At the crossroads of variation studies and corpus linguistics
Past tense and past participle forms of the type learned / learnt or burned / burnt have been studied both in variationist and corpus linguistics. As the variation is based on a phonological difference in the spoken language, it is rather important to ascertain whether the forms analysed in the different corpora reliably represent the pronunciation of the verb-forms. It will therefore be a major aim of this contribution to explore the relationship between the written verb-forms and their actual pronunciation in the spoken language. A variety of sources are used, namely pronouncing dictionaries, some traditional descriptions of the verb-forms and dialectological studies on both British and American varieties. Finally, the results of a pilot-study with a group of American students are presented in detail.