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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).

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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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