Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Wiley-Blackwell Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

Language Planning as a Sociolinguistic Experiment

By: Ernst Jahr

Provides richly detailed insight into the uniqueness of the Norwegian language development. Marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Norwegian nation following centuries of Danish rule


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Acquiring Phonology: A Cross-Generational Case-Study

By Neil Smith

The study also highlights the constructs of current linguistic theory, arguing for distinctive features and the notion 'onset' and against some of the claims of Optimality Theory and Usage-based accounts.


New from Brill!

ad

Language Production and Interpretation: Linguistics meets Cognition

By Henk Zeevat

The importance of Henk Zeevat's new monograph cannot be overstated. [...] I recommend it to anyone who combines interests in language, logic, and computation [...]. David Beaver, University of Texas at Austin


Summary Details


Query:   British English Judgments
Author:  Felicia Lee
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Syntax

Summary:   Dear all,

I am pleased to have gotten so many helplful responses to my request for
British English grammaticality judgments a while back. Here are the
preliminary results of my query.

I was looking for judgments on the BE construction whereby certain
group-denoting nouns in singular form can trigger plural verbal agreement,
such as “the government is/are incompetent.” In particular, I was
interested in finding out what kind of number agreement is possible when
group-denoting nouns are quantified.

The results are as follows. I asked my volunteers (eight BE speakers
participated) for their judgments on examples such as the following:

Some North American team has/have a chance to win the World Cup.
More than one North American team has/have a chance to win the World
Cup.
Every North American team seems/seem to be playing well.
No North American team seems/ seem to be playing well.

Almost all speakers had a strong preference for singular agreement with
quantified group nouns; however, there was wide variation in how strong
this preference was. Two speakers disallowed plural agreement with all
quantifiers, while two others simply considered singular agreement
“preferable”. The remaining speakers required singular agreement with some
quantifiers but not others (for all of these speakers, “every”
obligatorily required singular agreement, for some but not all of these
speakers, “no” and/or “more than 1” did as well.)

I am not sure how to interpret these variations in judgment. More
investigation will be needed, I think, to nail down a definitive pattern.

Thanks to all who graciously took to the time to answer my questions and
volunteer their judgments.

LL Issue: 17.2204
Date Posted: 31-Jul-2006
Original Query: Read original query


Back

Sums main page