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The hypothetical subjunctive in South Asian Englishes. Local developments in the use of a global construction


Hundt, Marianne; Hoffmann, Sebastian; Mukherjee, Joybrato (2012). The hypothetical subjunctive in South Asian Englishes. Local developments in the use of a global construction. English World-Wide, 33(2):147-164.

Abstract

This paper studies the distribution and usage patterns in hypothetical if-clauses in a set of South Asian Englishes (SAEs), namely Indian, Pakistani,
Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan English on the basis of web-derived newspaper
data. Comparative evidence comes from newspaper texts in the British National Corpus (BNC). It looks at the use of subjunctive were, indicative was and modal would as variant verb forms in the if-clause. The qualitative analyses also consider tense sequencing in the main and subordinate clause. In terms of overall frequencies, the SAEs do not cluster together in their use of the subjunctive but form a gradient or cline with British English at one end. Similarities between the SAEs emerge from the qualitative analyses. An additional, serendipitous result of the study concerns the local use in SAEs of the subordinator on if meaning ‘whether’, a pattern that is likely to have its origin in Indian English.

This paper studies the distribution and usage patterns in hypothetical if-clauses in a set of South Asian Englishes (SAEs), namely Indian, Pakistani,
Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan English on the basis of web-derived newspaper
data. Comparative evidence comes from newspaper texts in the British National Corpus (BNC). It looks at the use of subjunctive were, indicative was and modal would as variant verb forms in the if-clause. The qualitative analyses also consider tense sequencing in the main and subordinate clause. In terms of overall frequencies, the SAEs do not cluster together in their use of the subjunctive but form a gradient or cline with British English at one end. Similarities between the SAEs emerge from the qualitative analyses. An additional, serendipitous result of the study concerns the local use in SAEs of the subordinator on if meaning ‘whether’, a pattern that is likely to have its origin in Indian English.

Citations

6 citations in Web of Science®
6 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:20 Apr 2012 07:11
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:46
Publisher:John Benjamins
ISSN:0172–8865
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1075/eww.33.2.02hun

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