should therefore be treated as distinct processes. These are, for instance, attrition (phonology);
reanalysis, univerbation (morphosyntax), but also phenomena like ‘functional reduction’
(Norde), ‘innovation’ (Lehmann), ‘renovation’ (Lehmann) or ‘deflexion’ (Norde).
The result will be a more fine-grained perspective on what can generally be termed ‘grammatical
change’. In this paper, I shall use the example of the various Middle and Modern English
instantiations of the Old English noun lic ‘body’ and the history of the PDE possessive marker ‘s
to demonstrate potential advantages of this model on grammatical change. I shall try to
demonstrate that such a perspective may provide a new impetus for a number of currently
debated theoretical questions.
Lehmann, Christian (1982) Thoughts on Grammaticalization: A programmatic sketch. Vol. 1. akup: Arbeiten des
Kölner Universalien-Projekts 48. Köln: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft, Universität zu Köln.
Meillet, Paul Antoine (1912) “L’évolution des formes grammaticales.” Scientia (Rivista di Scienza) 6 (vol.12): 384400.
Norde, Muriel (2001) “Deflexion as a counterdirectional factor in grammatical change.” Language Sciences 23:
Susanne Wagner
(University of Freiburg / Kent)
The Survey of English Dialects and Alexander Ellis
– a case of children repudiating their parent?
Saturday, 10:30 – 11:00, Room 1098
In 1889, the fifth volume of Alexander Ellis’ On Early English Pronunciation (Ellis 1889) was
published. As indicated in the subtitle, its aim was to establish existing dialectal pronunciations
and compare them to “traditional” (West Saxon) ones. However, Ellis’ diligent work allows
conclusions on much more than accents.
Ellis primarily used an indirect method to collect information from all over England, Wales,
Scotland and Ireland. A comparative specimen, consisting of 15 two- to three-line paragraphs to
be translated into the local dialect by (educated) natives, was sent out in early stages of the
project. However, the rather long piece proved to be too ambitious, and was later substituted by a
short dialect test. A word list was also used, and the information from these indirect sources was
supplemented by fieldwork in a manner very similar to that of the SED fieldworkers almost a
century later (cf. Ellis 1889: 4–5).
This paper will show how Ellis’ dialect test and comparative specimen can be used to establish
regional distributions of such features as relative markers, negation patterns, and personal
pronoun forms. When checking maps based on Ellis’ data against those based on the published
SED material, the similarities – despite a time difference of almost 70 years – are striking.
Moreover, comparing locations targeted by Ellis and later by the SED fieldworkers reveals a
certain indebtedness of the latter to the former – it seems highly unlikely that such a huge
overlap is coincidental.
So why does Ellis’ work remain largely unused (or even unknown)? Shorrocks (1991: 324) cites
later scholars’ negative attitude (particularly those of SED fame like Eugen Dieth and Joseph
Wright) towards Ellis’ work as one of the main reasons why many present-day researchers have
not even heard of Ellis as a dialectologist. This paper is an attempt at remedying this situation.
Ellis, Alexander J. (1889) On Early English Pronunciation. Vol. V. Existing dialectal as compared with West Saxon
pronunciation. London: Trübner.
Ridwan Wahid
(University of New South Wales, Sydney)
The use of articles in American English, British English, Singapore English
and Indian English: a corpus-based comparative study
Saturday, 11:00 – 11:30, Room 1019
In this paper, I compare the use of articles in several varieties of English using the International
Corpus of English. Instances of untypical uses of the, a/an and zero in non-native varieties will
be demonstrated and accounted for semantically and pragmatically. All uses of the will be seen
as encoding identifiability. In untypical uses, sometimes this identifiability is forced upon the
hearer, resulting in a continuum of acceptability, i.e. the extent to which this identifiability can
be pragmatically accepted by the hearer. It will be proposed that the least acceptable ones signal
‘specificity’ in the sense that a speaker explicitly indicates possession of knowledge of the NP’s
entity to the hearer but does not identify it.
The untypical use of a/an often presupposes a recategorisation of countness of the entities
involved. It will be suggested that the way similar entities are construed in the substrate
languages may play a part in this phenomenon. Syntactically, this is supported by the presence of
premodifiers making the usually noncount entity an instance of a kind. An untypical use of a/an
can also mean that an otherwise uniquely identifiable referent is reduced of its maximum
quantity (inclusiveness), bringing forth the interpretation that other similar entities, although
highly unusual, are available.
