Article published in:Transatlantic Perspectives on Late Modern English
Edited by Marina Dossena
[Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics 4] 2015
► pp. 13–36
Studying real-time change in the adverbial subjunctive
The value of the Bank of Canadian English
The dearth of real-time studies of the histories of transatlantic English varieties can be attributed to the lack of readily accessible, electronic corpora. However, for Canadian English (CanE) we now have the Bank of Canadian English (BCE), which consists of c. 2.5 million words from written and spoken sources extending from 1505 to the present. As a lexicographic database, the BCE does not constitute a balanced corpus, but from the onset it was designed to serve as a tool for corpus linguistic study. This paper seeks to determine the utility of the BCE for such study with a test case: the use of the subjunctive in adverbial (if) clauses. After first establishing that CanE patterns with American English (AmE) in having higher rates of subjunctive use in the present-day, the paper analyzes historical data extracted from the BCE to show that CanE, like British English (BrE) shows an increase in subjunctive forms in the first half of the eighteenth century (perhaps the continued effects of prescriptivism) followed by a significant decline beginning in the second half of the century. The generally higher use of the subjunctive in both AmE and CanE may in fact be evidence of “colonial revival” rather than “colonial lag”. There is tentative evidence in the BCE of a twentieth-century revival of the subjunctive, which has also been postulated for AmE (Leech et al. 2009). The developmental patterns in the BCE thus parallel those found in much larger corpora and give us quite accurate information about the history of this particular post-colonial variety.
Published online: 12 February 2015
AusCorp: Australian English Corpus
In preparation. Peter Collins & Xinue Yao.
Bank of Canadian English
2006– Stefan Dollinger, Laurel J. Brinton & Margery Fee (eds). See http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/sdollinger/dchp2.htm
British Columbia Historical Newspapers
2013 Available online at http://histnews.library.ubc.ca/
BYU-BNC. (Based on the British National Corpus from Oxford University Press)
2004– Mark Davies. Available online at http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/
Canada’s Heritage from 1844 – The Globe and Mail
2013 Proquest LLC. See www.proquest.com/en-US/catalogs/databases/detail/canada_heritage.shtml
1977–present 2013 Proquest LLC. See www.proquest.com/en-US/catalogs/databases/detail/canadian_newsstand.shtml
The Champlain Society Digital Collection
2013 Available online at http://link.library.utoronto.ca/champlain/search.cfm?lang=eng
CMSW: Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing
2009 John Corbett, Jeremy Smith, et al. Available online at www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/
COCA: The Corpus of Contemporary American English: 450 million words, 1990–present
2009– Mark Davies. Available online at http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/
COHA: The Corpus of Historical American English: 400 million words, 1810–2009
2010– Mark Davies. Available online at http://corpus.byu.edu/coha/.
CONTE-pC: Corpus of Early Ontario English, pre-Confederation section 1776–1849
2004 Stefan Dollinger. See http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/sdollinger/CONTE.htm
DCHP-1 Online: A dictionary of Canadianisms on historical principles online
2011 Stefan Dollinger, Laurel J. Brinton & Margery Fee (eds). Based on Avis et al.(editor-in-chief) (1967) Available online at http://dchp.ca/DCHP-1/
A dictionary of Canadianisms on historical principles
Dictionary of Newfoundland English online
1999 G.M. Story, W.J. Kirwin & J.D.A. Widdowson (eds). Second edition with supplement. University of Toronto Press. Available online at www.heritage.nf.ca/dictionary/
Early Canadiana Online
2013 Available online at www.canadiana.ca/en/eco
HCOS: Helsinki Corpus of Older Scots
1995 Anneli Meurman-Solin et al. See www.helsinki.fi/varieng/CoRD/corpora/HCOS/
ICE-CANADA. International Corpus of English – Canada
. 2010 Gerald Nelson ( General Editor), John Newman (Compiler). See http://ice-corpora.net/ice/
Peel’s Prairie Provinces
2013 Available online at http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/index.html
SCOTS: Scottish Corpus of Texts and Speech
2004 John Corbett, Jeremy Smith et al . Available online at www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/
The Strathy Corpus of Canadian English
. 2012 Available online at http://corpus2.byu.edu/can/?r=y
Toronto Star Archive (1894–2010)
University Publications and Serials
2013 University of British Columbia. Available online at http://ubcpubs.library.ubc.ca/
Atkins, B.T. Sue & Michael Rundell
Auer, Anita & Victorina González-Díaz
Auer, Anita & Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade
Bailey, Richard W.
Beal, Joan C., Susan Fitzmaurice & Jane Hodson
Brinton, Laurel J., Stefan Dollinger & Margery Fee
2012 Balanced corpora and quotation databases: Taking shortcuts or expanding methodological scope? In Jukka Tyrkkö, Matti Kilpiö, Terttu Nevalainen & Matti Rissanen (eds.), Outposts of historical corpus linguistics: From the Helsinki Corpus to a proliferation of resources. At www.helsinki.fi/varieng/journal/volumes/10/brinton_dollinger_fee/
Brinton, Laurel J. & Margery Fee
2010 English in Canada. In Elaine Gold & Janice McAlpine (eds.), Canadian English: A linguistic reader, 1–37. Kingston, ON: Queen’s University. At www.queensu.ca/strathy/apps/OP6v2.pdf
2013 Grammatical change in the verb phrase in Australian English: A corpus-based study. Paper presented at ICAME 34. Santiago de Compostela. May.
2006 Towards a fully revised and extended edition of the Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles (DCHP-2): Background, challenges, prospects. Historical Sociolinguistics and Sociohistorical Linguistics 6. At www.hum2.leidenuniv.nl/hsl_shl/DCHP-2/DCHP-2/DCHP-2.htm.
forthcoming. The modals of obligation and necessity: Development and change in North America since Late Modern times.
Dollinger, Stefan & Laurel J. Brinton
Fee, Margery & Janice McAlpine
Grund, Peter & Terry Walker
Johansson, Stig & Else Helene Norheim
1988 The subjunctive in British and American English. ICAME Journal 12. 27–36. At http://clu.uni.no/icame/archives/No_12_ICAME_ Journal_index.pdf
Kastronic, Laura & Shana Poplack
2014 The (North) American English subjunctive in the 21st century: Revival or remnant? University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 20(2). 71–80. At http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1814&context=pwpl
Leech, Geoffrey, Marianne Hundt, Christian Mair & Nicholas Smith
Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech & Jan Svartvik
Schneider, Edgar W.
2013 Diachrony and idiosyncrasy: The subjunctive in the first half of the 19th Century. Paper presented at the 5th International Conference on Late Modern English, submitted for publication in Token: A Journal of English Linguistics.
Sundby, Bertil, Anne Kari Bjørge & Kari E. Haugland
Tagliamonte, Sali A.
Tagliamonte, Sali A. & Alexandra D’Arcy
Tieken-Boon van Ostade, Ingrid
Trudgill, Peter & Richard Watts
Cited by 1 other publications
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 28 february 2021. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.