Reconciling synchrony, diachrony and usage in verb number agreement with complex collective subjects
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This book uses corpus-based methodologies to investigate the wide variety of factors behind verb number agreement with complex collective noun phrases in English.
The literature on collective nouns and their agreement patterns spans an array of disciplines and approaches. However, little of the research conducted to date has focused on the influence of of-dependents on verb number with relational collective nouns, as in examples such as a bunch of or a group of. Drawing on data from two case studies - one based on the Corpus of Historical American English (COHA), and the other on the British National Corpus (BNC) and the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) - Fernández-Pena uses statistical modelling to unpack the different morphological, syntactic, semantic and lexical dimensions of the variables affecting verb number agreement with complex collective noun phrases in English. This multidimensional analysis of the significance of of-dependents in the patterning and contemporary usage of collective nouns offers new insight into and understanding of both synchronic variation and diachronic change.
This book is an essential read for scholars of English language variation and change, historical linguistics, corpus linguistics, and usage-based approaches to the study of language.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Complex collective subjects and verb number agreement in English: State of the art 3. Insights from diachrony: Reconciling form and meaning 4. Modelling variation in verb number agreement with complex collective subjects in Present-Day English 5. Concluding remarks and propects for future research
Yolanda Fernández-Pena is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of English, French and German at the University of Vigo, Spain, and a member of the Language Variation and Textual Categorisation (LVTC) research group. She has published in international peer-reviewed journals, such as Corpora, Atlantis, RAEL: Revista Electrónica de Lingüística Aplicada and Varieng.