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Profiling the English verb phrase over time: Modal patterns

Aarts, B; Wallis, S; Bowie, J; (2014) Profiling the English verb phrase over time: Modal patterns. In: Developments in English: Expanding Electronic Evidence. (pp. 48-76). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

In recent work it has been demonstrated by various scholars that the use of modal verbs has changed in past decades (Krug Reference Krug2000; Leech Reference Leech and Facchinetti2003; Smith Reference Smith and Facchinetti2003; and especially Leech et al. Reference Leech, Hundt, Mair and Smith2009). In earlier work Close and Aarts (Reference Close, Aarts, Lenker, Huber and Mailhammer2010) and Aarts, Close, and Wallis (Reference Aarts, Close, Leech and Wallis2013) looked at the changing use of the modal and semi-modal auxiliaries in spoken English. While the results of these investigations are extremely valuable, they tell us very little about how modal verb usage has changed within the various modal verb phrase patterns. To our knowledge no one has ever looked at the frequencies of these various patterns, let alone how they have changed over time. In Section 4.2 we briefly introduce the Diachronic Corpus of Present-Day Spoken English (DCPSE; Aarts and Wallis 2006) which has been used as a database for the present research. In Section 4.3 we look at previous research on changes in the use of modal verbs as individual items (‘core modals’) in written English. We will compare our findings on spoken English with those obtained by Leech (Reference Leech and Facchinetti2003) and Leech et al. (Reference Leech, Hundt, Mair and Smith2009) for written English in Section 4.4. In Section 4.5 we look at relative changes, while in Section 4.6 we will present the results of the research we have done on modal verbs occurring in various patterns, and how modal usage in these patterns has developed over time. In Section 4.7 we discuss our results. The final section is the conclusion.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Profiling the English verb phrase over time: Modal patterns
ISBN-13: 9781139833882
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139833882.006
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139833882.006
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1537329
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