The Survival of the Subjunctive
Evidence of its use in Australia and Elsewhere
The status of the subjunctive is examined in this Australian study of its manifestations in subordinate clauses: in mandative constructions as well as those expressing purpose, condition, concession and the counterfactual. Data from the Australian ACE corpus (1986) is compared with (a) those from the American Brown corpus and the British LOB corpus (both 1961); and with (b) findings from an Australian elicitation survey of 1993. Both the diachronic corpus comparisons and the sociolinguistic profiles associated with the survey indicate declining use of the subjunctive in adverbial clauses, most notably the counterfactual type, but also those expressing purpose, concession and ordinary conditions. However the use of mandative subjunctives is stable, written into a range of corpus materials (fiction and non-fiction), and endorsed by Australians across the age range. The resilience of the mandative subjunctive in Australian (and American) usage contrasts with the prevailing view of British usage commentators, that the subjunctive, if not obsolescent, should not be preserved.
Cited by 15 other publications
. Language in a Glocalized World
. In Language and Literature in a Glocal World
pp. 15 ff.
Brinton, Laurel J.
Collins, Peter, Ariane Macalinga Borlongan, Joo-Hyuk Lim & Xinyue Yao
Collins, Peter & Xinyue Yao
. AusBrown: A new diachronic corpus of Australian English
. ICAME Journal
pp. 5 ff.
Deshors, Sandra C. & Stefan Th. Gries
. Mandative subjunctive versus should in world Englishes: a new take on an old alternation
pp. 213 ff.
Deuber, Dagmar, Stephanie Hackert, Eva Canan Hänsel, Alexander Laube, Mahyar Hejrani & Catherine Laliberté
. The Norm Orientation of English in the Caribbean
. American Speech
pp. 265 ff.
Kastronic, Laura & Shana Poplack
. Be that as it may: The Unremarkable Trajectory of the English Subjunctive in North American Speech
. Language Variation and Change
pp. 107 ff.
. Subjunctive wereand indicative was: a corpus analysis for English language teachers and textbook writers
. Language Teaching Research
pp. 80 ff.
. Examining syntactic variation in English: The importance of corpus design and corpus size
. English Language and Linguistics
pp. 1 ff.
. The Cambridge Guide to English Usage
. English Usage
. In The Handbook of English Linguistics
pp. 615 ff.
Vaughan, Jill & Jean Mulder
. The Survival of the Subjunctive in Australian English: Ossification, Indexicality and Stance
. Australian Journal of Linguistics
pp. 486 ff.
Yao, Xinyue & Peter Collins
. Developments in Australian, British, and American English Grammar from 1931 to 2006: An Aggregate, Comparative Approach to Dialectal Variation and Change
. Journal of English Linguistics
pp. 120 ff.
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