Volume 41, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0172-8865
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9730
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This article examines the distribution and socio­linguistic patterning of (quasi-)modals which express strong obligation/necessity, namely and , in Australian English. Variationist studies in other varieties of English have had contrasting findings in terms of distributions of root forms, as well as their conditioning by social and linguistic factors. The corpus analysis suggests real-time increased use of and decrease in through comparison to earlier findings. The variationist analysis shows quasi-modals and as sensitive to speaker age and sex, and a recent increase of via apparent time modelling. Linguistic conditioning relating to the type of obligation and subject form is also found. The study contributes to socio­linguistic understanding of this large-scale change in English and the place of Australian English amongst other varieties.


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