PhD Alumni

Monika Edith Schulz Freiburg

Morphosyntactic Variation in British English Dialects
Evidence from Possession, Obligation and Past Habituality

ErstbetreuerProf. Dr. Bernd Kortmann
ZweitbetreuerProf. Dr. Dr. h. c. Christian Mair
DisziplinAnglistik
StatusPubliziert
Publikationhttp://www.freidok.uni-freiburg.de/volltexte/8511/

In its most narrow conception, the present study contributes to research on the patterning of markers of possession, modality and aspect in traditional British English dialects. The degree of grammaticalization of the systems of past possession, past obligation and past habituality marking in the Midlands and the North will be compared to findings from phonological studies to establish whether relic and transition areas postulated on the basis of phonology hold for the distribution of morphosyntactic features as well or if the areal spread of morphosyntactic innovations differs from the areal spread of phonological innovations.

On a more general level, the study uses the synchronic variation found in past possession, past obligation and past habituality marking as a spotlight on different stages of the grammaticalization of modal and aspectual subsystems of the auxiliary verb system in English. It aims to uncover which kinds of developments can be deduced from the synchronic variation found, whether the same changes or developments can be observed in all dialect areas, and what the differences between the dialect areas tell us about the nature of language change.

From a methodological point of view, the present study contributes to the growing body of literature that employs the methodological tools of variationist sociolinguistics to measure and model degrees of grammaticalization. Relative frequency of use and the patterning of constraints on the use of different variants of a linguistic variable will be compared and constrasted to establish their merit as possible indicators of degrees of grammaticalization.

The present study complements this body of research with a corpus-based, comparative investigation into the systems of past possession, past obligation and past habitual marking in two different dialects of English, informed by current theories of language variation and change and the methodological advances of variationist sociolinguistics.

The chapters on possession and obligation discuss the correlation between the layering of past possession markers and the layering of past obligation markers in the dialect data. The system in the Midlands, which shows layering of HAD and HAD GOT as well as HAD TO and HAD GOT TO, will be argued to be further grammaticalized than the system in the North, where HAD and HAD TO are the sole markers of past possession and past obligation.

The chapters on past habituality focuses on the patterning of WOULD and USED TO. The degree of grammaticalization of USED TO is established via its relative frequency and observable reflexes of its original restriction to combinations with animate subjets and non-stative verbs. A higher relative frequency of USED TO and weaker disfavoring effects of inanimate subjects and stative verbs in the Midlands counties are interpreted as indicators of a higher degree of grammaticalization.


Kontakt

Emailmonika.schulz@hpsl.uni-freiburg.de
Homepagehttp://www.monika-e-schulz.de



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