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Pluralized non-count nouns across Englishes: a corpus-linguistic approach to dialect typology


Schneider, Gerold; Hundt, Marianne; Schreier, Daniel (2019). Pluralized non-count nouns across Englishes: a corpus-linguistic approach to dialect typology. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

This corpus-based study of pluralized non-count nouns (informations, advices, etc.) uses collocation-derived measures (determiners vs. bare noun and mass quantifiers) to extract potential candidates of non-count nouns in a bottom-up approach from the British National Corpus (BNC), allowing the detection of grammatical categories from distributional features. We then use this token list to retrieve data on pluralization of non-counts from nine annotated components of the International Corpus of English (ICE). While the distinction between count and non-count nouns is gradient rather than categorical, it is still possible to distinguish between standard and non-standard pluralization of non-counts. Qualitative analyses of our data show that non-standard pluralization of non-count nouns is regularly attested in second-language varieties, including previously unrecorded types; however, it is also occasionally found in first-language varieties. We discuss implications of our corpus results for common explanations of pluralized non-count nouns, such as substrate influence, language learning effects and historical input. By combining a bottom-up corpus-based approach with fine-grained qualitative analyses we can provide a more nuanced view of pluralization of non-counts across ENL and ESL for the investigation of World Englishes.

Abstract

This corpus-based study of pluralized non-count nouns (informations, advices, etc.) uses collocation-derived measures (determiners vs. bare noun and mass quantifiers) to extract potential candidates of non-count nouns in a bottom-up approach from the British National Corpus (BNC), allowing the detection of grammatical categories from distributional features. We then use this token list to retrieve data on pluralization of non-counts from nine annotated components of the International Corpus of English (ICE). While the distinction between count and non-count nouns is gradient rather than categorical, it is still possible to distinguish between standard and non-standard pluralization of non-counts. Qualitative analyses of our data show that non-standard pluralization of non-count nouns is regularly attested in second-language varieties, including previously unrecorded types; however, it is also occasionally found in first-language varieties. We discuss implications of our corpus results for common explanations of pluralized non-count nouns, such as substrate influence, language learning effects and historical input. By combining a bottom-up corpus-based approach with fine-grained qualitative analyses we can provide a more nuanced view of pluralization of non-counts across ENL and ESL for the investigation of World Englishes.

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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
Uncontrolled Keywords:pluralization, non-count nouns, World Englishes (WE), corpus-based approach, distributional grammar
Language:English
Date:2019
Deposited On:13 Jan 2020 10:50
Last Modified:13 Jan 2020 12:30
Publisher:De Gruyter
ISSN:1613-7027
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1515/cllt-2018-0068

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Embargo till: 2020-07-25