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  • 1.
    Laitinen, Mikko
    Research Unit for Variation, Contacts and Change in English, University of Helsinki.
    Contacts and variability in international Englishes: Compiling and using the Corpus of English in Finland2011In: Studies in Variation, Contacts and Change in English, ISSN 1797-4453, E-ISSN 1797-4453, Vol. 6, no 1Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The past few decades have witnessed a substantial spread of English as the language of international communication. One of the consequences of this growth of English world-wide is that there is a need to develop new corpora that make it possible to describe these expanded uses of English. To illustrate the expansion of English, this article first presents an overview of the linguistic situation of present-day Finland, a country in which English has for long been used as a foreign language with no institutional status. The various uses of English in Finland are illustrated drawing from the results of the recent large-scale survey of English in Finland, carried out at the Research Unit for Variation, Contacts and Change in English (VARIENG). These survey results provide useful background information for an on-going corpus compilation process of the Corpus of English in Finland. The article then presents the results of three case studies that explore morphological and grammatical variability in this material.

  • 2.
    Lakaw, Alexander
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.
    Diachronic shifts in agreement patterns of collective nouns in 19th-century American and British English2016In: Studies in Variation, Contacts and Change in English, ISSN 1797-4453, E-ISSN 1797-4453, Vol. 18Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    English collective nouns and their agreement patterns have received a great deal of attention in corpus linguistics. Previous synchronic research has found evidence of variability within and across the varieties of English (e.g., Levin 2001, Depraetere 2003, Hundt 2006). This diachronic study compares the agreement patterns with collective nouns in American and British English (henceforth AmE and BrE respectively) and draws evidence from the Corpus of Historical American English (COHA), the Old Bailey Corpus (OBC) and the Corpus of Late Modern English Texts (CLMET). The study covers the time span 1810–1909 and includes the agreement patterns of a range of collective nouns from six semantic domains: (1) EMPLOYEES (e.g., crew), (2) FAMILY (e.g., couple), (3) MILITARY (e.g., army), (4) POLITICS (e.g., government), (5) PUBLIC ORDER (e.g., police) and (6) SOCIETY (e.g., generation).

    The results show an overall increase of singular agreement in both varieties. Moreover, the findings suggest that verbal and pronominal agreement patterns behave differently in that the latter is more likely to be of the plural kind, and that variation between singular and plural agreement exists even amongst the semantic categories. The incipient change in AmE towards the singular is visible in the 19th-century material. The expected leading role of AmE in this change (cf. Collins 2015: 29) could not be confirmed. Instead, AmE displays signs of a kick-down development (Hundt 2009a: 33) in which BrE shows a greater tendency for the singular in the 19th century, but is overtaken by AmE at a later point in time.

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