The untypical uses of the zero article are of three types. One, what is otherwise known as
omission of the definite article can be a carried-over feature from an article-less substrate
language where speakers expect hearers to uniquely identify referents of definite NPs based on
the pragmatic context i.e., without any explicit definiteness marking. Two, omission of a/an can
mean that the otherwise count entity is reconfigured as a concept following the application of
maximum extensivity (generality), courtesy of the null article. Three, omission of a/an is also
due to the speaker’s expectation of the hearer to construe a non-identifiable entity based on the
pragmatic context.
Gert Webelhuth
(University of Göttingen)
Motivating non-canonicality in construction grammar
Friday, 12:00 – 12:30, Room 1098
English has a number of constructions with specialized usages (preposings, inversions,
pseudoclefts, etc.) whose grammatical properties can be captured elegantly in a construction
grammar setting. This talk will address the desideratum of explaining why the constructions exist
and why they behave the way they do. We will pursue this issue from the point of view of
communicative purposes.
Daniel Wiechmann
(University of Jena)
Towards an explanation of English relativizer omission:
a quantitative corpus linguistic approach
Thursday, 15:30 – 16:00, Room 1023
This paper presents a quantitative corpus linguistic approach to the omission of nonobligatory
relativizers in contemporary British English. English relative clauses (RC) are usually introduced
by a relativizing element (R). However, in the case of nonsubject relative clauses such an
element may be omitted as illustrated in (1) – (4).
(1) The mani RC[ R[that|who]i you saw _ i on the plane] carried a concealed explosive.
(2) The mani RC [[Ø] you saw _ i on the plane] carried a concealed explosive. [Object RC]
(3) The mani RC [ R[that|who]i walked into the cockpit area] had a weird look in his eyes.
(4) *The mani RC [[Ø] walked into the cockpit area] had a weird look in his eyes. [Subject RC]
In the attempt to account for this type of variation, prior research has identified a number of
discourse-pragmatic and processing-related factors and, correspondingly, has proposed different
explanations for the phenomenon (c.f., e.g., Bock and Warren 1985, Fox and Thompson 1990,
Gibson 1998, Hawkins 2004, Jaeger and Wasow to appear, Prat-Sala and Branigan 2000,
Temperley 2003, Tottie 1995). For the present study, a sample of 400 non-subject relative
clauses was extracted from the spoken part of the British component of the International Corpus
of English (ICE-GB) and described with respect to the factors that have been suggested as
determinants for this type of grammatical choice. Whereas the rich annotation of the ICE-GB
corpus made it possible to automatically retrieve many morphosyntactic factors, all semantic and
discourse-pragmatic characteristics were added manually. From a total set of 25 descriptor
variables, subsets were selected that each comprised of only the factors associated with a
particular explanation. To assess the predictive power of competing accounts, binary logistic
regression models were built for each subset, which allowed for a subsequent direct comparison
of explanations that have been proposed so far. Lastly, the minimal adequate model was
identified, which was not restricted to any particular set of factors but could include factors from
different accounts.
The analysis reveals that the best predictions are possible when the descriptors include
information about the ‘definiteness’, ‘concreteness’, and ‘contentfulness’ of the head, as well as
the presence of a ‘uniqueness adjective’ and the ‘inherent accessibility’ of the subject of the
relative clause proper. It is argued that the results are best explained from a usage-based
perspective on linguistic knowledge (Barlow and Kemmer 2000).
Barlow, M. and Kemmer, S. (eds.) (2000) Usage-Based Models of Language. Stanford: CSLI.
Bock, J., and Warren, R. (1985) Conceptual accessibility and syntactic structure in sentence formulation. Cognition
21: 4767.
Fox, B.A. and Thompson, S.A. (1990) A discourse explanation of the grammar of relative clauses in English
conversation. Language, 66, 2: 297-316.
Gibson, E. 1998. Linguistic complexity: Locality of syntactic dependencies. Cognition 68: 176.
