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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.
The chapters in this volume feature new and groundbreaking research carried out by leading scholars and promising young researchers from around the world on recent changes in the English verb phrase. Drawing on authentic corpus data, the papers consider both spoken and written English in several genres. Each contribution pays particular attention to the methodologies used for investigating short-term patterns of change in English, with detailed discussions of controversies in this area. This cutting-edge collection is essential reading for historians of the English language, syntacticians and corpus linguists.
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