Edited by Guyanne Wilson and Michael Westphal
[Varieties of English Around the World G68] 2023
► pp. 16–41
We analyze variation in Nigerian English verbal past inflection on the basis of 2,989 verbs with past-time reference. Observations were extracted from the spontaneous conversations category of the International Corpus of English Nigeria and from two sets of sociolinguistic interviews. In contrast to the previous literature, our analysis shows rich systematicity in the constraints governing verbal past inflection, but also significant differences between the data sets. The latter concern both the overall frequency of past inflection and the number and strength of linguistic conditioning variables. At the level of method, we argue for ‘sociolinguistic compound vision,’ i.e. an active effort to include diverse data sets in order to avoid homogenizing accounts of New Englishes.