Hawkins, J.A. 2004. Efficiency and Complexity in Grammars. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Jaeger, T.F. and Wasow, T. to appear. Processing as a Source of Accessibility Effects on Variation. Proceedings of
the 31st BLS.
Temperley, David. 2002. Ambiguity Avoidance in English Relative Clauses. Language, 79: 464-484.
Tottie, G. 1995. The man Ø I love: an analysis of factors favouring zero relatives in written British and American
English. In Melchers, G. and Warren, B. (eds.). Studies in Anglistics. Stockholm: Almqvist and Wiksell:
Prat-Sala, M. and Branigan, H.P. 2000. Discourse constraints on syntactic processing in language production: A
crosslinguistic study in English and Spanish. Journal of Memory and Language, 42, 2: 168-182.
Göran Wolf
(University of Dresden)
‘[T]he language of the bravest, wisest, most powerful, and respectable body of people upon
the face of the globe […]’: nationalism in 18th-century grammars
Friday, 15:00 – 15:30, Room 1021
In the dedication of his British Grammar, James Buchanan continues the above by saying that
English is “the Vernacular Tongue of the most Virtuous, most Potent, and best Beloved Monarch
upon Earth (1762: no page). In the grammar attributed to Gildon and Brightland we learn that to
adopt foreign words “is to Debase, not Advance, our Native and Masculine Tongue” (1711:
preface without pagination). John Ash claims the following in his Grammatical Institutes: “The
Importance of an English Education is now pretty well understood; and it is generally
acknowledged, that not only for Ladies, but for young Gentlemen designed merely for Trade, an
intimate Acquaintance with the Proprieties and Beauties of the English Tongue, would be avery
desirable and necessary Attainment; far preferable to a Smattering of the learned Languages.”
(1786: iii) Even though the given quotes refer to different (language) matters, the nationalist
character of them cannot be mistaken. Looking at key excerpts from 18th-century English
grammars, I would like to tackle the question, whether it is reasonable to assume that national
attitudes were incentive to authors to write their grammars.
Ash, John (1786) Grammatical Institutes. London. Accessed via Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gale
Group. http://galenet.galegroup.com/ servlet/ECCO.
Buchanan, James (1762) The British Grammar. Menston: The Scolar Press 1968. [Facsimile Reprint].
Gildon, Charles and John Brightland (1711) A Grammar of the English Tongue. Menston: The Scolar Press 1967.
[Facsimile Reprint].
Linda Zirkel
(University of Siegen)
What constrains prefix combinations in English?
Wednesday, 11:30 – 12:00, Room 1019
Recent studies such as Hay/Plag (2004) and Baayen/Plag (forthcoming), have provided evidence
that English suffix combinations are constrained by both structural and processing restrictions.
Two suffixes can only combine if their grammatical and semantic characteristics allow them to
do so, and if the resulting combination is well processable. Well processable are those
combinations in which a less parsable suffix occurs inside a more parsable one. This idea,
Complexity Based Ordering (CBO), was first put forward by Hay (2003).
Studies testing affix combinability have, however, exclusively focussed on suffixes, which raises
the question of whether prefix combinations are constrained by the same factors. This paper will
answer this question through an investigation of the combinatorial properties of 15 English
prefixes, following Hay/Plag’s (2004) methodology. First, the OED, BNC, and CELEX are
checked for attestations of the 225 potential two-prefix-combinations. Second, it is worked out
which combinations are structurally possible and which are impossible, by consulting the
pertinent literature on word-formation (e.g. Marchand 1969, Adams 2001, Plag 2003) for
information on the structural characteristics of the prefixes. Third, is tested whether CBO holds
for prefix-prefix-combinations. This is done by attempting to order the prefixes hierarchically on
the basis of attested combinations, and by checking whether the hierarchical ranks correlate with
measures of parsability.
The investigation reveals that structural restrictions alone cannot account for the distribution of
attested vs. unattested two-prefix-combinations, as only a small proportion of structurally
possible combinations are actually attested. It is demonstrated that, in addition to the structural
restrictions, prefix combinations are indeed subject to processing constraints: The 15 prefixes
can be hierarchically ordered and their ranking significantly correlates with their hapaxconditioned productivity, which is a strong indicator of parsability (Hay/Baayen 2002). The
paper therefore provides evidence that CBO also holds for prefix-combinations.
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