Light verbs in Australian, New Zealand and British English

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This paper examines regional and register differences in the use of the light verbs <i>give, have, make</i> and <i>take</i> across British, Australian, New Zealand and American English, to see whether statements in the literature such as the US preference for <i>take</i> can be supported. Primary and secondary materials were investigated, in the form of L1 and L2 dictionaries across the regions, and data from the ICE corpora for Britain, Australia and NZ. The dictionary data only partially confirmed regional differences between <i>take</i> and <i>have</i>, while the corpora showed a growing use of the light verb <i>have</i>, with Australian and New Zealand English leading the way. The corpora also demonstrated more frequent and more productive use of the construction in spoken than in written data, which allowed conclusions to be drawn about the interpersonal functions of light verbs.


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