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A semantic study of triggers of the mandantive subjunctive in British English
2004 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor)Student thesis
Abstract [en]

During the 20th century, the use of the subjunctive in that-clauses following expressions of will and command, the so called mandative subjunctive, has increased, and American English has been leading the way. The mandative subjunctive expresses volition and futurity, and the expressions that take the subjunctive are referred to as triggers. The aim of this paper was to investigate whether new triggers of the mandative subjunctive could be found as the construction has become more common in British English, and, if that was the case, whether the semantic range of the triggers had widened. The material for the investigation was obtained by using computer based corpora of newspaper texts. Some semantically interesting triggers were discovered, and the results indicate that the semantic range of words that function as triggers may be widening in general language. This conclusion is supported by the findings of sentences without overt mandative triggers – a possibility rarely mentioned in grammars. In such sentences, the necessary elements of volition and futurity are supplied by the context rather than a specific trigger. I have deemed the traditional division of triggers into three categories according to word class unsatisfactory. I have chosen to put them into five different categories: sentences without overt triggers, mandative verbs, mandative nouns, personal adjectives and impersonal constructions. The latter group contains impersonal adjectives, prepositional phrases and verbs, and differ syntactically as well as semantically from the other groups. The general conclusion is that the information about the mandative subjunctive in traditional learner grammars is unsatisfactory. Its usage is more complicated and widespread than these grammars generally indicate.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. , 34 p.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-53733Local ID: ENG C-16OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-53733DiVA: diva2:1102293
Subject / course
English
Available from: 2017-05-29 Created: 2017-05-29

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Citation style
  • apa
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  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • de-DE
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  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
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  • asciidoc
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