Syntactic variation in English quantified noun phrases with all, whole, both and half

by Estling, Maria

Abstract (Summary)
The overall aim of the present study is to investigate syntactic variation in certain Present-day English noun phrase types including the quantifiers all, whole, both and half (e.g. a half hour vs. half an hour). More specific research questions concerns the overall frequency distribution of the variants, how they are distributed across regions and media and what linguistic factors influence the choice of variant. The study is based on corpus material comprising three newspapers from 1995 (The Independent, The New York Times and The Sydney Morning Herald) and two spoken corpora (the dialogue component of the BNC and the Longman Spoken American Corpus).The book presents a number of previously not discussed issues with respect to all, whole, both and half. The study of distribution shows that one form often predominated greatly over the other(s) and that there were several cases of regional variation. A number of linguistic factors further seem to be involved for each of the variables analysed, such as the syntactic function of the noun phrase and the presence of certain elements in the NP or its near co-text. For each of the variables, all factors were ranked according to their strength of correlation with particular variants. The study also discusses a possible grammaticalisation process concerning NPs with half and the possibility of all sometimes having another function than expressing totality: to express large quantity.The whole idea of grammatical synonymy has been questioned by some scholars, but the conclusion drawn in the present study is that there are variables that are at least very close to each other in meaning, and that a number of linguistic and non-linguistic factors influence our choices of variant. A great deal of the information obtained was too detailed to be useful for pedagogical purposes, but in several cases the results could clearly be used to improve school and reference grammars.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Växjö universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:HUMANITIES and RELIGION; Languages and linguistics; Other Germanic languages; English language; syntactic variation; quantifiers; all; whole; both; half; linguistic factors; British English; American English; Australian English; grammaticalisation; totality; corpus; newspaper corpus


Date of Publication:01/01/2004

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