The Morphology of English Dialects: Verb-Formation in Non-standard English

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Overview

Studies in English Language

The aim of this series is to provide a framework for original studies of English, both present-day and past. All books are based securely on empirical research, and represent theoretical and descriptive contributions to our knowledge of national varieties of English, both written and spoken. The series covers a broad range of topics and approaches, including syntax, phonology, grammar, vocabulary, discourse, pragmatics and sociolinguistics, and is aimed at an international readership.

The Morphology of English Dialects

Where do dialects differ from Standard English, and why are they so remarkably resilient? This new study argues that commonly used verbs that deviate from Standard English for the most part have a long pedigree. Analysing the language use of over 120 dialect speakers, Lieselotte Anderwald demonstrates that not only are speakers justified historically in using these verbs, systematically these non-standard forms actually make more sense. By constituting a simpler system, they are generally more economical than their Standard English counterparts. Drawing on data collected from the Freiburg English Dialect Corpus (FRED), this innovative and engaging study comes directly from the forefront of this field, and will be of great interest to students and researchers of English language and linguistics, morphology and syntax.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521884976
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/31/2009
  • Series: Studies in English Language Series
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Lieselotte Anderwald is Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Kiel, Germany.
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Table of Contents

List of figures xii

List of maps xiv

List of tables xv

Preface and thanks xvii

Acknowledgement of sources xviii

1 Introduction 1

1.1 The past tense - a descriptive approach 1

1.2 Terminology: strong-weak vs. irregular-regular 3

1.3 Classification of strong verbs 5

1.3.1 Ablaut series, vowel gradation 5

1.3.2 Dental suffix 6

1.3.3 Abstract formal identity 7

1.4 Standard vs. non-standard English 12

1.5 Materials employed 13

2 Past tense theories 17

2.1 Introduction 17

2.2 Chomsky and Halle (1968) 18

2.3 Lexical Phonology and Morphology 21

2.4 Optimality Theory 26

2.5 Stochastic Optimality Theory 32

2.6 Psycholinguistic theories 33

2.7 Connectionist approaches 36

2.8 Network model 38

2.9 Natural morphology 40

2.9.1 Universal morphological naturalness 40

2.9.2 Language-specific morphological naturalness 42

2.9.3 Criticism 45

2.9.4 Compatibility with other models 45

2.10 Conclusion 46

3 Naturalness and the English past tense system 49

3.1 General features of the English verb system 49

3.2 Dominant features 51

3.3 Standard English verb classes 51

3.3.1 Verb class 1: PRES ≠ PAST ≠ PPL 52

3.3.1.1 Vpres ≠ Vpast ≠ Vppl 53

3.3.1.2 <-en>-participle 53

3.3.2 Verb class 2: PRES ≠ PAST = PPL 55

3.3.2.1 Vpres ≠ Vpast = Vppl 55

3.3.2.2 No vowel change 57

3.3.3 Verb class 3: PRES = PPL ≠ PAST 58

3.3.4 Verb class 4: PRES = PAST ≠ PPL 58

3.3.5 Verb class 5: PRES = PAST = PPL 59

3.3.6 Summary 59

3.4 The central characteristics 61

3.5 Non-standard verb paradigms as test cases 61

3.5.1 New non-standard weak verbs 62

3.5.2 New non-standard strong verbs 62

3.5.3 Differentnon-standard strong verbs 63

3.5.3.1 Two- instead of three-part paradigms 63

3.5.3.2 One- instead of two-part paradigms 65

3.5.4 Summary 65

4 Sellt and knowed: non-standard weak verbs 66

4.1 Introduction 66

4.2 Data from FRED: what to count? 68

4.3 Regional comparison 69

4.4 Individual verbs 70

4.4.1 Northern features 73

4.4.1.1 Past tense gaed and gi'ed 73

4.4.1.2 Past tense tellt and sellt 73

4.4.2 Southern features 77

4.4.2.1 Past tense runned 77

4.4.2.2 Past tense gived 78

4.4.2.3 Past tense knowed, growed, blowed and throwed 79

4.4.2.4 Historical dialect data 81

4.4.2.5 Past tense drawed 82

4.4.2.6 Relative frequencies 83

4.4.3 Western feature 84

4.4.3.1 Past tense seed 84

4.4.4 General features 87

4.4.4.1 Past tense knowed 87

4.4.4.2 Past tense catched 89

4.5 Verb classes 91

4.6 Statistical models 92

4.7 Comparison with COLT 95

4.8 Summary 96

5 Drunk, seen, done and eat: two-part paradigms instead of three-part paradigms 98

5.1 Introduction 98

5.2 'Bybee' verbs 98

5.2.1 History 101

5.2.1.1 Past tense forms of begin 103

5.2.1.2 Past tense forms of drink 105

5.2.1.3 Past tense forms of sink 106

5.2.1.4 Past tense forms of sing 107

5.2.1.5 Past tense forms of ring 108

5.2.2 Historical dialects 109

5.2.3 Data from FRED 110

5.2.3.1 Verbs 110

5.2.3.2 Singular vs. plural? 110

5.2.3.3 Regions 111

5.2.4 Comparison with COLT 113

5.2.5 Cognitive explanation 114

5.3 Past tense seen 120

5.3.1 Introduction 120

5.3.2 History 120

5.3.3 Historical dialects 121

5.3.4 Data from FRED 121

5.3.5 Conclusion 125

5.4 Past tense done 125

5.4.1 Introduction 125

5.4.2 History 126

5.4.3 Previous studies 127

5.4.4 Historical dialects 127

5.4.5 Data from FRED 129

5.4.6 Data from COLT 132

5.4.7 Done in American English 133

5.4.8 Cognitive explanation 134

5.5 Counterexamples: past tense eat, give and see 136

5.5.1 Introduction 136

5.5.2 Past tense eat 136

5.5.2.1 History 137

5.5.2.2 Historical dialects 137

5.5.2.3 Data from FRED 138

5.5.2.4 Conclusion past tense eat 140

5.5.3 Past tense give 141

5.5.3.1 History 141

5.5.3.2 Historical dialects 141

5.5.3.3 Data from FRED 142

5.5.4 Past tense see 144

5.5.4.1 Historical dialects 144

5.5.4.2 Data from FRED 144

5.5.4.3 Data from COLT 145

5.5.5 Conclusions 146

5.6 Chapter conclusion 147

6 Come and run: non-standard strong verbs with a one-part paradigm 149

6.1 Past tense come 149

6.1.1 Introduction 149

6.1.2 History 150

6.1.2.1 Regular development 150

6.1.2.2 Standard English past tense came 153

6.1.3 Historical dialects 158

6.1.4 Data from FRED 163

6.1.5 Data from COLT 165

6.1.6 Summary and explanation 166

6.2 Past tense run 168

6.2.1 Introduction 168

6.2.2 History 168

6.2.2.1 Present tense 168

6.2.2.2 Past tense 174

6.2.3 Historical dialects 176

6.2.4 Data from FRED 176

6.2.4.1 Procedure 176

6.2.4.2 Quantification 178

6.2.5 Data from COLT 179

6.2.6 Cognitive explanation 179

6.3 Chapter conclusion 180

7 Conclusion: supralocalization and morphological theories 183

7.1 Summary of findings 183

7.2 Supralocalization? 185

7.3 Morphological theories revisited 188

7.3.1 Rules vs. representations 188

7.3.2 The role of frequency 191

7.3.3 Accounting for diachronic developments 191

7.3.4 Non-standard data 194

7.4 Summary 197

Appendix 1 Verb classification 198

Appendix 2 SED localities and list of counties 205

Bibliography 207

Index 216

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