Change in Contemporary English: A Grammatical Study

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Oct 22, 2009 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 341 pages
Based on the systematic analysis of large amounts of computer-readable text, this book shows how the English language has been changing in the recent past, often in unexpected and previously undocumented ways. The study is based on a group of matching corpora, known as the 'Brown family' of corpora, supplemented by a range of other corpus materials, both written and spoken, drawn mainly from the later twentieth century. Among the matters receiving particular attention are the influence of American English on British English, the role of the press, the 'colloquialization' of written English, and a wide range of grammatical topics, including the modal auxiliaries, progressive, subjunctive, passive, genitive and relative clauses. These subjects build an overall picture of how English grammar is changing, and the linguistic and social factors that are contributing to this process.
 

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Contents

the methodological basis
24
corpus
34
The subjunctive mood
51
The modal auxiliaries
71
The socalled semimodals
91
The progressive 1 18
118
The passive voice
144
British and American English
166
IO The noun phrase
206
nouns
219
Linguistic and other determinants of change
236
The oomposition ofthe Brown Corpus
273
Appendix 1 Additional statistiml tables and oharts
281
Refierenoes
314
Index
335
Copyright

Nonfinite clauses
181

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About the author (2009)

Geoffrey Leech is Emeritus Professor of English Linguistics in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University.

Marianne Hundt is Professor of Linguistics in the Department of English at the University of Zürich.

Christian Mair is Professor of English Linguistics in the Department of English at the University of Freiburg.

Nicholas Smith is Lecturer in the School of English, Sociology, Politics and Contemporary History at the University of Salford.