Grammatical Variation in British English Dialects: A Study in Corpus-Based Dialectometry

Overview

Variation within the English language is a vast research area, of which dialectology, the study of geographic variation, is a significant part. This book explores grammatical differences between British English dialects, drawing on authentic speech data collected in over 30 counties. In doing so it presents a new approach known as 'corpus-based dialectometry', which focuses on the joint quantitative measurement of dozens of grammatical features to gauge regional differences. These features include, for example, ...

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Grammatical Variation in British English Dialects

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Overview

Variation within the English language is a vast research area, of which dialectology, the study of geographic variation, is a significant part. This book explores grammatical differences between British English dialects, drawing on authentic speech data collected in over 30 counties. In doing so it presents a new approach known as 'corpus-based dialectometry', which focuses on the joint quantitative measurement of dozens of grammatical features to gauge regional differences. These features include, for example, multiple negation (e.g. don't you make no damn mistake), non-standard verbal-s (e.g. so I says, What have you to do?), or non-standard weak past tense and past participle forms (e.g. they knowed all about these things). Utilizing state-of-the-art dialectometrical analysis and visualization techniques, the book is original both in terms of its fundamental research question ('What are the large-scale patterns of grammatical variability in British English dialects?') and in terms of its methodology.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781107003453
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/31/2012
  • Series: Studies in English Language Series
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Benedikt Szmrecsanyi holds MA and PhD degrees in English linguistics from the University of Freiburg. He is currently a Fellow with the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, where he directs the project 'Geolinguistic and Genetic Patterns of Grammatical Variation in Varieties of English'. His research interests include variationist linguistics, dialectology and dialectometry, varieties of English world-wide, historical linguistics (in particular, syntactic change) and the interface between variation studies and language typology. Viewing linguistic variation as a window into the hidden structure of human language and the nature of linguistic knowledge, he has to date published some ten papers in international, peer-reviewed journals (including English Language and Linguistics, Language Variation and Change, and Lingua) and is the author of the monograph Morphosyntactic Persistence in Spoken English (2006). He is the co-editor of several volumes, including Linguistic Complexity: Second Language Acquisition, Indigenization, Contact (2012). Benedikt Szmrecsanyi is one of the compilers of the Freiburg Corpus of English Dialects, a major naturalistic speech corpus that samples traditional dialect speech all over Great Britain.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Data and methods; 3. The feature catalogue; 4. Surveying the forest; 5. Is morphosyntactic variability gradient? Exploring dialect continua; 6. Classification: the dialect area scenario; 7. Back to the features; 8. Summary and discussion; 9. Outlook and concluding remarks.

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