Collostructional nativisation in New Englishes
Verb-construction associations in the International Corpus of English
The present paper investigates the strength of verb-construction associations across various New Englishes on the basis of comparable corpora. In contrast to previous studies into verb complementation in New Englishes, we start off from three basic constructions in English — the intransitive, the monotransitive and the ditransitive construction — and analyse the co-occurrences of the three constructions and a wide range of verbs. The present study is based on the Hong Kong, the Indian, and the Singapore components of the International Corpus of English (ICE) because the three varieties represent markedly different stages in the process of the evolution of New Englishes with British English as the historical input variety. Our quantitative analysis includes multiple distinctive collexeme analyses for the different varieties. The results show, inter alia, that, firstly, processes of structural nativisation of New Englishes can also be observed at the level of verb-construction associations, which can be subsumed under the notion of “collostructional nativisation”, and that, secondly, there are identifiable intervarietal differences between British English and New Englishes as well as between individual New Englishes. In general, there is a correlation between the evolutionary stage of a New English variety and its collostructional nativisation: The more advanced a New English variety is in the developmental cycle, the more dissimilar its collostructional preferences are to British English.
Keywords: collostructions, verbs, corpora, constructions, distinctive collexeme analysis, evolution of New Englishes, British English, Indian English, Hong Kong English, varieties, Singapore English