Third person present tense markers in some varieties of English
In British Standard English, number in the verb phrase is exclusively characterized by the use of the -s inflection with the third person singular present tense. World Englishes present a high level of variation as the uninflected third person singular and the inflected third person plural may also occur in these contexts. This paper pursues four objectives: a) to analyse the use of present third person inflections and compare their distribution in different varieties of English; b) to assess the occurrence of forms across speech and writing, text categories and the informants’ age and gender; c) to classify the instances by type of subject (nominal vs. pronominal); and d) to evaluate the impact of proximity agreement, notional agreement and the existence of intervening elements in the choice of the inflection. Our evidence comes from the New Zealand, Indian, Singaporean and Hong Kong components of the International Corpus of English.
Keywords: New Zealand English, Indian English, Singapore English, Hong Kong English, person markers, present tense, standard vs. non-standard
- 3.Quantitative analysis
- 3.1Third person singular across varieties
- 3.2Third person plural marker across the varieties
- 3.3Age and sex
- 3.4Speech and writing
- 3.5Variation across text categories
- 3.5.1Dialogues versus monologues
- 3.5.2Printed versus non-printed
- 4.Qualitative analysis
- 4.1Subject effects
- 4.2Effects of intervening elements
- 4.3Proximity agreement
- 4.4Notional agreement
Published online: 29 June 2017
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