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Concord in British English - a corpus investigation of ten words
2005 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year))Student thesis
Abstract [en]

People who begin to learn English, or any other language, often make concord errors. However, concord is not always unproblematic for fluent or Native speakers either. This paper aims to investigate a number of partly conflicting developments in the field of noun-verb or indefinite pronoun-pronoun concord. Two types of concord will be investigated: growing acceptance of 'singular' they and reduced tolerance for plural verbs with collective nouns of the type the government are… Collective nouns are groups of single entities. Army, committee, family, staff and team are classic examples. Other collective nouns are official bodies and organisations like the Arab League, Congress, the United Nations and the Vatican. ‘Singular’ they often occurs after indefinite pronouns, as in the sentence: By the age of sixteen anybody who is going to be an academic should have done their general reading. Grammatically this sentence is incorrect but in practice it is often used, especially in informal speech. The results of this study show that most collective nouns take singular verbs. There was a slight increase in the use of singular verbs between 1993 and 2003. Concord patterns are complex and vary between different collective nouns. Collective nouns that refer to an organisation, such as congress, take singular verbs more often than collective nouns that refer to a group of people with the same profession e.g. the clergy. The indefinite pronouns that were investigated usually took plural referents in 1993, despite the fact that using plural referents as a substitute for indefinite pronouns is a violation of concord norms. Moreover, the use of plural referents increased between 1993 and 2003, and, consequently, the use of the generic he and of the construction he or she decreased. Nyckelord: Concord, collective nouns, pronouns

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. , 43 p.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-53917Local ID: ENG D-15OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-53917DiVA: diva2:1102477
Subject / course
English
Available from: 2017-05-29 Created: 2017-05-29

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
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  • vancouver
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Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
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Output format
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  • text
  • asciidoc
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