Topicalization in Asian Englishes: Forms, Functions, and Frequencies of a Fronting Construction, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Topicalization in Asian Englishes

Forms, Functions, and Frequencies of a Fronting Construction, 1st Edition

By Sven Leuckert


222 pages | 11 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-01-29
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This monograph is the first comprehensive study of topicalization in Asian second-language varieties of English and provides an in-depth analysis of the forms, functions, and frequencies of topicalization in four Asian Englishes. Topicalization, that is, the sentence-initial placement of constituents other than the subject, has been found to occur frequently in the English spoken by many Asians, but so far the possible reasons for this have never been scrutinized. This book closes this research gap by taking into account the structures of the major contact languages, the roles of second-language acquisition and politeness as well as other factors in order to explain why topicalization is highly frequent in some varieties such as Indian English and much less frequent in other varieties such as Hong Kong English. In addition to exploring major and minor forces involved in explaining the frequency of topicalization, the forms and functions of the feature are assessed. Central questions addressed in this regard are the following: Which syntactic constituents tend to be topicalized the most and the least frequently? Which discourse effects does topicalization achieve? How can we approach topicalization methodologically? And, lastly, which influence do language processing and production have on topicalization?


"Leuckert's study on Topicalization in Asian Englishes is a corpus-based study offering new explanations for old assumptions. Leuckert provides a detailed analysis of forms, functions and frequencies of four Asian Englishes. In proposing parameters for topicalization, he critically addresses new lines of research and thus paves the way for discourse-pragmatic analyses of corpus data." — Ilka Mindt, Paderborn University, Germany

"A fascinating exploration of the complex and multidimensional sources of grammatical change in World Englishes. Leuckert expertly weaves together second language acquisition, cognition, frequency, discourse pragmatics, and identity for an exemplary comparative analysis of English topicalization in four different Asian contact settings. An indispensable resource for the study of how grammars are transformed by social contact." — Professor Devyani Sharma, Queen Mary University of London

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Approaching topicalization

3. Topic-prominence in Asian contact languages

4. Development and variety status of four Asian Englishes

5. Corpus analysis: Data basis and methodology

6. Forms, functions, and frequencies of topicalization

7. Explaining topicalization frequencies

8. Conclusion and outlook

About the Author

Sven Leuckert is a lecturer in the Institute of English and American Studies at the Technical University of Dresden, Germany.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in World Englishes

Being one of the fastest developing areas of linguistic research, World Englishes has received increasing attention in the research scholarship. There have been published monographs and books series which focus on various aspects of the spread of English across the world. However, given the burgeoning development in the field and growing demand from researchers and educators for relevant resources, there is a need to update some of the existing research and, more importantly, there is an exigency to extend the research scholarship to areas that have not hitherto received due attention. These are also the research gaps this proposed book series hopes to fill, in particular, the need for rigorous features-based and empirically-driven studies on World Englishes.

This Singapore Association for Applied Linguistics book series will provide a starting point for those who wish to know more about the aspects of the spread of English in the current globalized world. Each volume can cover the following aspects of the study of World Englishes: issues and theoretical paradigms, feature-based studies (i.e. phonetics and phonology, syntax, lexis) and language in use (e.g. education, media, the law and other related disciplines). It will contain a comprehensive bibliography of works published on the particular areas at the end of the book.

The aims of the series are

  • To add to and, if possible, break new ground on the existing research on World Englishes;
  • To explore some new varieties of Englishes that have not been previously documented;
  • To provide rigorous features-based studies on varieties of World Englishes;
  • To investigate the issues and theoretical paradigms surrounding the sociolinguistic aspects of the study of World Englishes;
  • To provide an up-to-date documentation of language in use, in education, and language policy issues in World Englishes.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Sociolinguistics
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Phonetics & Phonology