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 area of electronically-mediated communication, real-time online
text commentaries (OTCs) as a new specialised register have become popular as an
alternative to traditional broadcasting. OTCs have been recognised as “mediated
quasi-interaction” (Chovanec 2010) and a hybrid genre showing characteristics
of spoken discourse within a written mode (Jucker 2006), as well as a characteristic
combination of simultaneous information and entertainment (“infotainment”),
where familiarity or “pseudo-intimacy” (O’Keeffe 2006; cf. Chovanec
2008) between commentator and the audience is created. This contribution helps
to situate this emerging register from a cross-cultural perspective. I use OTCs by
English and German media outlets from the EURO 2012 football championship to
tackle the following issues with the help of a corpus-linguistic approach: (i) What
are register-specific structural features of OTCs? (ii) Are there any culture-specific
aspects along language boundaries or the dimension “intended readership”? I
also consider the interaction of layout and content, production circumstances,
and the influence of recent developments (such as the incorporation of Twitter
messages) on reporting styles.
This study provides an analysis of the Present Perfect (PrPf; have + V-en) in World Englishes. To this end, I extract occurrences of the PrPf from the International Corpus of English and annotate them manually for various factors (such as semantics, Aktionsart, temporal adverbials). I analyze the distributions of these factors and define a central PrPf context, while I also explore a multidimensional aggregative approach as a means to establish measures of similarity between the different varieties. In addition, I present a measure of PrPf-friendliness and examine alternative surface forms appearing in perfect contexts. Eventually I relate the findings to existing models of World Englishes, whose applicability I critically review in the light of the findings for the feature under investigation.
This paper makes three contributions to the discussion of vowel transformation in acoustic phonetics. Firstly, it compares a selection of transformation routines, using three performance tests: Linear Discriminant Analysis of vowel categories, inter-speaker vowel space area homogenisation, and inter-speaker vowel space overlap. Secondly, the complementary functions of psychoacoustic transformation and speaker-dependent normalisation proper are discussed and demonstrated. And, thirdly, multi-dimensional scaling is proposed as a tool that can be useful in the assessment of multi-dimensional (or multi-parametric) results common in the testing of different methodologies, but also in other experimental work.
This chapter argues that the construction 'the idea is…' has undergone significant changes including (i) an increase in discourse frequency and a trend towards clausal complementation with 'to' or 'that', (ii) a decrease in morphosyntactic productivity and syntagmatic variability, and (iii) semantic developments towards grammatical meanings of intention, purpose or volition. In the spoken mode, 'the idea is…' also displays increased rates of intrusive /r/ and a tendency towards level or first-syllable stress in this grammatical use, which we interpret as phonological indicators of the dissociation from its lexical, nominal source. On the basis of data from different corpora (e.g. ICE-GB, BNC, ARCHER and the Time Magazine Corpus) we present synchronic and diachronic evidence showing that Hopper’s (1991) principles of grammaticalization – divergence, specialization, persistence and decategorialization – as well as Lehmann’s (1995) parameters of syntagmatic variability, bondedness and paradigmaticity can be applied to the variation and change found in this construction. We therefore conclude that the construction 'the idea is...' is undergoing grammaticalization.