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<italic>He don&#8217;t like football, does he?</italic> A corpus-based study of third person singular <italic>don&#8217;t</italic> in the language of British teenagers

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Abstract

This paper compares the use of third person don&#8217;t versus doesn&#8217;t in the language of British teenagers and adults, based on the analysis of data from three comparable corpora. Findings indicate that third person don&#8217;t is used significantly more by teenagers than adults. This tendency is seen not only in declarative clauses but also in question tags, although to a lesser extent. Furthermore, in London teen talk the subject of the clause and the occurrence of another negative in the don&#8217;t sentence (negative concord) appear to play a significant role, while the type of main verb of the clause is somewhat secondary. Finally, while the speaker&#8217;s gender appears to be of no importance in the choice of third person don&#8217;t or doesn&#8217;t, the speaker&#8217;s ethnic group does seem to play an important role.

References

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