Corpus linguistics meets sociolinguistics

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The contribution is a plea for closer co-operation between sociolinguistics and corpus linguistics in the study of World Englishes, supporting the case with the author&#8217;s own findings from the recently completed Jamaican component of the International Corpus of English (ICE-JA). The variables analysed are the use of <i>person(s)</i> as a synonym for <i>people</i>, subject-verb inversion in questions, the modals of obligation and necessity, negative and auxiliary contraction, and the &#8220;new&#8221; quotative <i>be like</i>. It is a particular advantage of the corpus-linguistic working environment provided by ICE that many of these issues can be studied in a cross-variety, comparative perspective. On the whole, present-day Jamaican English turns out to be rather different from British English, its historical &#8220;parent&#8221; variety.


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