Modality across World Englishes

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This paper reports a corpus-based study which examined the uses of the modals and semi-modals which express meanings associated with prediction and volition (<i>will, shall, be going to/gonna, want to/wanna, and be about to</i>) in British, American and Australian English. Quantitative findings relating to regional and stylistic variation are presented, and consideration is given to the possible influence upon the relative popularity of modal uses of ‘Americanization’ and ‘colloquialization’. It is suggested that these socially-driven dissemination processes provide possible explanations for, inter alia, the differing fortunes of the moribund shall on the one hand and on the other those of the popular semi-modals <i>be going to/gonna and want to/wanna</i>.


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