While the be-perfect (BEP) is found in a number of (particularly European)
languages, in English it has almost exclusively been considered from a diachronic
perspective, and is commonly seen as a dying structure in present-day
varieties. In contrast, previous acceptability and corpus studies have indicated
that the BEP persists as a formal variant. Against the backdrop of this apparently
conflicting evidence, in this paper I take a closer look at this “zombie” structure.
With the help of data from the International Corpus of English (ICE) and the Corpus
of Global Web-based English (GloWbE), I aim at updating and sharpening the synchronic
perspective on the BEP. In particular, I (re-)address whether the BEP has
really “died” or rather still represents a productive pattern in present-day varieties
of English. In this connection, lexical restrictions are considered as important
indicators, and the role of different factors favoring the BEP as well as its potential
status as a vernacular universal are discussed.
Among the time-reference forms of English, the acquisition of the
present perfect is regarded as the single most challenging task for non-native
speakers, mainly due to the semantic peculiarities of this form in contrast to
many other languages. In this chapter, we focus on variation between the present
perfect and the simple past in German-speaking learners to assess the influence
of learner proficiency level and mode on the use of the present perfect. Our results
suggest that (i) the present perfect is more frequent in writing, and (ii) emerges
very late in learner language, such that only the most advanced learners, and
specifically those who started learning English very early in primary school, use
it as frequently as native speakers. This finding tentatively supports proponents
of early English language teaching. To explain the results, we explore potential
reasons for the late emergence of the present perfect, and conclude with specific
recommendations for English language teaching.
In the context of the arts and humanities, heterogeneity largely corresponds to the variety of disciplines, their research questions and communities. Resulting from the diversity of the application domain, the analysis of overall requirements and the subsequent derivation of appropriate unifying schemata is prevented by the complexity and size of the domain. The approach presented in this paper is based on the hypothesis that data integration problems in the arts and humanities can be solved on the theoretical foundation of formal languages. In applying a theoretically substantiated framework, integrative solutions on the formal basis of language specifications can be tailored to specific and individual research needs—abstracting from reoccurring technical difficulties and leading the focus of domain experts on semantic aspects.
"Toward an Environmental Imagination of Displacement" adopts a postcolonial-ecocritical perspective in examining how contemporary North American poetry attempts to negotiate issues of place and displacement. Analyzing poems that go beyond the merely unidirectional trajectory of many narratives of migration (i.e., those moving from displacement to passage to arrival), this article focuses on works that exemplify a transnational poetics. In particular, it looks at the Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali and Caribbean poet Derek Walcott, demonstrating the ways in which their poems are investing in concrete places and natural environments. The paper argues that these poets speak against those theories of displacement that overemphasize deterritorialization and instead attempt to define a language capable of describing the complex relationship between displaced persons and the natural world.