Concord with collective nouns in Australian and New Zealand English

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In English, nouns like <i>government</i> or <i>team</i> can be used with singular or plural verbs and pronouns. In the twentieth century, there seems to be a growing trend to use singular concord with most collective nouns. This change is particularly pronounced in American English but can also be found in other national varieties of English. The focus of this chapter is variable concord in Australian and New Zealand English. Data for the study come from the relevant components of the International Corpus of English which, unlike the corpora used in most previous studies, offer information on written as well as spoken usage. Somewhat surprisingly, variability in this area of grammar is not, primarily, a question of the regional variety investigated. Instead, it is mainly due to language-internal factors, such as medium (written vs. spoken usage) or the choice of noun (with some nouns preferring singular, others preferring plural concord).


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