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Words in Time and Place: Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary

By David Crystal

Offers a unique view of the English language and its development, and includes witty commentary and anecdotes along the way.


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The Indo-European Controversy: Facts and Fallacies in Historical Linguistics

By Asya Pereltsvaig and Martin W. Lewis

This book "asserts that the origin and spread of languages must be examined primarily through the time-tested techniques of linguistic analysis, rather than those of evolutionary biology" and "defends traditional practices in historical linguistics while remaining open to new techniques, including computational methods" and "will appeal to readers interested in world history and world geography."


Academic Paper


Title: An existential problem: The sociolinguistic monitor and variation in existential constructions on Bequia (St. Vincent and the Grenadines)
Author: Miriam Meyerhoff
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Auckland
Author: James A. Walker
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.yorku.ca/jamesw
Institution: York University
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics; Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Existential constructions in a corpus of spontaneous English from Bequia (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) are used to explore a linguistic problem (Is variation in verb form in existential constructions best viewed as grammatical or lexical?) and a sociolinguistic problem (What aspects of variation change over a lifetime?). We compare “urban sojourners” (Bequians who have been away) with their home village norms. We observe differences in the frequency of the TYPE of existential preferred in different villages and by the urban sojourners. We also observe differences in whether or not the main verb agrees in number with a postposed plural subject. Building on William Labov's early discussions of constraints on variation imposed by the “sociolinguistic monitor,” we suggest that variation in individual speakers supports the notion that variables that are fundamentally grammatical are less likely to mark social factors than lexical variables are. (Bequia, Caribbean English, existentials, subject-verb agreement)

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 42, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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