A corpus-based investigation of semantic and syntactic differences between the two major future tense constructions
English has two major future tense constructions, will and be going to. Additionally, English can also use the present tense with a future-marking adverbial to express futurity. However, the distributions of these future markers are not free but limited. Instead of discriminating the differences among these distributions through direct comparison to etymological meanings or intuitive examples, this study offers an account for the semantic and syntactic differences between the two major English future tense constructions by analyzing data retrieved from the British National Corpus (BNC). The focus of attention is chiefly on the semantic and syntactic differences that lead to the choices British English native speakers make when expressing futurity. Based on the empirical analysis of data from the BNC, this study demonstrates that distribution of the future tense constructions seems sensitive to the following factors: (1) event-time orientation (temporal posteriority) or present-time orientation (prospective aspect), (2) the levels of verbal dynamicity in the whole sentence, (3) contexts of subordination, and (4) different text categories. The analysis suggests that the futurity constructions are not in the same distribution but are semantically and syntactically different. Utilizing its findings, this study aims to enhance second language learners’ expression of futurity by providing pedagogical suggestions.
Keywords: English future tense constructions, semantic differences, syntactic environments, corpus-based analysis, L2 learning
Keywords: 英語未來式結構, 語意差異, 語法架構, 語料庫分析, 第二語言學習
Published online: 19 April 2021
Agirre, Ainara Imaz
Alotaibi, Abdullah M., and Hashan Al-ajmi
Ariamanesh, Ali A., and Zohreh Shojai
British National Corpus (BNC)
Distributed by Oxford University Computing Services, from http://www.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/
Bybee, Joan L., Revere D. Perkins, and William Pagliuca
Bybee, Joan L., and William Pagliuca
Close, Reginald Arthur
Goldberg, Adele. E.
Gries, Stefan Th., and Anatol Stefanowitsch
Grimshaw, Jane, and Alan Prince
Harris, Brandon. A.
Hopper, Paul J., and Elizabeth Closs Traugott
Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik
Song, Eu-Jong, and Min-Chang Sung
Stefanowitsch, Anatol, and Stefan Th. Gries
Wekker, Herman C.