Verb complementation in South Asian English(es): The range and frequency of “new” ditransitives

in English Corpus Linguistics: Variation in Time, Space and Genre
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Abstract

Resorting to the South Asian Varieties of English (SAVE) corpus comprising acrolectal English language data from Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the present paper investigates verb complementation in the six respective South Asian varieties of English. The lexicogrammatical focus is on “new” ditransitives (Hoffmann and Mukherjee 2007), i.e. verbs which are attested in the ditransitive construction in New Englishes, but not in the present-day version of their historical input variety British English (e.g. to gift him a dream). The study provides the first systematic analysis of “new” ditransitives (NDTs) across various South Asian Englishes with frequency-oriented perspectives on their range and use in newspaper language and on their occurrence in variety-specific online text material accessed via the Google Advanced Search Tool. In conjunction with in-depth analyses of selected NDTs, this paper shows that NDTs are productive structural phenomena in each of the South Asian Englishes concerned, although there are clear differences in their variety-specific frequency of occurrence.

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