1887
Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139
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Abstract

The functional variants of International English are often differently distributed in the different regional standards. With evidence from the corpus of Australian English, this has already been shown for lexical variants such as will/shall, maybe/perhaps etc. In this paper evidence from the Australian corpus is used to discuss a number of variables in

a) morphology

b) the system of conjunction

c) the system of quantifiers.

The redistribution of morphological variants-edl-t (as in burned/burnt), and -wards(s) (as in downward(s)) showed a tendency to assign different grammatical roles to each variant. Among the conjunctions, apart from individual differences the most interesting finding was the higher level overall in the use of subordinating conjunctions, when Australian newspaper data was compared with the equivalent in Britain or America. A possible explanation for this invokes the Hallidayan principle that subordination is actually more common in speech than in writing. The suggestion is that Australian press reporting approximates more closely to spoken than to written norms of language. But on the quantifiers a few/several the corpus provides no support for a new popular use of several, to mean vaguely large number.

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1988-01-01
2019-12-11
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