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Academic Paper


Title: Norm vs variation in British English irregular verbs: the case of past tense sang vs sung
Author: Lieselotte Anderwald
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://univis.uni-kiel.de/prg?show=info&key=138/persons/2011s:philos/englis/englis_3/anderw
Institution: Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: In this article I discuss the persistence of non-standard past tense forms in traditional and modern dialect data in the face of strong prescriptive norms against such non-standard forms. Past tense forms like she drunk or they sung are still encountered frequently, although prescriptive grammars have militated against such usage for over a century, as a detailed investigation of nineteenth-century grammar books can show. I will argue that an increasing insistence especially by British nineteenth-century grammarians on distinct paradigm forms like drink ??? drank ??? drunk is based on a (mistaken) Latin ideal and that it has not carried much weight with the ???average??? speaker for functional reasons: non-standard forms in can be functionally motivated and are more ???natural??? past tense forms in the sense of Wurzel (1984).

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in English Language and Linguistics Vol. 15, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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